Have you ever wondered what goes into a heating or air conditioning system for a large office building or another large building like a mall or a school? My name is Evelyn, and I am an HVAC architect. I design heating and air conditioning systems for large, corporate buildings. Making sure that a large building with many rooms or offices is efficiently heated and cooled is a very large job and is much more complicated than simply heating or cooling a home. This blog will educate the reader on how heating and cooling jobs this large are designed and completed.
Without adequate refrigerant in your air conditioner, your AC wouldn't be able to cool your home. The refrigerant circulates from the condenser outside to the evaporator coils in the indoor air handler as the unit runs. The refrigerant changes from a liquid to a gas and back again as it flows in a continuous circle between the two parts of your AC. When a refrigerant line gets a leak, the air your AC puts out gets warmer gradually until your AC can't make cool air any longer. That's when repairs are essential. Here are some things to know about the AC refrigerant.
Refrigerant Levels Shouldn't Drop
Even though refrigerant goes through the cycle of converting to a gas and back to a liquid, no refrigerant is lost during the process since the refrigerant is contained in a closed system. However, it's possible for refrigerant levels to get low due to a leak. That's why low refrigerant is a signal your AC needs repairs. The cause of the leak has to be fixed before more refrigerant is added. Simply topping off the AC is not a solution since the new refrigerant will just leak out too.
Old R-22 Refrigerant Is Being Phased Out
If your air conditioner is several years old, it might still have R-22 refrigerant in it. This product is being phased out since it is harmful to the environment. This makes R-22 more expensive and more difficult to source. You can't add newer refrigerants, such as R-410-A, to your AC if it is made for R-22. When the production of R-22 stops, you may need to rely on a recycled refrigerant that's reclaimed when old air conditioners are removed and replaced with newer systems. As time goes on and supplies of recycled R-22 run out, you may be forced to replace your old AC if it gets a refrigerant leak.
Refrigerant Works Best With Clean Coils
The refrigerant cools down your home by pulling heat from the air in your house. It does this when the air from your house is pulled into the air handler and flows across the coils. The coils can get coated with dust if you don't keep up with your AC service calls. When this happens, the dust acts as an insulated blanket and keeps the air from contacting the cold coils and your home doesn't get as cool. The coils continue to get cool though and that can lead to ice formation. Ice can build up and cause your AC to stop working. Then, you'll need to call an air conditioning repair service to get your home cool again.
There may not be a lot you can do to prevent a leak in a refrigerant line, but by protecting the outdoor equipment and keeping your AC clean and serviced, you might help the refrigerant have a long life. If the line does get a tiny hole in it, the AC repair service has to use equipment to find the leak and then patch it or make other repairs to stop the leak so the refrigerant can be refilled. Repairing a refrigerant leak can be expensive, especially if your AC needs the old R-22 refrigerant, so doing what you can to protect your AC is important so you can put off replacing your unit for as long as possible.