Refrigerant Undercharge, Operating Pressure And Air Conditioning Costs
Air conditioners usually reuse the refrigerant. As a result, most refrigerant undercharge cases involve refrigerant leaks. It is because of this that homeowners are usually advised to start by finding a leak source before attempting to recharge their air conditioning systems. This is important because simply recharging the system without sealing the leak will still not only expose the environment to the harmful effects of the refrigerant gas, but also leave the system vulnerable the negative effects of having too little refrigerant -- continued leaking will eventually reduce the amount of refrigerant in the system.
Refrigerant operating pressure
Pressure changes are usually necessary to enable an air conditioning system to turn the refrigerant from a liquid to a gas and then back to a liquid. And since this change-of-state process is what is responsible for the cooling powers of air conditioners, having the right pressure in different air conditioning system parts is a must for the system to function properly.
When there is too little refrigerant in the air conditioning system, there is usually a reduction in the operating pressure of the system. High pressure areas end up having a relatively lower pressure than they should, and low pressure areas end up having abnormally low pressure.
At the evaporator coil area, low pressure usually helps to increase the cooling effect of the refrigerant. But when the pressure is abnormally low, the cooling effect that results is usually too much to only cool the passing air. The resultant effect is therefore icing at the coils.
Reduced cooling efficiency
The formation of ice at the evaporator coil will have a negative effect on the cooling efficiency of your air conditioner. This is because the ice will form an insulating layer over the coils. It will reduce the effectiveness of heat exchange, between the refrigerant and the air, something that will cause your air conditioner to take longer to cool your home. And since the unit will have to work harder and longer to make your home comfortable, running the air conditioner will become more expensive.
The need for your air conditioning system to work harder, and longer, in order to cool the same space will also have a negative effect on the lifespan of your system. The unit's ball bearings will wear out faster, the compressor's pistons might break earlier than they should, and its motors will burn out earlier than they should have. All this will lead to premature repair costs that could have been avoided by finding a refrigerant leak, sealing it, and then recharging the system with enough refrigerant to restore it to its normal system operating pressure. Contact a business, such as Elite Heating, Cooling and Plumbing, for more information.