If you ask us, one of the best days of the year is when you switch your home’s HVAC system from “Heat” mode to “Cool.” It’s a moment filled with anticipation and hope. But if your air conditioning fails to produce the refreshingly cold air you expect, the positive momentum comes to a sudden halt.
There are many issues that could occur within your AC since the end of last summer. If your air conditioning is low in refrigerant, that means there’s a leak that needs to be repaired, and your system will need a refrigerant recharge to work correctly. This work should only be attempted by a trained HVAC professional.
What is refrigerant, and why does it need to be recharged?
Refrigerant is a chemical substance used in products such as air conditioning systems, refrigerators, freezers, and vehicle ACs. Basically, refrigerant helps the system draw heat from one area (such as inside your home) and transfer it to another (such as outside). By removing indoor heat, the air conditioning can return cooler air.
Refrigerant is supposed to be a closed system, meaning the same volume cycles through for the life of the AC. It’s the opposite of putting gas in your vehicle, and then the fuel is burned off as you use it. So, the only way you will lose refrigerant is if there’s a leak. In this case, the source of the leak will need to be fixed, and the refrigerant will need to be recharged – or refilled – by an HVAC professional.
Signs of a refrigerant leak in your air conditioning
- Unit not cooling effectively – If the AC is on but only room-temperature air is coming out of the vent, it could indicate a lack of refrigerant.
- Frost or ice on the unit – Frozen coils or other components are another sign of a refrigerant leak.
- Damage or corrosion – If you have an old unit, you may notice signs of wear-and-tear or corrosion, indicating a leak.
- High energy bills – If the AC has to work harder to cool the home (since it doesn’t have enough refrigerant to do it efficiently), it will use up more energy, and you’ll likely notice a sudden increase in your next utility bill.
Is it better to recharge or replace?
Depending on the age of your air conditioning, you may have to weigh the pros and cons of recharging versus replacing the whole system. Recharging is a complex and potentially dangerous job that should only be left to a professional. You also have to factor in the cost of repairing whatever caused the leak in the first place. Plus, if your older AC uses R-22 (Freon), you’ll find that this refrigerant has been phased out for environmental concerns.
Schedule air conditioning tune-up service in Fredericksburg
Now’s the time to get your air conditioning ready for another hot Virginia summer. Whether you need your AC recharged or simply tuned up, call the experienced team at Robert B. Payne, Inc. at 540-373-5876.