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Refrigerant and Leaks Explained

blue-question-markRefrigerant-based air conditioning is the best invention since the air conditioner (and there were more than a few methods of air conditioning around, dating all the way back to ancient Egypt). Refrigerant is called many things under different brand names, but in essence, it is a chemical blend used to transfer heat. It’s essential to your AC’s cooling function, so when something goes wrong with the refrigerant, then there’s going to be problems!

What Are Refrigerant Leaks?

Refrigerant leaks are the biggest problem here, so we’ll go into the most detail about them. As the name suggests, it’s what happens when your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant!

First, it helps to understand how refrigerant works in your system. Your air conditioner uses a series of coils and a compressor to change the state of refrigerant from a liquid to a gas. This is repeated over and over again, creating a cycle that will remove warm air from your home and send it outside. It’s actually the absence of warm air that creates the “conditioned” air we crave so much on a hot day.

To facilitate this process, the amount of refrigerant in the system must be nearly perfect. Too much or too little will offset the pressure and can wreak havoc on your air conditioner. Therefore, a leak that gradually drains refrigerant from the system is like a timer counting down to a serious AC breakdown.

Severe refrigerant leaks will be easy to spot, as it will be more apparent to see it spewing out of one of the refrigerant lines. Most of the time, however, that’s not the case—refrigerant leaks develop out of pinhole leaks, which won’t be easy to hear or see. You may be able to see tiny bubbles where the leak is coming from, but otherwise, you’ll need the help of a quality AC repair company in Essex County.

Problems That Can Occur from Leaks

Low Performance: Although this is the least of your problems when it comes to a refrigerant leak, it’s most likely the thing that will lead you to realize you have a refrigerant problem. With the AC unable to complete the refrigerant cycle properly, that will bring increased energy bills and lower performance, such as a warmer home.

Frozen Evaporator Coil: The evaporator coil is just one of the essential parts of the heat transference cycle. In the event of a refrigerant leak, it’s possible that the evaporator coil will fail to do its job properly and become too cold, thus freezing over. Some homeowners may see a frozen coil and believe that this is normal (the colder the better, right?). Although we can agree with this sentiment, it’s far from normal!

Compressor Failure: The compressor is what makes the whole refrigerant-phase-change possible, pumping refrigerant through the lines. If the amount of refrigerant suddenly starts dropping, the compressor will actually have to work harder to pump all of it through. This creates excessive strain that will eventually lead to compressor failure (and that’s an expensive problem you don’t want to deal with!).

Got a refrigerant problem? Contact MarGo Plumbing Heating Cooling Inc. today!

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