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When Should I Refill the Refrigerant in My Air Conditioner?

The quick answer to this question: You will never need to refill the refrigerant in your air conditioning system.

It isn’t that an air conditioner won’t need to have more refrigerant (a.k.a. “Freon”) put into it, but a) it’s a repair issue, not a routine maintenance job; and b) even when it does need to be done, you won’t be the person doing it—it’s a task for professionals only.

What refrigerant does in your air conditioning

To explain why an AC doesn’t require regular infusions of additional refrigerant, it’s important to understand what refrigerant actually does. It’s a heat transference fluid that allows the AC to move heat from one location to another. It isn’t a form of fuel for the system that is consumed as the air conditioner runs. If there are no malfunctions in the air conditioner, it should keep the same amount of refrigerant (known as its charge) for its whole system life. The refrigerant will continue its cycle of evaporating and condensing, never dissipating in the process.

The reason an AC may need more refrigerant

Air conditioners send refrigerant through copper pipes, and copper pipes are susceptible to a kind of corrosion called pitting corrosion. This will lead to the refrigerant escaping and lowering its charge. When this happens, you may hear a hissing sound from the cabinet, followed by a drop in cooling power from the AC. Eventually, ice will start to form across the evaporator coil.

If you see these warning signs of refrigerant leaks, call for repair professionals immediately. They will take care of the vital job of sealing the leaks and then recharging the refrigerant. Only professionals are licensed to handle refrigerant, and they’ll know the exact amount to put in. (An AC with too much refrigerant will be in as much trouble as one with too little.)

For excellent air conditioning repair service in Arlington, VA and throughout Northern Virginia, call on Oasis Heating, A/C & Refrigeration.

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