Refrigerant is the fuel that your central air conditioning system uses to power the cooling cycle. Problems in the system, or with the refrigerant itself, can interfere with the refrigerant's ability to move effectively through the system. If your air conditioning system is becoming increasingly inefficient, you might have a recurring refrigerant issue that isn't going to clear up on its own.
One of the potential problems is something you can check and fix on your own. But the other two, which both have the potential of dealing with raw refrigerant, should be left up to a qualified air conditioning repair service.
Dirty Evaporator Coils
The refrigerant moving through the system can encounter problems at any step, but problems with cooling can often be traced back to the evaporator coils. The coils are located in the air handler or interior section of your central air conditioner. Liquid refrigerant passes from the outdoors condensing unit, through piping, and into the air handler's coils for conversion to a gas.
Evaporator coils undergo a surface temperature change while transforming the refrigerant from a liquid to a gas. The coldness of the coils will then cool air blown through the system by a motorized fan, which then passes the cooled air on through your ducts and vents.
Dirt on the surface of the evaporator coils can disrupt the refrigerant conversion process and cause the coils to be less cold. The refrigerant inside can also fail to convert to gas as efficiently, which can cause you to lose some refrigerant in the process.
You can clean the coils yourself with a specialized coil cleaner found at any hardware store. Make sure the power is turned off to the air handler first, and then apply the cleaner according to its package directions. Once the cleaner has set for the designated amount of time, you will likely need to run the unit to allow the coils to naturally shed off any remaining cleaner into the air handler's drain pan.
Low refrigerant can cause an air conditioner to become inefficient before the system eventually stops working at all. Refrigerant can naturally diminish over time, but an increasingly inefficient unit might point to a slow but steady refrigerant leak somewhere in the system. The evaporator coils and condenser coils, which are located in the condensing unit, are two of the most likely places for a refrigerant leak.
You can check for the leak yourself by simply turning off the power to each part of the unit, accessing the coils, and then conducting a quick visual inspection for any signs of damage to the coils or chemical leaks. Don't try to fix the problem yourself. Call in an HVAC technician to perform the repairs and top off your refrigerant levels.
Incorrect Refrigerant Type or Insufficient Refrigerant Charge
Did you recently buy your house and have had the cooling efficiency dwindle the entire time? Or have you recently had the unit serviced by a technician who changed or charged the refrigerant? Your cooling problems could be due to the system having the incorrect type of refrigerant or having the right type of refrigerant that lacks the sufficient charge to move through the system.
Both of these problems require the assistance of an air condition repair service. In many areas, only a certified HVAC tech can even buy refrigerant to replace the fuel in your system.
For more information or assistance repairing problems with your air conditioning, contact an air condition repair service, such as High Tech Heating Ventilation And Air Conditioning.
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