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Too Much Refrigerant in the AC? Yes, It Can Happen—And It’s Bad!

ac-unit-repair-with-technicianA common and major repair problem air conditioning systems run into is leaking refrigerant. Tiny holes along the copper refrigerant lines allow the refrigerant level in the system to drop, and that puts the entire air conditioner in jeopardy. Air conditioning systems are manufactured to run a specific charge (amount) of refrigerant. If that drops, it will not only lower cooling capacity, it will eventually inflict irreparable damage to the components, concluding with a burnt-out compressor.

There’s an opposite to the problem of the undercharged air conditioner with refrigerant leaks. It’s the overcharged air conditioner. The refrigerant level cannot be more than the unit’s specified charge, because that puts the system in danger as well.

How Does an AC Get Too Much Refrigerant?

It’s easy to understand losing refrigerant to leaks. But where is excess refrigerant coming from? Sneaking into the yard and getting into the condenser?

Nothing so weird. The source is simple: amateurs tampering with air conditioning installations or repairs.

First, installation. Only licensed professionals can install a central air conditioner, and one of the reasons is refrigerant. When a new system is installed, the installers must charge up the air conditioner with the proper refrigerant. (The AC doesn’t come from the factory with refrigerant in it.) An amateur can easily put in too much. In fact, they often do because they aren’t aware of the consequences of this. They think they need to “top off” the refrigerant as if it were gas—which it’s not.

Second, amateur repairs for leaking refrigerant often end up with too much refrigerant getting put into the AC to replace what was lost. We have seen this problem often as a result of an amateur trying to fix an AC. Something to keep in mind is that it’s illegal for non-licensed professionals to handle or dispose of refrigerant.

The Consequences of an Overcharged Air Conditioner

What can go wrong for an air conditioner that has more AC than it supposed to?

One major problem is that when there’s too much refrigerant, it won’t be able to properly switch between gaseous and liquid state, and more of it will remain in liquid state. This will harm the system’s efficiency and affect cooling in the house. This also increases the pressure inside the air conditioner, and that forces the compressor to work even harder. Not only will this increase the costs to run it, it puts the compressor in danger of burning out.

But the biggest problem of all is that liquid refrigerant will enter the compressor. This is never supposed to happen, and it will rapidly lead to the compressor burning out as the refrigerant mixes with the oil. A failed compressor is usually the end of the AC as a whole—it’s more cost-effective to replace the system.

This is a plea for you to always rely on professionals for your AC repair in Katy, TX as well as any AC installation. If you have reasons to believe your air conditioner is overcharged, call us right away. If your air conditioner has too much refrigerant, we’ll fix it!

At AC Comfort, Your Comfort Is Our Business! Leave your AC repairs to us and we’ll see they’re done right the first time.

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