Does AC Refrigerant Go Bad or Run Out?

Not all homeowners understand how refrigerant works. We often receive service requests from our customers saying that their central or window air conditioner needs a refill of this liquid compound, thinking that it has either gone stale or has disappeared completely. Nothing could be further from the truth, however.


Refrigerant Isn’t Fuel

A common misconception about refrigerant is that it’s an energy source that powers air conditioners in the same way automotive fuel or gasoline works for cars and other motor vehicles. In reality, however, it’s a chemical compound that moves through the coils of your cooling system to facilitate heat transfer.

During the refrigeration cycle, a fan blows air over the coils, where the refrigerant turns into gas. The resulting cool air is distributed throughout your living spaces. As it turns back to liquid again, it absorbs heat from the indoor air. Another fan located inside the air conditioner’s outdoor unit blows warm air over the coils and exhausts it outside. This cycle repeats while the cooling system is in operation.

The Problem of Low Refrigerant

The refrigerant inside your air conditioning unit doesn’t need to be replaced; it should be good for the lifetime of your equipment. However, having low refrigerant is a problem you shouldn’t overlook. It can lead to frost buildup around the condenser coils in your system’s outdoor unit, preventing them from doing their job of absorbing heat. Cool air blowing through your vents won’t be enough to keep your home comfortable.

Low refrigerant can mean either one of two things: your AC was undercharged during installation or it’s leaking. In both cases, you must get in touch with an expert air conditioning service contractor. A highly-trained technician can check for any leaks, fix them, then charge your unit with the right amount of refrigerant as recommended by the manufacturer. This ensures that your air conditioner is at peak performance and efficiency.

J & M Air Conditioning & Heating is your leading provider of heating and air conditioning services. We offer a wide range of maintenance savings plans to keep your HVAC system in top shape, allowing you to stay comfortable indoors no matter the season. Our inspection process aims to identify HVAC issues early on and address them before they can get worse.

To learn more about our furnace or heat pump inspection, give us a call at (951) 654 3464 or (760) 253-9631. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve customers in Hemet and the surrounding communities.