Although the internet gives us plenty of information right at our fingertips, there are still many misconceptions and myths that persist– especially about air conditioning units. One that seems to confuse people the most is the purpose of AC refrigerant. However, we at AW Heating & Cooling, your premier company for AC service in Maumee OH, are going to break it all down for you and bust the #1 AC myth.
In this article, we’ll explain what refrigerant does for your AC. Then we will cover some of the signs to look out for when there’s a leak and why it’s a problem if there is one.
AC Refrigerant for Cooling; Not for Fueling!
The most common myth people believe is that refrigerant is what powers the AC unit. A comparison you’ll likely hear is that it’s similar to gasoline in your car. However, that’s far from the truth. Like most things, your AC runs on electricity to do its job. Refrigerant, on the other hand, is a cooling agent that absorbs heat as it converts back and forth from liquid to gas.
Upon installation, ACs are filled with enough refrigerant to last the unit’s entire lifecycle. This is called its “charge,” and it doesn’t get used up in the cooling process. However, if you call on a technician for repairs or maintenance, they might tell you they refilled the refrigerant. If so, that only means one thing: you have a coolant leak!
Through normal wear and tear from regular use, leaks are bound to happen. However, it shouldn’t be ignored. Leaks will lead to increased energy consumption and higher energy bills. And if not fixed, it could cause the machine to break down completely and lead to more costly repairs down the line.
A Few Signs of AC Refrigerant Leak to Look Out For
If you notice any of the following, then it’s a good chance there’s a refrigerant leak somewhere in your system.
- Your AC is not cooling things down like normal: If it seems like your home is warmer than usual, even with the AC blasting, that’s a sign there’s a leak.
- There’s a hissing or bubbling noise coming from the unit: With the AC unit off, you might be able to hear the sound of the leak from the inside.
- Your AC is short cycling: If your AC is quickly turning off and on, an inspection is in order.
- You’re spending more on your monthly electric bill: As mentioned above, a leaky unit is less efficient so it will consume more energy than usual. This will cause a spike in your electricity usage.
- There’s ice on the evaporator coils: Probably the easiest sign to see, the refrigerant will cause ice crystals to form on the outdoor unit’s evaporator coils while it’s running. If you see this, give us a call.
- Your unit’s refrigerant is refilled constantly: Dubious companies might not tell you but coolant refills are NOT normal.
Contact “Your Comfort Specialists” here at AW Heating & Cooling for all your HVAC needs.