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The Dangers of Refrigerant Leaking From an Air Conditioner

air-conditioning-maintenance-technician-checks-mainfoldYour home’s central air conditioner is a type of refrigeration system, like a freezer or a fridge. It cools down air by removing the heat from it with chemical refrigerant. The refrigerant circulated through a set of indoor and outdoor coils, evaporating in the indoor coils to draw heat from the air and then condensing in the outdoor coils to release the heat.

Because refrigerant is so essential to the operation of an air conditioner, any refrigerant leaks are serious issues that need to be fixed with professional air conditioning repair in Trinity, FL as soon as possible. Losing refrigerant from an air conditioner not only threatens comfort in a home, it eventually leads to a full air conditioner breakdown that permanently harms the compressor.

How Leaking Refrigerant Create Trouble

An air conditioner is designed to hold a fixed amount of R-410A refrigerant, which is known as the air conditioner’s charge. An AC that’s either overcharged or undercharged will be in serious trouble. An amateur may accidentally overcharge an air conditioner during a repair (yet another reason to always hire licensed HVAC pros), but right now we’re concerned with what happens when leaks along the refrigerant lines lead to an undercharged system.

  • Cooling loss: The less refrigerant in an air conditioner, the less heat the AC can pull from the air along the indoor coils. Although the change in temperature may not be immediately noticeable, it will be eventually.
  • Icing along the coils: Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Why does less refrigerant mean ice? It’s because the evaporator coils indoors can no longer remove enough heat from the air to warm up the remaining refrigerant inside them. The refrigerant stays too cold, and moisture on the coils freezes. The moment you notice ice on your AC, call for technicians.
  • Increased humidity: Dehumidification is part of the evaporation process that draws heat from the air and into the refrigerant. Although an AC isn’t specifically designed as a dehumidifier, if it loses refrigerant the house will experience a humidity increase along with a temperature increase.
  • Burnt out compressor: This is what you most want to avoid. The compressor is the heart of the AC, the place where energy is applied to the refrigerant. The compressor will eventually overheat and burn out if there’s not enough refrigerant—and when this happens, it must be replaced. This is an expensive job, and often it’s more cost-effective to replace the whole condenser or the whole AC.

Let Licensed Professionals Handle It

Only a licensed HVAC technician is permitted to handle and dispose of refrigerant, so never attempt to fix a refrigerant leak on your own or let an amateur do it. The moment you suspect something is wrong with the air conditioner that may be due to a refrigerant leak, call our technicians. They will accurately diagnose what’s wrong and then fix it. They’ll seal any leaks and recharge the refrigerant to its original factory-set levels.

Balanced Air, Inc. has served the Tampa Bay Area since 1988. Schedule an appointment today to see that your AC lasts all summer!

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