The modern air conditioner is a complex refrigeration device, so it’s understandable that many people aren’t sure of the ins and outs of how they operate. That’s why there are professionals to take care of them when they malfunction.
One common misunderstanding that homeowners have about air conditioners is the way they use refrigerant. “What happens when my AC runs low on refrigerant?” is a question HVAC technicians are accustomed to hearing. The answer comes in two parts:
“Your air conditioner does not use up refrigerant like fuel”
If your concern is that your air conditioner will eventually use up all its refrigerant and need to have it refilled, you are worrying about the wrong thing… because your AC doesn’t use up refrigerant. Refrigerant isn’t like gasoline in car, where the system consumes it as a fuel to run. The energy source for an AC is electricity, which is responsible for sending refrigerant around the system. The refrigerant goes through evaporation and condensation to absorb and release heat, moving it from inside your home to outside. The refrigerant level doesn’t decline as this happens, but should remain at its factory set level for the entire life of the AC.
“Your air conditioner can still lose refrigerant, which requires repair service”
The loss of refrigerant in an air conditioner can occur because of leaking, and this is a major problem. An AC is designed to handle a specific refrigerant level (known as the system’s charge), and if it drops it will result in a loss of cooling power and eventually damage to the compressor that can cause the whole air conditioner to break down. The moment you notice a decline in cooling from your AC, hear a hissing noise from the cabinet, or see ice along the indoor coil, call HVAC professionals immediately for repairs. The technicians will need to seal the leaks and recharge the refrigerant.