Summer is almost here, and the weather is already hot enough for most people to start using their air conditioners on a regular basis. If you’re trying to get your air conditioner ready for summer, it’s a good idea to have a professional inspect it to make sure it’s in proper operating condition. We often have people ask us if they need to refill their air conditioning systems’ refrigerant during this time of year. If you’re one of those people, read on to find out more about how your air conditioner uses refrigerant to cool your home.
Refrigerant is not a single fluid, but a general term for a myriad of different heat transfer fluids that all do the same thing. Your air conditioner evaporates refrigerant in a coil inside your home to absorb thermal energy from the air in the ducts. Then, it sends the refrigerant gas down the refrigerant line to the part of the system installed outside your home. The outside unit condenses the refrigerant gas back into liquid in order to vent the heat it’s carrying out of the home. Then, the refrigerant is send back to the inside unit and the process starts all over.
Your air conditioner never actually consumes refrigerant during operation. It simply recycles the fluid between liquid and gaseous states to move heat from inside your home out of your home. As such, the initial charge of refrigerant that your air conditioner is given upon installation should be enough to last its entire life. The only time when this is not true is if your air conditioner develops a leak somewhere in its refrigerant line. If this happens, you need to call for repairs immediately to have the leak patched and the refrigerant level restored.