Summer is almost here, and people are going to be relying on their air conditioners to keep cool for the next few months. Part of getting your air conditioner ready for the heat of summer is scheduling maintenance for it, and we get a lot of questions from homeowners during those appointments. One of the most common questions is whether or not an air conditioner needs to have its refrigerant refilled. Read on to find out more about how your air conditioner uses refrigerant, and when it needs to have it refilled.
How Your Air Conditioner Uses Refrigerant
Refrigerant serves a very important role in your air conditioner. In fact, the system really can’t function without the proper level of refrigerant. During operation, an air conditioner evaporates refrigerant to absorb thermal energy from the air in the ducts. The hot refrigerant gas then travels down the refrigerant line to the outside unit, where it is condensed back into liquid. This vents the heat the refrigerant has collected out of the home.
The air conditioner doesn’t ever consume refrigerant during operation. It simply cycles the fluid back and forth between liquid and gaseous states to move heat. So, the initial charge of refrigerant that the system is installed with should be enough to last it throughout its lifetime. The only time that you should need to add refrigerant to the air conditioner is if a leak develops in the refrigerant line.
Refrigerant leaks can happen over time due to corrosion, and will drain the system of the fluid that it needs to operate. This will cause a steady drop in output, along with an ever-increasing number of problems culminating in a system breakdown. If you notice any kind of liquid dripping from your system, you should call for repairs right away so that a technician can patch the leak and recharge the refrigerant level.