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Leaking Refrigerant Spells Trouble for Your Air Conditioning System

Summer is coming, and when it hits your air conditioner is going to be more vital than ever. Temperatures in our neck of the woods can easily hit triple digits, and without a reliable air conditioner, your home will soon turn into an oven. Now is the time to check your system for signs of trouble, in the spring when the need for your air conditioner is reduced. Anything out of the ordinary should be grounds for turning the air conditioner off and calling in a repair service.

Among the more common problems encountered by air conditioners is leaking refrigerant, which can cause serious trouble if it’s not dealt with in a timely fashion. There are a lot of misconceptions about what refrigerant does and why leaks are an issue. Here’s a breakdown of why leaking refrigerant spells trouble for your air conditioning system.

How Refrigerant Works

Many people assume that air conditioners consume refrigerant the same way an automobile consumes gas or oil. That’s actually not the case. In fact, theoretically, the refrigerant levels shouldn’t drop at all, which is part of why a leak is such a significant problem.

Refrigerant is vital to the cooling process, and cycles through an endless loop of valves and coils in order to achieve that. It starts the process in gaseous for, before shifting to liquid and being placed under a huge amount of pressure. (That releases a great deal of heat, which is typically vented outside your home via the outdoor portion of the air conditioner.) The pressurized refrigerant then passes into the expansion coils in a set amount, where it then shifts back into gaseous form. The process pulls the heat from the nearby air. The cooled air can then be blown into your home with a fan while the refrigerant returns to the start of the cycle to begin the process anew.

What Happens When Leaks Spring Up?

Leaks aren’t supposed to happen, but they do. And when they do, they disrupt the delicate balance required to make air conditioning work. (Every air conditioner requires a certain type of refrigerant in a certain amount in order to work.) When that happens, frost will form on the coils, forming an insulating barrier between the remaining refrigerant and the air it’s trying to cool. Not only does that represent lost cooling potential, but it forces the system to work much harder to do its job: raising both the cost of running the system and the strain on other components.

Even worse, as the leak continues, the ice will build up more and more, creating a cascading effect that can make the situation increasingly worse. Eventually, the system will stop delivering cool air at all, and a serious breakdown will be inevitable.

The good news is that trained technicians can usually hunt down the source of the leak and fix it before recharging refrigerant to its current levels. The sooner that is addressed, the better.

For quality HVAC services in Arlington, TX, call on the friendly professionals at Frymire Home Services today!

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