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Don’t Believe This Refrigerant Myth

white question mark on blue circle with white backgroundHVAC professionals get one question in particular pretty often, and it makes us shake our heads in disappointment, because we know you’re being fooled by an amateur or dishonest “service professional.” That question is: “how often does my refrigerant need refilling?” Our answer is, “hopefully never!”

It is, unfortunately, a common myth among homeowners that refrigerant is something that runs out over time, like gasoline in a car. However, this isn’t the case with refrigerant. Upon installation, your HVAC system is supplied with enough of this important fluid to ideally last throughout its entire lifespan. Refrigerant continuously cycles through the air conditioner or heat pump, and effectively transfers heat to bring you a comfortable indoor climate.

More About Refrigerant

As we stated above, your air conditioner should be supplied with enough refrigerant upon installation for its entire service life. At least, this will be the case if it’s installed by a professional HVAC contractor in San Antonio, TX. However all that being said, there is a chance that at some point you’ll need a refill (in HVAC language this is known as a recharge). If you do need a recharge, though, it’s because you have a refrigerant leak.

The source of the leak has to be found and the refrigerant line repaired in order to restore your system’s efficiency. Otherwise, your air conditioning system will start experiencing a number of problems, which can include:

A Loss of Cooling Output

If a leak forms in your refrigerant line, then your AC system output will decline along with the refrigerant level. Eventually, your refrigerant level will drop to the point that it will cause your cooling system to break down entirely.

If you do notice a drop in cooling output, be sure to call for professional services right away. The problem might be caused by something else, like an air handler problem. Either way, a decrease in cooling output warrants an examination.

Lukewarm Air Coming From the Vents

Rather than decreased airflow, you may feel warm air coming from the vents in the case of a refrigerant leak. Too little refrigerant puts a good amount of strain on the system, and you can end up doing pretty serious and irreversible damage to the compressor if you’re running your AC with too low of a refrigerant charge.

Ice Developing on the Evaporator Coil

Through the refrigeration process, refrigerant shifts from gaseous to liquid form, and is placed under a good deal of pressure before it enters the evaporator coils. The valve releases a precise amount into the coils, where the refrigerant then shifts back to gaseous form. As this happens, it pulls heat from the nearby air, cooling it in the process.

When a refrigerant leak occurs, frost or ice will develop on the outside of the evaporator coil. This ice then forms an insulating barrier between the refrigerant and the air that it’s meant to cool. This means your cooling system has to work even harder to do its job, until the problem gets so severe that your air conditioner can’t do its job at all.

For trustworthy and reliable air conditioning services, contact Riteway Service Company today!

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