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Does Low Coolant Affect Air Conditioning?

The coolant plays one of the most important roles in keeping your home cool by taking the heat inside your home out. But what if you run out of coolant? Well, there’s a strong possibility that you could kill your air conditioner and rack up your electricity bills.

Since you’re reading this post, you probably have this issue. So, sit back as we explore the effects of having too little coolant in your air conditioner. We’ll also outline some warning signs to look out for to be sure if it’s a problem.

Understanding Coolant in Home Air Conditioning Systems

The coolant drops your home’s temperature by taking the indoor heat outside and replacing it with cold air. This process starts when low-pressure, gaseous coolant enters the air conditioner’s evaporator coil. 

During this phase, it takes the home’s heat and turns the coolant into vapor, which the compressor then compresses to increase the pressure and temperature. Once hot enough, the gas travels to the condenser coil, which cools off into a liquid. It may also help to better understand what a condenser does in an air conditioning system.

This condensation releases heat into the surrounding air but decreases the pressure. Afterward. The cycle is complete once the cooled liquid is pumped into the evaporating coil and sent back into your home.

What Happens When Your Coolant Is Low?

But what happens if you’re low on coolant? Well, expect your Air Conditioner to experience a steep decrease in efficiency. This happens because the system will work harder to ensure your home’s temperature is down. The problem with this extra effort is that your energy consumption will go up, and that means higher light bills. At the same time, the compressor will overheat and eventually experience wear and tear prematurely.

You may even have to make costly repairs on other damaged parts like the condenser and evaporator. So, if you want an Air conditioner that lasts longer, do not run your air conditioner when you believe there may be a coolant leak. Some unscrupulous AC repair companies may simply “top off” your coolant. Not only is this dangerous to the environment, but ends up costing you more money in the long run.

Air conditioning systems are not like cars, which require a refill on fuel to continue to run. Air conditioning system are closed systems in which the coolant (otherwise known as refrigerant) remains. If your air conditioning unit is low on coolant, that means there is likely a leak with the system which needs to be addressed. Otherwise the system will continually need coolant replacement as the newly added coolant will eventually escape through the leak.

How To Know If Your AC’s Coolant Is Low

Now that you know the answer to your question, how do you check to be sure your AC coolant is lower? Here are some symptoms of impending doom:

Warm Air from Vents

Your air conditioner will convert less hot air to cold air since the coolant is low. This will cause warm air to shoot out the vents and back into the room. So, if your room seems to be getting more “toasty”, this could be indicative of a coolant leak.

Hissing or Bubbling Noises

A hissing sound is indicative of a refrigerant/coolant leak. The sound you are hearing is coolant escaping the system and this is certainly something which should be addressed by an air conditioning professional. Naturally, if something’s leaking, it makes sense to conclude that the content volume has dropped.

Ice Formation on Refrigerant Lines

Check for ice along the lines, since the residual fluid overswells and cools down when there’s not enough refrigerant. But why? In simple words, the moisture freezes once it comes into contact with the coils.

Frequent Cycling

Lastly, if your Air conditioner doesn’t keep your room cool. This sounds vague and it can be caused by something else. Nevertheless, one of these things causing your room to stay hot despite an active AC is low coolant. Go check it out!

The condenser is the most important part in an air conditioner and is responsible for absorbing the energy from heat that is inside your home, and releasing it outside. This process allows your air conditioner to keep your indoor space cool and the people inside of it at a comfortable temperature, during those hot days. As stated before, always be on the lookout for any sort of issues that may arise with your air conditioning unit, especially low coolant. If you notice reduced cooling performance, warm air coming out of your air conditioner, an increase in noise while your air conditioner is on, frequent cycling, or leaking refrigerant; it may be a sign you need AC repair service. We’re your trusted HVAC professionals that are here to answer any and all questions that you may have. 

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