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Does Your AC Need a Refrigerant Refill? Probably Not!


If you ever hear a so-called “HVAC technician” tell you that it’s time to give your air conditioner a refrigerant refill, run the other direction as fast as you can! This technician either has no idea what they’re talking about or they’re trying to pull a fast one on you.

Unfortunately, people are often confused about how refrigerant in an air conditioning system works. They often assume that refrigerant is a type of fuel and the AC will eventually run low on it. Like an automobile, it needs to have more fuel put in to keep it going.

This isn’t how refrigerant works at all. An AC may at some point require more refrigerant, but this is a repair, not a regular task. We’ll explain below to help you understand when you may need more refrigerant, and why most of the time you won’t.

Refrigerant is not a fuel source

What powers your air conditioner? If you answered “electricity,” you’re right. The refrigerant moving through the air conditioner isn’t what powers it, and the air conditioner does not use it up. The job of refrigerant is heat exchange, which is how the AC moves heat from inside a house and releases it outside. Refrigerant is a blend of chemicals that can easily change between liquid and gaseous states. As it shifts between these states by evaporating and condensing, it absorbs heat in one place and releases it in another. During this process, none of the refrigerant dissipates. It should remain at its original level (known as the air conditioner’s charge) for the lifecycle of the AC.

Too much refrigerant is bad news

Adding refrigerant to an air conditioner that already has its correct factory-set charge will damage the system. An overcharged air conditioner will increase pressure in the system and threaten the compressor with a breakdown due to “back slugging” (when the liquid refrigerant flows the wrong direction into the compressor). This is the danger that an amateur may pose to your AC if they try to “top-off” the refrigerant.

Refrigerant can be lost to leaks

When will you need refrigerant added to the AC? If the air conditioner begins to leak. Small holes along the copper refrigerant lines will allow the refrigerant to escape and lower the system’s charge. This is also extremely damaging to the AC and will eventually make the compressor overheat. If you notice a decline in your AC’s performance or notice ice along the indoor coil, call immediately for air conditioning repair in Akron, OH. Expert technicians will be able to locate the refrigerant leaks, seal them, and then restore the amount of refrigerant that was lost so the system has its correct charge restored. This is a basic repair for our professionals, but it’s an essential one–please don’t delay calling us for assistance, or you may end up with an air conditioner that needs to be replaced rather than repaired.

We have NATE and EPA-certified technicians to handle repairs. Note that only certified technicians are permitted to work with refrigerant.

Call Crown Group Ohio when you need air conditioning repairs. Comfort Experts since 1963.

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