When do Air Conditioners Require More Refrigerant?

When do Air Conditioners Require More Refrigerant?

All central air conditioning systems contain refrigerants. Refrigerant allows the system to draw heat from your home’s air to make it feel cooler. If your air conditioner is having trouble providing conditioned air for your home, AC repair downriver MI finds that there may be a problem with your system’s refrigerant.

How Refrigerant Works

So, where exactly is the refrigerant and how does it work in your air conditioner? Your AC’s refrigerant travels between the indoor evaporator and the outdoor condensing unit. In the evaporator coils it absorbs heat from the circulating air and in the condenser coils it cools down so it can return to the evaporator coil and continue to condition the air in your home.

Two Common Coolant Problems

Unfortunately, there may be times when you will not have enough refrigerant for the cooling process. Below are the two most common scenarios.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant lines can leak due to metal erosion over time. Leaks start out small, but eventually you’ll feel the impact as your air conditioner struggles to cool your home. When the AC is running, you may hear an unusually loud whistling or hissing sound. In addition, you will experience:


  • Less than optimal cooling performance
  • Higher humidity in the interior
  • An increase in your energy bills

A Broken System

When your system was installed, the contractor may not have followed the manufacturer’s specifications and added too little refrigerant. Incorrect charge or amount of refrigerant can cause problems. Low charge can lead to freezing of the evaporator coil and lukewarm cooling. If the charge is high, the unit could overheat and shut down. A mistake like this is just one reason why it’s important to hire reputable, experienced, and licensed HVAC professionals to take care of your heating and cooling equipment.

Scams with Refrigerants

Some dishonest HVAC technicians will tell you that the refrigerant must be “topped off” as if it were fuel that is consumed during the operation of the air conditioner. If there is no leakage, the refrigerant levels will always be the same. This scam allows these technicians to return to your home over and over again to “top up” your refrigerant and collect your money without actually fixing the problem with your system.


So what you want is for the technician to either tell you there is a leak and then fix it or explain that the system is undercharged and then fill it to the correct level. Some contractors may recommend a temporary solution of adding refrigerant to the leaking pipes, especially if you plan to replace your air conditioner soon, but this would be unwise.

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