Keeping up with your air conditioner maintenance is an absolute must! Without it, you can run into a lot of unwanted problems that could result in downtime for your air conditioner. Which isn’t exactly something you want to get caught without when it’s hot out.
A big part of your air conditioner’s maintenance is ensuring its refrigerant levels are always correct. In fact, refrigerant levels happen to be one of the most important factors in keeping your AC running and can have a major impact on whether or not it runs efficiently.
Air conditioner problems are inevitable if your unit is old enough. But it’s how you choose to tackle them that makes all the difference. Maintenance also makes a huge difference as you can keep AC problems from happening in the first place.
Refrigerant Levels and Your Air Conditioners Efficiency: FAQ
If you’re reading this then keeping your FL home cool is probably at the top of your priorities list. That means understanding your refrigerant levels and why they’re important to your air conditioner is probably a priority for you as well.
To help you get a better understanding, we answered some of our most frequently asked questions on the topic. Here, you’ll learn more about the results of low refrigerant levels, how they influence your air conditioner’s efficiency, and much more.
What is the role of refrigerant?
A good place to start is with an understanding of the role of refrigerant when it comes to your air conditioner. Refrigerant actually happens to be one of the most crucial aspects of the air cooling process. Its role is to travel throughout the different parts of your air conditioner. As it does, it changes from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid. It’s usually situated inside your AC’s copper coils.
As the refrigerant changes it begins to absorb heat which is later released as it continues on its journey throughout the system. This is what eventually helps to expel cold air into your home or business.
If you have an outdoor unit, the refrigerant will travel to it and release heat in the form of condensation. If you have an indoor unit the refrigerant goes through evaporation in order to blow out cool air.
The cycle refrigerant goes through continues on and on and will remain at the same level if it doesn’t leak.
What happens if your AC has low refrigerant levels?
There are a few problems that can come about if you are to have a leak and get low refrigerant levels as a result. First of all, your air conditioner will lose its ability to transfer the heat inside to outside. As the air is blown over your AC coils they will no longer cool properly. Your vents will begin to circulate warm air which is the opposite of what you want.
Another problem that can come about from low refrigerant levels is damage to your air conditioner. Your AC will still attempt to condense the gaseous refrigerant into a liquid.
However, the lower volume of refrigerant will cause the coils to reach super-low temperatures and eventually freeze over. If your coils are frozen, the airflow to the condenser will increase and put a lot of strain on your system. This can ultimately decrease the running life of your unit.
What happens if refrigerant levels are high?
As we’ve determined, low refrigerant levels can cause problems. But what happens if your air conditioner’s refrigerant levels are high?
When there’s too much refrigerant in the system it can end up damaging your compressor. The excess refrigerant commonly collects inside the compressor which eventually leads to subcooling. This is when the temperature inside the machine is less than normal.
High levels of refrigerant can also end up flooding the compressor which will eventually cause damage to the mechanical parts of the machine. If the compressor is to become flooded it will need to be replaced and may even result in needing to replace the machine in its entirety. This can end up costing you a ton of money, which isn’t likely something you want to have to do.
That’s why it’s so important to ensure your air conditioner’s refrigerant levels are at the right level. Consulting with an expert is usually the best choice for maintaining these levels and your machine as a whole.
What determines the efficiency of an air conditioner?
You’re likely aware of the fact that it’s important to ensure your air conditioner is constantly running in an efficient state. Here are a few reasons why!
- Lower energy bills: When your AC system is running efficiently it will end up costing you significantly less to run. These systems have costs that include repairs, replacing parts, and regular maintenance. That makes it important to save where you can!
- More control: An efficient air conditioner will allow you to have complete control over the temperature of your home. You can use your thermostat to help control your cooling costs and ensure you stay comfortable while inside. Some even allow you to program your thermostat through your smartphone!
- Reduce carbon footprint: You save money when your air conditioner runs efficiently, and you also help save the environment! Older systems tend to produce more greenhouse gases that aren’t exactly great for the environment. Going green and more efficient means you can reduce your carbon footprint.
- A quieter system: Rather than your air conditioner struggling and doing everything it can to blast cool air, an efficient system will make less noise. It will be better equipped for improved air quality, airflow, and quietness.
- No cool air is wasted: Rather than wasting cool air in rooms that aren’t occupied, more energy-efficient AC systems give you maximum control. You won’t waste time and energy cooling rooms you’re not using.
Energy efficiency ratio (EER)
So, how do you determine the efficiency of your air conditioner? Well, there’s something called energy efficiency ratio (EER) which can be used to measure your AC’s efficiency. It’s essentially the ratio of the power input (in watts) to the cooling capacity (in Btu per hour). If you have a professional maintaining your AC then they’ll be able to tell you what this ratio looks like for your specific machine.
How do you adjust refrigerant levels?
You should ensure routine maintenance has been done on the machine before attempting to adjust the refrigerant levels. This will help determine where your refrigerant levels are. The process of adjusting your refrigerant levels can be tedious and should be done with the utmost attention and detail.
Rather than attempting to adjust your refrigerant levels yourself, it’s usually best to contact a professional to get the proper help. They’ll be able to determine where your levels are at and ensure they’re adjusted perfectly.
Know When to Call a Professional
You might have read through all of our FAQs and still have questions or may not want to risk handling your AC refrigerant levels on your own. That’s totally normal! In fact, it’s better to know when to call a professional so they can ensure your air conditioner is running at its best. They’re also going to be able to tell you if there’s anything that could be done differently to help your AC run even more efficiently.
At A/C Care Heat and Air we pride ourselves on maintaining the best AC units for South Florida. We can help with everything from installation to ongoing AC maintenance and AC repairs and are always happy to visit you on-site. We’ll discuss the most reliable central air conditioner for your space and walk you through each of your options.
Ready to get started? Get in touch with us today!