Refrigerant is the lifeblood of any air conditioning system. Without it, our Dover, Delaware, customers wouldn’t be able to keep their homes comfortably cool this summer. What’s more, low refrigerant levels can damage your AC, resulting in costly repairs or even a total replacement. Here are some warning signs your AC needs more refrigerant as soon as possible.
The House Won’t Cool Down
If your home doesn’t feel as cool as it has in the past, the air conditioner might be low on refrigerant. AC refrigerant essentially works like a sponge absorbing heat from the air and removing it from your home. The less refrigerant there is, the less heat it can absorb, which can leave your home feeling warm and stuffy.
Before assuming low refrigerant is the issue, check the thermostat to make sure it’s set correctly and has been properly calibrated. Remove the thermostat faceplate and clean it with a cotton swab. You should then remount the thermostat to the wall using a bubble level to ensure that it’s perfectly level. Wad up a paper towel and place it against the wall with a thermometer on top, then tape the padded thermometer to the wall.
After 20 minutes, check the thermometer’s temperature and compare it to the thermostat display. If the temperature difference is more than two degrees, there’s a problem with the thermostat itself and you may need to purchase a new one.
If the thermometer is fine and the house still won’t cool down, you’ll probably need new refrigerant.
Warm Air Coming From the Supply Vents
When an AC is low on refrigerant, it can’t circulate cool, conditioned air. As a result, you’ll notice warm or lukewarm air blowing out of the supply vents. Turn your AC on high and walk around the house to check each supply vent. If you feel warm air coming out, call an HVAC professional.
Since your AC has a lower-than-normal amount of refrigerant, you’ll experience increased utility bills until you can get the problem fixed. That’s because it takes your air conditioner longer than necessary to attempt to cool down the home. Save yourself money and a lot of headaches by scheduling a tune-up at the first sign of a problem.
Ice on the Refrigerant Line
When your AC has low refrigerant, there isn’t enough pressure in the system, which can cause your evaporator coil and refrigerant line to freeze. Checking your refrigerant line is easy: simple inspect your exterior AC unit for any signs of ice buildup on the copper line. You won’t be able to see the interior evaporator coil, but a frozen line suggests this part is also frozen.
If you don’t take care of a frozen coil or refrigerant line, the issue will eventually work its way to the AC’s compressor. Compressors are one of the most expensive parts to replace on an air conditioning system. In fact, most homeowners find that replacing the entire exterior unit is more affordable than buying a new compressor. Keeping an eye out for any signs of ice or frost on the refrigerant line can help prevent these unexpected costs.
Bubbling or Hissing Noises
Refrigerant doesn’t get used up like it does in a vehicle, so the only way your system would be low on refrigerant is if there’s a leak somewhere in the unit. Refrigerant leaks, if they’re bad enough, might create a bubbling or hissing sound as the liquid escapes.
Unfortunately, when there’s a refrigerant leak, simply adding more refrigerant isn’t enough since you need to fix the root cause of the problem. That’s why you should call a trained HVAC technician to identify the leak, fix it, test the system to ensure the repair worked, and then charge the AC with the right amount of refrigerant.
Don’t suffer in a warm house this summer. Call Griffith Energy Services at (888) 474-3391 at the first sign of low refrigerant in your AC system. Our friendly, professional HVAC technicians will quickly identify the problem and have your air conditioner working efficiently in no time, helping you save money.
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