Air Conditioners: The Cost Of Too Much Refrigerant

Posted on: 10 February 2016

An air conditioner's refrigerant is at the center of the cooling process. It plays an important role such that when there is a slight drop in refrigerant levels, coil-icing and general cooling efficiency problems usually start to crop up. This is one of the main reasons why it is important that you not only seal any refrigerant leaks as soon as they are detected but also that you replace the lost amount.

However, while the refrigerant plays a critical role in ensuring that the system works, too much of it is bad for your system. It can not only lead to cooling inefficiencies but can also destroy various parts of an air conditioning system and thus leading to unnecessary repair costs. Here are some of the costs of an overcharged air conditioning system.

Destruction of the compressor

An air conditioner's compressor usually compresses the refrigerant when it is in a gaseous state. This compression is necessary to create a high-pressure gas, something that usually comes in handy when it's time to convert the refrigerant gas into a liquid.

The problem with overcharging an air conditioning system is that it increases the risks of liquid slugging. Liquid slugging is a condition where the presence of too much of the refrigerant causes some of it to enter the compressor before it changes to a gas. This is a problem mainly because the compressor's parts are designed to handle gases. They are therefore usually out of their depths when it comes to handling liquids.

The compressor motor's moving parts are the most vulnerable to this liquid attack. As a result, they usually end up breaking or getting stuck. This is usually enough to cripple the compressor. It also makes spending money, on either repairing the motor or replacing the entire compressor system, unavoidable.

Increased energy costs

With most air conditioning systems being closed systems, an increase in the amount of refrigerant in the system will increase the overall system pressure. This will reduce the efficiency with which the air conditioning system cools your home simply because it messes with the conditions necessary for the efficient conversion of the refrigerant from a gas into a liquid and then back to a gas: pressure changes.

By abnormally increasing pressure in high-pressure areas, and getting rid of low-pressure areas, too much refrigerant in the system eventually reduces the capacity of the refrigerant to absorb heat from the air passing over the evaporator coils. The unit will, therefore, take longer to cool your rooms. This, and the fact that handling excess refrigerant requires more energy, usually leads to increased energy bills.

For further assistance, contact local professionals, such as those from Soco Air Conditioning.


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