Keeping Your AC System Cleaner

4 Things That Can Go Wrong With Your Air Conditioning Refrigerant

by Yolanda White

Refrigerant is essential for your air conditioner to work properly. Your AC will run and blow air without refrigerant, but the air coming out of the ducts won't be cold. Here are four things that can go wrong with the refrigerant system in your air conditioner.

1. Dust Buildup Insulates the Refrigerant Coils

A common cause of AC trouble is when the inside of the air handler is so dusty that dust coats the refrigerant coils. The coils are normally damp due to condensation, and when the dust mixes with the water, a grimy layer forms on the coils.

The layer of dirt acts as insulation that separates the cold refrigerant from the air blowing over it. The result is an AC that runs but doesn't blow chilly air. You can prevent this problem from happening by having your AC cleaned every year by an air conditioning service.

However, once the coils are coated, you'll need to call an AC service to get your AC working again, and all that may be needed is to clean off the coils.

2. A Refrigerant Coil Develops a Leak

Refrigerant should stay at a constant level in your AC. It isn't supposed to run out, so if the level drops, something is wrong. If the amount of refrigerant keeps falling, the performance of your AC continues to decline until repairs are done.

The AC technician might be able to track down the leaky area and repair it. However, a more serious outcome would be the need to replace the coils, and that is a more expensive repair. Filling the refrigerant adds to the cost too.

3. The Condenser Fan Stops Cooling the Coils

There are several parts in your air conditioner that work together to maintain the flow of refrigerant and keep your AC working. One of those parts is the fan in the condenser. It blows hot air away from the coils so the refrigerant can cool down enough to flow back inside and pull more heat out of the air.

When something goes wrong with the fan, your air conditioner may stop cooling down your house. The fan might develop problems or the motor that controls the fan could go bad. A repair technician has to figure out the cause of the malfunction, and then they can repair or replace parts to get the fan working so it can keep the refrigerant cool.

4. The Expansion Valve Goes Bad

The expansion valve is a part that helps regulate pressure in the refrigeration system so the refrigerant can change from a liquid to gas. The refrigerant changes states as it circulates from the air handler to the condenser, and if the expansion valve isn't working, the refrigerant won't be able to do its job as well.

This could cause your AC to blow warmer air, and your unit might even freeze over. The expansion valve is an important part of the refrigeration system, and it should last a long time. However, if it is damaged or goes bad, an air conditioning repair service can replace it so your AC blows cold air again.

For more information on air conditioning services, contact a local HVAC technician.