Do You Know The Role of Refrigerant in Your Air Conditioner?

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 Damage

The 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 Refrigerant

It’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.

While these signs overlap with other A/C problems, they’re a good indicator there’s trouble with your refrigerant. Homeowners can troubleshoot simple fixes, like checking thermostat batteries and settings, swapping out air filters and flushing out the system’s condensate drain line. If problems persist, however, it’s time to call in professional help. Contact your local HVAC pros to evaluate your system and diagnose the root cause. Refrigerant leaks can lead to major headaches down the line—just because your unit can keep on running with a slow leak doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

Homeowners can keep tabs on the health of their HVAC units by scheduling annual system maintenance from a professional HVAC company. A spring or fall tune-up includes a thorough cleaning and inspection of your unit. Our pros will find and repair loose or worn parts before they cause a breakdown, and we’ll spot and fix refrigerant leaks quickly and efficiently. 

Find the Best HVAC Service Near Me 

Strittmatter Plumbing, Heating and A/C is a family-owned business on a mission to provide the best customer service and workmanship in Texas. You can rely on our pro team for routine maintenance, repairs and installations in plumbing, heating and air conditioning. Don’t just take our word for it, check out our customer reviews

Strittmatter is proud to serve Highland, Denton, Roanoke, Coppell and the surrounding areas with a 100% satisfaction guarantee on our work. That means our job isn’t done until our customers are completely happy. Texas locals will be glad to know Strittmatter believes in giving back to our amazing community—take a look at what we’ve been up to in our efforts to support the local businesses and organizations we love. 

Homeowners can take advantage of our financing options and competitive maintenance plans to help cover costs and keep up with ongoing HVAC care. Call (972) 362-4135 to speak to a team member or visit us online for more information. Don’t delay—schedule a visit from one of our fully trained, licensed and insured HVAC experts today.    

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