This is a common question people have regarding their air conditioning systems. The simple answer is no. But we need to explain the answer because the question comes from a major misunderstanding about how air conditioning systems operate. Amateurs and shady contractors can use this misunderstanding to sell people on services they don’t need and which can damage their air conditioning systems.
We have plenty more to say about why adding refrigerant to an air conditioner is only done as a repair, not as a routine service.
An Air Conditioner Does Not Use Up Refrigerant
The important fact: An air conditioner does not consume refrigerant the way it consumes a fuel source, and therefore under normal circumstances, there’s no need to put more refrigerant into an AC.
Anyone who tells you that an air conditioner’s refrigerant needs to be “topped off” or “refilled” is not telling you the truth. If more refrigerant is put into an air conditioner that hasn’t lost any refrigerant to leaks, it will cause the AC to lose cooling power and the compressor to eventually burn out. It’s bad.
What Refrigerant Does
Refrigerant is a heat exchange medium. The chemical blend of refrigerant can move between liquid and gaseous state with minimal energy input. As the refrigerant blend changes between these states, it absorbs heat from inside the house and releases it outside. This process of evaporation and condensation maintains the same amount of refrigerant; none of it dissipates. The amount of refrigerant in an air conditioning system when it is installed (known as the unit’s charge) will remain the same for the system’s lifespan. With one important exception …
An air conditioner’s copper refrigerant lines can develop leaks, and so can a few other key components. Refrigerant leaks are a major repair issue. If the charge of an AC declines, the pressure throughout the system drops. This hurts the AC’s cooling capacity. Worse, it endangers the compressor, putting it at a higher and higher risk of overheating until it burns out. It’s not a case of if but when refrigerant leaks will cause a complete air conditioning system breakdown.
This is the only time where an AC technician must add refrigerant to an air conditioner. The technician first locates the leaks and seals them to stop further loss. Then the technician recharges the unit with the proper refrigerant blend to restore the AC’s refrigerant pressure to factory-set levels. This is critical, since too much refrigerant in the air conditioner is as harmful as too little.
If you have reason to believe your AC has lost refrigerant, call for air conditioning repair in Phoenixville, PA from our technicians. Signs to watch for include a loss of cooling power around the house, hissing sounds from anywhere in the indoor or outdoor units, a rise in indoor humidity, or ice appearing along the evaporator coil. Other malfunctions may create these troubles, but these malfunctions also must have repairs done.
Michall Daimion Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. is your go-to HVAC pros serving the main line. Contact us for AC repair—24 hours a day.