In order to provide effective and efficient cooling, your air conditioner system must maintain an appropriate charge of refrigerant. Many people understand the threat of an undercharged system — a problem that often stems from a refrigerant leak. Undercharging will decrease cooling efficiency, while causing your system to run for much longer periods of time.
Yet what few people realize is that an overcharged system — one with too much refrigerant — can lead to serious problems as well. If you would like to improve your knowledge of air conditioner troubleshooting, read on. This article will discuss four signs that you may be dealing with an overcharged air conditioning system.
1. Higher Cost of Operation
An overcharged air conditioner system costs more money to operate, by decreasing overall efficiency. At first this may seem contradictory. After all, many people figure, doesn't more refrigerant mean more cooling power? What you have to consider, however, is the effect that extra refrigerant will have on the way your system operates.
Simply put, every air conditioner has been designed to accommodate an ideal amount of refrigerant, and will not work when levels exceed that limit. In order to absorb heat, the refrigerant must be in a gaseous state. Yet excessive levels mean that part of the refrigerant will always remain a liquid. As a result, the efficiency of the system will plunge.
Overcharging also increases the cost of operation by driving up the amount of energy your compressor uses. The higher pressure of an overcharged system makes it harder for the compressor to do its job. As a result, the compressor's ampere consumption rises.
2. Sticky Indoor Air
An overcharged air conditioner may end up affecting your indoor air quality in terms of humidity as well. The refrigerant that flows to the evaporator coil inside your home should be in it gaseous form. Yet, as noted above, an overcharged system means much of the refrigerant will remain in a liquid form.
Liquid refrigerant simply doesn't have the same ability to absorb heat. As a result, your evaporator coil will remain at a higher temperature than it should. As a result, water vapor in your home's air will fail to condense around the evaporator coils. This kind of dehumidification represents one of the most important secondary functions of an air conditioning system.
Instead, that water vapor will remain suspended in the air of your home, making it feel much muggier and stickier than usual.
3. Excessive Condenser Heat
The condenser unit located in your yard works to get rid of the heat absorbed by the refrigerant as it passes through your home. In other words, all condenser units give off heat. Yet overcharging will greatly increase the temperature of the air being pushed out of your condenser unit. This should be easy to notice when holding your hand above the top of the condenser.
This heat stems from the higher operating temperatures of the refrigerant itself. A portion of it also comes from the overworked compressor motor inside of your condensing unit. Eventually such heat can cause your compressor motor to overheat and burn out entirely.
4. Non-Functioning Air Conditioner
If left untreated, an overcharged system will eventually cause your air conditioner to cease working altogether. As noted above, this may be the result of the compressor motor burning out. Likewise, it may stem from other sensitive components becoming overheated and/or overworked.
A professional can easily diagnose an overcharged air conditioning system by measure the pressure of the refrigerant. If necessary, they will then bleed out refrigerant until the optimal charge has been reached. For more information on how to keep your AC running at peak capacity, please contact the cooling pros at Heatcraft Heating & Cooling.