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Serving the South Puget Sound and Western Washington Areas Since 1976

Serving the South Puget Sound and Southwest Washington Areas Since 1976

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Sunset Air Blog

Don’t Neglect Refrigerant Leaks!


It would be easy to say that modern homeowners live luxuriously. At least, when we’re speaking about our expectations of home comfort. The potential issue with this, however, is a luxury is often taken for granted.

Take the comfort offered to you by an air conditioner, for example. If one day your air conditioner just up and quit on you, you’d likely be surprised … and annoyed. The fact is, air conditioners aren’t just a luxury. They’re a necessity when temperatures reach their highest. And when you have any problem with yours, it should absolutely be a concern.

Do You Know the Signs of an Impending AC Problem?

Of course, we don’t want you to wait until your air conditioner completely shuts down on you for you to know something is wrong. We’d rather you learn to recognize the warning signs that problems are forming.

What sort of problems?

Well, there are a number. But today, we’re going to talk about one specific issue—refrigerant leaks. Keep reading to learn more!

Understanding the Refrigerant Process

In order to understand why refrigerant leaks are such bad news, you have to first understand how refrigerant functions. Your AC system doesn’t generate “coolness” in the way your heater generates heat (by combusting fuel or using electrical resistance).

When you feel cool air flowing through your vents, you’re feeling the absence of heat. It’s the refrigerant cycle that enables heat to be removed from the air.

The indoor unit of your AC houses the evaporator coil. This is where refrigerant, fittingly enough, evaporates in your system. As this occurs, it draws heat out of the air. This cooled air is redistributed throughout your home, while the warmed refrigerant is sent to the outdoor unit. In the condenser, refrigerant is condensed and releases its heat, which is dispersed outside with the aid of the fans of the outdoor unit.

The Problem with Low Refrigerant

So as you can imagine from what you learned above, low refrigerant seriously impedes the overall cooling capacity of your air conditioning system. Cooling systems are designed to work with a specific refrigerant level—called its charge. A low refrigerant charge is never a normal thing.

After all, refrigerant isn’t something that is consumed like a fuel, but rather recycled throughout the system over and over again in a closed loop. So, if your AC has a low refrigerant charge, it could mean it wasn’t properly installed to begin with (or there was a system problem upon installation). But it most likely means you have a leak.

In either case, you’ll need a professional to address the issue—fixing the leak and recharging the refrigerant as needed. Too little refrigerant puts too much strain on the system, reducing its energy efficiency and potentially causing ice to develop on the coil, which leads to further problems.

If you notice any irregularities with your system related to refrigerant or not, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.

Contact Sunset Air for professional service on your air conditioning in Puyallup, WA.

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