Getting to the Basics: Remodeling Projects

The Negative Effects Of Having Too Much Refrigerant In Your Air Conditioning System

by Jill Jenkins

To be able to absorb heat from the air passing through it, an air conditioner's coil needs to have an ample supply of refrigerant. This is one of the main reasons why it is recommended that you replace any refrigerant that is lost after repairing a refrigerant leak.

However, the fact that an air conditioner's refrigerant plays such an important role in the cooling process does not mean that having more of it is better. In fact, the opposite is true. Having too much refrigerant is bad for your air conditioner. Here are some of the negative effects that this can cause.

Increased risks of liquid slugging

Having too much refrigerant in an air conditioning system usually increases the risks of liquid refrigerant entering areas designed to handle refrigerant that is in a gaseous state. This usually leads to complications mainly because of the differences between the properties of the gas and the liquid.

Gases can be compressed. Liquids can't. The rotary vane pumps, scroll spirals, cylinders and pistons of air conditioning systems that are designed to compress the refrigerant while it's in a gaseous state will therefore have a hard time trying to handle the liquid refrigerant. This, a condition commonly referred to as slugging, is sometimes enough to destroy the compressor motors of most air conditioning systems.

Reduced cooling ability

An air conditioner running with an excessive refrigerant amount might still be able to cool a room but it won't be able to do so effectively. This is because having too much of the refrigerant in the system causes an increase in the refrigerant pressure. This has the effect of increasing the boiling temperature of the refrigerant.

What this means is that while the refrigerant will still be able to change from a liquid to a gas, a process that is necessary for the air conditioner to be able to cool air, it will do so at a higher temperature. It will take longer for the refrigerant to evaporate. This means that there will be a reduction in the rate at which the cooling process happens. The air conditioner will therefore have to work longer before it lowers a room's temperature. 

In short, having too much refrigerant in the system will lead to inefficiencies. It is just as bad as, if not worse than, having too little of it. And since an inefficient system not only leads to an uncomfortable home but also causes increased energy costs, making sure that the level of refrigerant in the system is at an optimum is imperative. For more information on your air conditioning system, talk to a company that specializes in air conditioning installation