The air conditioner truly is an amazing invention many of us would struggle to live without. Though every component of an HVAC unit is essential, the role of refrigerant is arguably the most important. If you’re searching for the “best HVAC service near me” in Highland Village, TX, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Strittmatter, we believe in empowering homeowners with knowledge about their HVAC units. Understanding the various parts of your system and how it works can help you make informed decisions about maintenance and repair work. Read on to learn more about the role of refrigerant in your air conditioner. Strittmatter Plumbing, Heating and A/C provides high-quality residential HVAC service in Highland, TX and the surrounding areas. Give us a ring at (972) 362-4135 or visit us online with questions or to schedule a visit.
What is Refrigerant?While it’s easy to think of refrigerant as a single liquid, it’s really a combination of chemicals and heat transfer liquids that changes states in order to release or absorb heat. Refrigerant is used in residential and commercial HVAC units, automobiles, refrigerators and freezers, as well as fire suppression systems.
How Does Refrigerant Work?The refrigerant in your HVAC unit operates in a closed circuit. The compound moves through your system’s condenser, where it changes into its liquid state. Next, the liquid refrigerant enters your unit’s evaporator coil, where it changes back into its gaseous state (evaporates) while pulling and absorbing hot air from around the evaporator coils. This exchange allows your A/C unit to blow cool air into your home while refrigerant returns to the condenser tray to repeat the process. In households with a heat pump—a unit that can either cool or heat the home—this process is reversed in the winter, pulling warm air from outside and releasing it indoors.
Does Refrigerant Run Out?It’s important to note that your HVAC system does not consume or deplete refrigerant. These levels should remain consistent after the initial charge upon installation of your unit. Low refrigerant levels are either the result of a unit that was undercharged to begin with or it’s a strong indication that there is a leak in your system. A slow refrigerant leak will cause your air conditioner to work less efficiently over time, while an aggressive leak will leave you without a working A/C before you know it. Either way, this is an issue you’ll want to take care of right away, as neglecting a refrigerant leak can lead to bigger problems, like broken parts or overheating. If you suspect a leak in your system, it’s best to contact a residential HVAC service right away.
Low Refrigerant Levels and Compressor DamageThe biggest risk of low refrigerant levels is serious compressor damage. When there are insufficient levels of refrigerant present in your unit, it decreases pressure to the point where your compressor can collapse. Replacing a broken compressor is a major, expensive repair. Luckily, this issue is completely avoidable with proactive vigilance and keeping up with routine maintenance and system inspections from a qualified technician. Another danger of low refrigerant levels is when indoor evaporator coils freeze over. As this ice melts, homeowners might end up dealing with moisture damage in their living spaces, such as mold or mildew growth.
Signs Your HVAC Unit is Low on RefrigerantIt’s always best to tackle HVAC issues right away, but how do you know when your cooling system is low on refrigerant? Keep an eye out for these signs of insufficient refrigerant levels:
- It takes a long time to cool your home.
- Your unit never reaches the temperature you set on the thermostat.
- You notice ice on your refrigerant lines.
- Air vents don’t blow out cool air.
- Hissing or gurgling sounds coming from your unit.
- Your utility costs are higher than usual.
- You notice water leaking around your unit.