We are nearing the end of our busy cooling season, and it’s not unusual for air conditioners to develop refrigerant leaks as part of the normal wear-and-tear of summer. While many ACs will continue to run with a refrigerant leak, it is not good for your air conditioning in Lakewood Ranch to operate with anything but the correct amount of refrigerant. Low refrigerant can cause several different problems, and many of these problems get worse over time and can result in serious malfunction or total breakdown. If you suspect your air conditioner may be running with low refrigerant, call the experts at Ultimate Air Conditioning and schedule an appointment.
How Does Refrigerant Run Low?
As we mentioned above, your air conditioner needs to run with the exact amount of refrigerant as outlined by the manufacturer; this amount is in the manufacturer’s handbook. Every air conditioning system operates this way, and the refrigerant levels vary depending on the make and model of the AC.
The two most common ways refrigerant can run low is a) a leak develops in the system or; b) the system was not charged with enough refrigerant when installed. Refrigerant leaks are the far more common of the two problems, and are actually some of the most common air conditioning repairs.
Problems Caused by Low Refrigerant
There are several problems that can develop from operating your air conditioner with low refrigerant:
- Warm air blowing from vents – one of the most common signs of leaky refrigerant is when your system blows warm air. This occurs because the leak has caused an imbalance in the cooling process, and the refrigerant isn’t releasing its heat.
- Ice formation on the evaporator coils – ice on the evaporator coils means that the parts of your system that stay warm are too hot and the parts that are cool are too cold. Again, this happens because the refrigerant leak has made the refrigerant cycle unbalanced. When the air between the hot and cold parts meets, it creates condensation that very quickly freezes on the cold parts.
- Air conditioner won’t turn on – many of today’s air conditioners have a built-in safety switch that blocks operation of the system when the switch’s sensor detects that refrigerant levels are too low. If your AC has such a switch, do not try to force the system to turn on; instead, call your technician.