What Happens If The Refrigerant Runs Low?

Air conditioners are surprisingly complex machines. Apart from the snake of ductwork that goes through your home, your actual AC unit also relies on a variety of internal machines to cool your home, such as a compressor, condenser coils, and fan blades.

But if those components are the organs of your home's energy system, the refrigerant that goes to your condenser coils is its blood supply. This liquid is partially responsible for converting the hot air that is outside and converting it into the cold air that blows in your home; without it, your house doesn't get cold. Fortunately, if you're low on refrigerant, it's one of the easiest air conditioning repair services that you can schedule, so call an HVAC company if you suspect that it's getting low and make it a part of your regular AC maintenance plan.

So what happens to your system is running out of refrigerant? Here are a few things to consider.

Your Condenser Coils Will Freeze

Refrigerant courses through your condenser coils, and together they provide the mechanism by which hot air is converted to cold air. Without refrigerant, or if there's too little of it, the evaporator coil doesn't warm up enough, causing it to freeze on the outside. This can also be caused by excessive dirt and grime buildup on the coils as well since little airflow prevents the hot air from reaching the coils too. If this happens, you'll need to schedule an air conditioner repair service to refill your refrigerant and defrost the condenser coils.

Your House Will Become More Humid

Air conditioning units aren't just responsible for cooling down your home, they're also responsible for taking some of the humidity out of it as well. If your refrigerant is low, then it can't pull the hot air out of your home that is also most likely humid, which will cause your house to feel stickier in addition to being hotter. Most people find that unpleasant, so it's a good idea to keep your refrigerant at an optimal level.

Your System Will Stop Working

Not only is the refrigerant necessary to clear home, but it's also required to make your compressor function properly. The compressor is designed to require a certain level of refrigerant; if it drops below that level, the compressor will have to work harder to cool your home and will eventually stop working altogether. When that happens, air conditioner repair will be the least of your concerns. At that point, you may be looking at a whole unit replacement.

For more information on air conditioning repair and maintenance, reach out to a local HVAC technician.