Tag Archives: Refrigerant leak

Understanding the Signs of Low Refrigerant

low refrigerantLow refrigerant in your central air conditioner may begin with an assortment of initially insignificant symptoms.

As the refrigerant charge drops, however, these minor issues can turn into major dysfunction, eventually shutting down the system completely. Refrigerant absorbs heat from the airflow inside your house at the system evaporator coil, then conveys it to the outside condenser coil where it’s released into the air. The level of circulating refrigerant is a very precise specification.

If it declines below that amount, you may note any of the following signs:

  • Cooling shortfalls. When the refrigerant charge drops, the air conditioner can’t extract enough heat to keep the house cool. The unit will run increasingly longer cycles to meet thermostat settings, eventually running non-stop.
  • Higher costs. Extended A/C cycles mean increased electricity consumption, which typically shows up in higher monthly bills. If other causes are ruled out, an air conditioner running too many hours per day due to low refrigerant may be the reason.
  • Increasing humidity. Humidity extraction is an important part of the A/C cooling process. As the refrigerant charge drops, the evaporator coil doesn’t condense water vapor effectively and indoor humidity rises. The comfort level in the house, meanwhile, declines as moist air doesn’t cool as efficiently.
  • Coil ice. When refrigerant is low, it can’t absorb sufficient heat to keep the evaporator coil temperature above freezing. Ice begins to form as condensation freezes, eventually completely blocking system airflow through the coil passageway. This may cause severe compressor damage and/or trigger an automatic safety switch that shuts down the air conditioner.

What To Do

Contact a qualified HVAC contractor to check the refrigerant charge. If it’s low, the culprit is usually a small leak somewhere. The service technician has the special tools to locate the leak and the expertise to make a permanent repair. After the leak is resolved, the refrigerant level can be restored to manufacturer’s specs and full cooling performance and efficiency returned to normal.

Are you seeing any suspicious signs of low refrigerant? Contact the professionals at Powers Heating & Air for prompt diagnosis and repair.

Does Your A/C Still Use R-22? Reasons Why an Upgrade Is in Order

Does Your A/C Still Use R-22? Reasons Why an Upgrade Is in OrderIf your A/C still uses R-22, you’re going to be really upset at the price of a refrigerant top off service. As the federal government has been phasing out R-22 due to the Montreal Protocol International Environmental Agreement, prices of the gas have skyrocketed and they’re only going to go higher. Currently, production of R-22 has been slashed to 25% of the established national baseline cap and next year it will be cut another 15%.

To avoid paying those exorbitant prices for adding R-22, there are two options available – perform a leak check to find the leak and repair it and add a locking refrigerant cap to the system to deter tampering with the unit or a full air conditioner replacement. Here are the benefits of each:

Leak Check

An A/C technican can perform a full system leak check on your unit and repair or replace the specific leaking component.   This can be costly and there is no guarantee that another leak will not ensue as the equipment age of most R22 units will be close to generally accepted life expectancy by around 2016-2019.  Additionally most reputable contractors are installing locking valve caps to ensure that there is no unlawful tampering with your refrigerant system including huffing and stealing of R22.

This can be an expensive process if the leak is hard to find or if it is a major leak and may ultimately require the replacement of at least one component anyway.

Full A/C Replacement

Most older A/C units are less than half as efficient as the newer models on the market. The initial cost to replace will be more expensive than a  R-22 leak search, leak repair, and R-22 addition; however, a new unit will be EPA compliant, saving you the inconvenience of the rising cost and ultimate scarcity of R-22 as well as the added benefit of having a new system with an extended warranty for the near future.

If you want a professional opinion on the best upgrade to your current Peachtree City home A/C that still uses R-22, contact the experts at Powers Heating & Air.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “ducu59us/Shutterstock”

Air Conditioners and Their Most Common Problems: What to Look For

Air Conditioners and Their Most Common Problems: What to Look ForDo you suspect that the air conditioner in your Georgia home isn’t operating as well as it should? With the hot summer weather quickly approaching, you’ll want to make sure that your air conditioner is operating at its peak efficiency. A checklist of common problems can help you find the problem.

If your air conditioner isn’t working correctly, the first thing you’ll want to check for is user error; be sure that everyone in your family knows how to properly set the thermostat, and ensure that all the windows and doors are closed whenever the unit is running.

If you’re still experiencing less than optimal cooling from your A/C system, your certified HVAC technician can run diagnostic checks to ensure that everything is running properly and smoothly. The problem can usually be traced back to a few specific sources.

Air conditioner troubleshooting

Refrigerant leak – Your HVAC technician can test the system, repair any leaks and be sure that the proper amount of refrigerant is added. An undercharged or overcharged system can have a big impact on your unit’s efficiency.

Check the filters – The filters in your HVAC system should be inspected monthly; dirty filters impact the efficiency of your system and can also cause long-term damage. Upon inspection, if the filter looks dirty, change it. Find an air filter with an efficiency rating high enough to remove a large percentage of particulates from the air without impeding system airflow.

Electrical problems – The electrical controls for your fan and compressor can wear out over time. Additionally, if humidity and moisture are problems in your home, you should check to ensure your electrical connections aren’t corroded.

Thermostat – Make sure your thermostat has been properly calibrated and is functioning correctly. Upgrading your thermostat to a new programmable model can increase the efficiency of your air conditioner.

Regular maintenance is the key to keeping your A/C running at peak levels. For best results, have your system inspected and serviced annually to protect your investment. If you have any questions about your air conditioner’s performance, or to schedule a service call, please contact us at Powers Heating and Air, proudly serving Peachtree City and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Image courtesy of Shutterstock