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Why Is a Refrigerant Leak a Big Deal?

AC-manifoldAir conditioning systems are complex pieces of machinery, and modern engineering has really done wonders for their capabilities. The basic concepts and theory behind the air conditioning process, however, is actually quite simple. The air conditioner removes heat from your home, and it continues to do so until it reaches the desired temperature. It accomplishes this through the evaporation and condensing of refrigerant. That’s an incredibly simple explanation of how the process works, but it’s really the foundational aspects.

Considering that we just pointed to the evaporation and condensing of refrigerant as the process that allows your air conditioner to, well, condition air, it should be pretty obvious just how vital to the process refrigerant is. It should also come as no surprise to hear that a refrigerant leak is really cause for major concern. So read on, learn more about how that AC of yours works, and remember to contact a member of our team if you think that it’s time for professional air conditioning repair in O’Fallon, MO.

What Exactly Does Refrigerant Do?

A heater like a furnace or a boiler will use electricity or burn fuel in order to create new heat. An air conditioner obviously doesn’t create new “coolness.” That concept doesn’t really make any sense. What your air conditioner actually does when it cools your home is remove heat. That heat transfer process is only possible thanks to the refrigerant in your air conditioning system.

There are two coils in an air conditioning system. The evaporator coil is indoors, and it evaporates refrigerant. As refrigerant evaporates, it draws heat out of the air passing through that coil. The heated refrigerant heads out to the condenser coil at this point, where it is condensed and its heat is released into the air outside. That process just repeats until your home is effectively cooled to your desired temperature.

Problems Caused By Leaks

Your car is going to be in big trouble if you try to run it without oil. It will start up, which it won’t if it’s run out of gas. However, the lack of lubrication that the oil is supposed to provide makes for a lot of excess friction and heat in the engine. Run it like that long enough, and the whole thing can seize up on you.

Refrigerant isn’t a lubricant, but the concept here is similar. The AC will run if it’s low on refrigerant, but the task of cooling your home becomes much more difficult. The longer you run the system, the more likely issues such as overheating become due to excessive strain caused by insufficient refrigerant. Continue doing this to the system, and your compressor can fail. That will almost definitely result in the need for a full AC replacement.

If your air conditioner is struggling to cool your home, if it’s short cycling, or if your energy bills spike as you’re using it, you could have a refrigerant leak. Take no chances. Give us a call.

Schedule your AC services with Fresh Air Heating & Cooling.

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