Refrigerant (sometimes referred to with the trademarked name “Freon”) is the lifeblood of an air conditioning system. It doesn’t power the air conditioner the way that fuel powers a car; instead, it allows the AC to move heat from the inside of a house to the outside. The refrigerant goes through a process of evaporating and condensing to first absorb thermal energy and then release it.
The Refrigerant Charge
Something important to understand about refrigerant is that an air conditioner does not “use it up” as it runs. This is another way that refrigerant is different from a fuel source. An air conditioning system has a factory-set level of refrigerant (also known as the air conditioner’s charge) that should remain the same throughout the AC’s service life. So the answer to the question “What level of refrigerant should my AC have?” is “Whatever level it had when it was first installed.”
However, there are situations when your air conditioner will need more refrigerant added. Sometimes, an AC’s refrigerant lines can spring leaks and allow the refrigerant to escape. This is a serious situation that may eventually lead to the air conditioner’s compressor breaking down. If you detect a loss in cooling power from your AC or see frost developing along the indoor coil, do not hesitate: call for a repair technician to seal the leaks and then restore the refrigerant to its factory-set level.
Never attempt to put refrigerant into the air conditioner yourself! It takes a professional to handle the job so the exact right amount goes in. An air conditioner that has too much refrigerant will suffer from as many problems as one that has too little.
Find out why JW Heating and Air is in the top 1% of Angie’s List-rated contractors! Call us for air conditioning repairs and other services in San Gabriel Valley, CA.