Whilst the air conditioner is responsible for cooling your entire home, it's unable to perform that job unless it has refrigerant. Even a brand new air conditioner can't perform if it's low on refrigerant! When your home is sweltering, but the air conditioner is running, it's a strong indicator that there might be a refrigerant leak. There are also some other lesser known indicators that you might need to add air conditioner refrigerant, including everything discussed below.
It Takes Longer and Longer to Get Cool
When the cooling-off period -- the period from when you switch the air conditioner on to when the home is comfortably cool -- is increasing each time you use the air conditioner, it's likely that you need more refrigerant. The refrigerant is responsible for pulling the heat out of the air, so when the refrigerant is low that hot air will linger for much longer than it normally would. Whilst the home may eventually get reasonably cool, it will take longer and longer to do so until you have refrigerant added.
Your Energy Bills Are Increasing
As mentioned above, your air conditioner has to struggle for increasingly long periods whilst refrigerant levels are low. This, in turn, means that your air conditioner is using far more energy than it would be otherwise. The more energy used by your air conditioner, the higher that your energy bills will be this summer. Trying to run your air conditioner with inadequate refrigerant is the exact opposite of being energy efficient -- and your billfold will pay for it.
Ice Crystals on Your Exterior Air Conditioner Unit
It's a wise idea to periodically check your exterior air conditioner unit, as it allows you a chance to spot problems with the refrigerant line. That refrigerant line -- it's the copper coloured one -- can show an obvious trouble sign when you're low on refrigerant. Check for small ice crystals, or even a bit of ice accumulation, on the line. If you see this, it's the result of refrigerant flowing backward due to the evaporator coil being over-cooled. The evaporator coil typically only becomes over-cooled when the refrigerant is low. Whilst you can't see the evaporator coil itself from the outside, the ice crystals on the refrigerant line are enough of a warning sign to phone your HVAC provider straight away.
If you take care of the above problem signs when they appear, you can avoid the misery of a hot home and a failed air conditioner. Contact your HVAC specialist for an air conditioner check-up today! For more information on refrigeration, contact your local refrigeration specialist.