The refrigerant is one of the most critical components of your air conditioning unit. It is essential for heat exchange, which accounts for cooling. Low refrigerant is a common albeit serious problem. It requires an immediate fix by a professional. Hence it is essential to detect when it happens quickly as possible.
Several signs suggest that your air conditioner refrigerant level is low. For example, frozen cooling tubes, damaged compressor, the inability of the unit to cool, increased electricity bills, etc. If an AC is left working on low refrigerant, it develops several severe issues over time. Here are the most common effects of low refrigerant on your AC.
A damaged or failed compressor
One of the primary uses of the refrigerant is to keep the motor cool. Over time, a motor gets heated while in continuous use. The refrigerant flows through the tubes to keep the compressor unit cool. When the coolant level is low, the motor gets overheated, which leads to compressor failure.
It usually takes some time for a low refrigerant to cause the compressor to burn out. However, repairing the compressor is quite expensive but essential for the AC to function. Therefore, you must avoid the situation by asking a professional to fix the issue of a low refrigerant.
The inability of the unit to cool
Low refrigerant heavily impairs the ability of the AC to cool. The refrigerant is responsible for the heat exchange. It absorbs hot air from indoors and releases it outdoors. Thus decreasing the temperature in the room. However, when the air conditioner refrigerant level is low, the ability of the unit to absorb heat via indoor coils drops drastically. This leads to a drop in the ability of the unit to cool.
Increased electricity bills
It comes as a shock, but low refrigerant certainly increases your electricity bill. It is not too difficult to understand, though. When the level of coolant drops, the AC finds it hard to decrease the temperature to the desired level. Hence the air conditioner takes much more time to cool a place than it usually does. This leads to increased bills.
This is inevitable as the primary job of the refrigerant is to carry out heat exchange. When the refrigerant level drops, the AC becomes less efficient to blow cold air. Under the circumstances, when there is a significant drop in the refrigerant level, the compressor fails, and the unit starts to blow out slightly warm air.
Rise in humidity
A well functioning air conditioner helps to decrease the humidity level of a room. When there is a drop in the refrigerant level, the humidity increases. It happens because when warm air passes through the coolant in the evaporator coil, it condenses.
When it melts, it is stored in a tray and released out of the room via a pipe. The low air conditioner refrigerant level impairs the ability of the unit to absorb the moisture leading to a rise in humidity.
When the evaporator coil is covered in ice, it is mainly due to a low refrigerant level. When the coolant leaks, the evaporator coil does not warm up sufficiently. This leads to moisture condensing on the coil in the form of ice.
If detected early, low refrigerant does not cause much harm to the AC. However, if left untreated, it may lead to a complete breakdown of the air conditioning unit. In case of a refrigerant leak, immediate professional help is required.