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Why is Low Refrigerant a Problem?


Refrigerant is one of the most important – and least understood – components of your air conditioning system. Many people assume that the air conditioner consumes it the way that a car engine consumes oil. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Refrigerant needs to remain in your system in a prescribed amount. When that amount drops – through a leak or other issue – the air conditioners can run into serious problems. The more you understand about how air conditioning works, the better able you are to respond when trouble arises.

How Refrigerant Works

Refrigerant travels through an endless loop in your system that allows it to cool the air. It starts out in gaseous form before entering a set of condenser coils. Heat is bled off of it into the outside air, reverting it to liquid form. The refrigerant them moves through an expansion valve into a series of evaporator coils, which shift it back to gaseous from. In the process, it pulls heat from the nearby air, cooling it and allowing it to be blown through the ducts into your home with a fan. The refrigerant then moves back to the start of the loop to begin the process again.

Why Leaks are a Problem

Leaks aren’t supposed to occur in this loop, but sometimes they do. When that happens, the delicate balance required for this process to work gets thrown off. Instead of cooling the air, the refrigerant in the evaporator coils results in ice on the surface of the coils, creating an insulating barrier between the remaining refrigerant and the air it needs to cool. The system thus has to work harder to do its job, monthly cooling bills go up, and eventually the strain will cause a serious breakdown elsewhere in the system.

To repair leaks and recharge refrigerant in the Boston, MA  area, call the pros at Cooling Unlimited today!

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