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Why Is a Refrigerant Leak So Serious?

temperature-guageNew Jersey may not be as closely associated with truly oppressive heat as, say, Arizona or Florida. But that definitely does not mean that you can try and eek by without a great air conditioning system in place. When summer does strike here in Cherry Hill, NJ, it can strike pretty hard. The last thing that you want to do is to realize that your air conditioner is just not up to the task of cooling down your home effectively or reliably, which is why prompt air conditioning repair is always best.

Now, there are a number of different reasons as to why your air conditioning system may fail to live up to your deservedly high expectations. Some problems you can resolve on your own, like if your air filter is very dirty and is restricting airflow. Others, like leaky ductwork, will need to be diagnosed and resolved professionally. There is one AC problem that really threatens to damage your system, potentially beyond repair, and that is the refrigerant leak.

What Refrigerant Does

Your air conditioner doesn’t consume a fuel in order to generate new “coolness” the way in which a furnace may use gas or electricity to do so. Yes, it uses electricity, but it does so to power its fans and motors, as well as to facilitate the refrigerant cycle. By evaporating refrigerant in the indoor evaporator coil, your air conditioner is able to remove heat from the air. So that coolness you feel is actually the absence of heat.

Because the refrigerant in the system absorbs heat as it evaporates, it must also release this heat. This occurs as the refrigerant is condensed in the outdoor coil. If your system is low on refrigerant, then it will struggle to get this job done. Plus, it will cause a number of other problems, all of which will have a negative effect on your air conditioning system itself.

Why Low Refrigerant Spells Trouble

In addition to reducing the system’s overall performance quality, a refrigerant leak can also lead to the icing over of your evaporator coil. As the air is cooled, moisture condenses on the coil. When enough heat is not removed from the air, that coil gets too cold. Then, ice can form on the coil. This is a major issue as this layer of ice further insulates the coil, impeding the heat removal process even more and putting a lot of additional strain on the system.

The AC may begin to overheat as it tries to cool your home. This can lead to short cycling, where the system starts and stops with increased frequency as it cycles down to protect itself from overheating. That puts more wear and tear on its components, driving up energy costs and greatly increasing the risk of operational damages. Eventually, the system may suffer compressor failure, and that is such an expensive fix that a full AC replacement is actually typically the next step.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak, schedule service with Climate Mechanics LLC right away! 

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