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Atlantic Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

Low Refrigerant Is a Problem for your Air Conditioner

With spring slowly pushing away the cold winter temperatures, residents of Smyrna, DE are going to be dusting off their air conditioners for another summer of keeping their homes cool. But sitting for those winter months can leave your air conditioner vulnerable to some common problems, especially leaking refrigerant. Refrigerant isn’t consumed by your system; it needs to appear in certain set amounts, and if a leak springs up during the off-season, it could go for months without being detected. Why is that a problem? It helps to understand how refrigerant functions in your air conditioner.

Heating and Cooling

Refrigerant is key to air conditioning because it can pull heat from the air when it shifts from liquid to gaseous form. The whole system is set up to facilitate this. First the gaseous refrigerant is placed in a compressor array, which bleeds off the heat – shifting it to liquid form – which subjecting it to a great deal of pressure. (The hot air is usually vented outside your home.) The pressurized refrigerant then moves to the evaporator coils, where a set amount is released into the coils and shifts back to gaseous form. The results pull heat from the nearby air, cooling it and letting it be blown through your ducts with a fan. The gaseous refrigerant then moves back to the compressor array to start the process again.

Leaks Disrupt the Cycle

When a leak springs up, the system no longer has the precise amount of refrigerant it needs to cool the air properly. Instead, ice forms on the evaporator coils, representing cooling potential that should be going into your home while insulating the air from the cooling power of the remaining refrigerant. That forces the air conditioner to work harder to do its job, leading to larger monthly bills until a breakdown finally occurs.

Call Atlantic Refrigeration and Air Conditioning today to fix refrigerant leaks before cooling season starts.

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