More is not always better. Too much of anything could be just as bad – or worse – as too little. This is the problem that arises when cooling systems are overcharged. The requirement to process excessive refrigerant can quickly lead to damaged air conditioning units, especially if this situation recurs or is never corrected. Overcharging your air conditioner does not only hurt the unit, but it can pose other dangers as well. By simply relying on a trained professional, you can avoid many problems while prolonging the lifespan of the equipment. This article discusses some of the common signs of an overcharged AC unit.
A Note About Refrigerant
Table of Contents
- 1 Common Signs of an Overcharged Air Conditioner
- 1.1 Soaring Energy Bills
- 1.2 Elevated Heat Discharge
- 1.3 Frozen Air Conditioning Coils
- 1.4 Noisy Air Conditioner Compressor
- 1.5 Sudden Cooling System Shutdown
- 1.6 Uneven Air Conditioner Pressure Levels
- 1.7 How an Air Conditioner Gets Excessive Refrigerant
- 1.8 Consequences of an Overcharged Air Conditioning Unit
- 1.9 What To Do if You Suspect Your Air Conditioner is Overcharged
- 1.10 A Final Word
- 2 Call Skylands Energy Service For Your Air Conditioning Requirements
Refrigerant is the lifeblood of any cooling system. It carries heat out of the home and lowers the temperature inside with each cycle. It may be tempting to add more refrigerant with the expectation of faster cooling, but the execution is not as simple as the idea sounds. If the amount of refrigerant exceeds what the air conditioning unit is designed to handle, problems begin to arise.
It is important to note that only a certified, reputable, and experienced HVAC technician should handle refrigerant, as it is an extremely dangerous substance. However, amateur technicians can and do make mistakes when they are charging refrigerant in an air conditioning system. It is crucial for homeowners to know what to look for in case this happens to them.
Related Article: Why Is My Air Conditioner Running In Short Bursts?
Common Signs of an Overcharged Air Conditioner
Keep reading to explore some common signs of an overcharged air conditioner.
Soaring Energy Bills
After a few months of life with an air conditioner, you grow accustomed to the impact it has on your energy bill. The bill may fluctuate from time to time based on a number of factors, but the change usually is not drastic. However, if your energy bill suddenly jumps much higher, then this is a red flag that something may be wrong with the air conditioner. If this happens following a service call in which the cooling system was worked on, there has a high probability that the bill increase is directly related to your AC. You should consider the possibility that your unit was overcharged.
Elevated Heat Discharge
Part of HVAC ownership is routine maintenance of the unit itself and the area that surrounds it, such as trimming any foliage that grows around the outdoor unit to promote positive airflow. When you perform these tasks, take the opportunity to check on the equipment itself. It is normal for cooling systems to expel hot air, but if the air feels hotter than usual or burns to the touch, this is a sign of an overworked system. Systems become overworked due to factors that include dirty air filters, clogged blowers, and excessive refrigerant.
Related Article: 5 Most Common Thermostat Problems Impacting Your Comfort
Frozen Air Conditioning Coils
Sometimes air conditioners get so cold that the coils will literally freeze up. If this happens, you will need to contact an expert to investigate and determine what to do next. Untrained individuals may have trouble figuring out the next step in this situation because freezing coils can occur from having too much or too little refrigerant.
Noisy Air Conditioner Compressor
The compressors within air conditioners are known to be noisy. Over time, people typically get used to the sounds of their air conditioners switching on and off, as well as the steady hum that is produced when it is in operation. The important thing to notice is if your air conditioner suddenly starts making odd noises, such as squealing loudly. This may be caused by a system that is having trouble dealing with the abundance of high-pressure liquid refrigerant.
Related Article: How to Choose an Air Filter When You Have a Pet
Sudden Cooling System Shutdown
Engineers anticipate dangers to the cooling system when designing equipment. To combat this, they include safety switches that, when necessary, will trigger a sudden system shutdown in order to prevent damage. If your system senses excessive refrigerant, the unit may recognize that it can cause harm to the air conditioner. Therefore, it may initiate a system shutdown. If your unit suddenly shuts itself down, it may be beneficial to check with an HVAC technician before turning it back on.
Uneven Air Conditioner Pressure Levels
Too much refrigerant can lead to uneven pressure levels around the air conditioning unit. If you know how to conduct these measurements, this is one of the most surefire ways to identify an issue with refrigerant. If you are unsure how to do this but suspect an issue with the refrigerant, an HVAC technician can quickly perform an inspection for you.
Related Article: How To Keep Your House Cool Naturally
How an Air Conditioner Gets Excessive Refrigerant
Inadequate refrigerant seems easier to explain. It can be caused by coolant leaks that slowly drain the substance, high humidity, or simply by using it up over time. On the other hand, it is more difficult to identify the culprit when you have a unit that has too much refrigerant. Some things to consider include:
- Incorrect Air Conditioner Installation – It is possible that this problem started at the very beginning, especially if you recently got a new air conditioner and the problem immediately sprang up. When installing a new system, only rely on reputed professionals. Their work will determine the performance, efficiency, and longevity of your HVAC equipment.
- Amateur Air Conditioner Repairs – Some homeowners call on amateurs for repairs in the hopes of saving a few bucks. The downside to this is that the results can be less than desirable. Amateurs are more prone to making mistakes, such as overcharging the system. Remember that refrigerant handling should only be carried out by those that are certified to do so.
Related Article: Top 6 Benefits Of Getting An Annual Air Conditioner Tune-Up
Consequences of an Overcharged Air Conditioning Unit
- Poor Performance and Efficiency: If your cooling system is overcharged, you will not be happy with the equipment’s performance. It will be lacing in its ability to cool the air inside, or it may fail to do so altogether. The unit will struggle to convert all the refrigerant from gas to liquid, and from liquid back to gas. Efficiency will plummet until this is corrected.
- Faulty Valves and Connecting Rods: Excess refrigerant can escape and make its way into the compressor’s cylinders while it is in a liquid state. This will lead to damaged valves because they are not equipped to come in contact with liquid refrigerant. The connecting rods can also become faulty due to this occurrence.
- Compressor Motor Burnout: Refrigerant in a liquid state can also leak into the crankcase and mix with the oil. If this happens, the pressure within the crankcase will skyrocket. The compressor motor will be stressed and unfortunately, it can only handle the stress for so long. Eventually, the motor will burn out and become completely inoperable. If your motor burns out, you have no choice other than to return to the store to purchase a brand-new unit.
What To Do if You Suspect Your Air Conditioner is Overcharged
An air conditioner that is overcharged with refrigerant can be dangerous and disastrous. If you suspect that your air conditioner is overcharged, you should shut it down immediately and call an experienced HVAC technician to investigate. A certified professional will know how to check the unit, calculate the right refrigerant level for the unit, and safely perform the correction. They can also diagnose and correct damages to any other areas that result due to excessive refrigerant.
Related Article: Why Is HVAC Airflow So Important For My Home?
A Final Word
Shortcuts in the installation, repair, or maintenance of an air conditioner are never worthwhile. Saving money in the short term can quickly lead to higher bills down the road. Skip the headache and rely on professional, certified technicians for all of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system needs.
Related Article: How Does My AC Remove Humidity In My House?
Call Skylands Energy Service For Your Air Conditioning Requirements
For top-notch heating and cooling services in Central New Jersey, turn to Skylands Energy Service. We only employ certified technicians who are highly skilled in HVAC tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. Our team has the expertise to service your HVAC system efficiently and effectively.
At Skylands Energy Service, we pride ourselves on offering the area’s most competitive heating and cooling service costs. Our maintenance services can enhance comfort levels, boost energy efficiency, and reduce home cooling expenses. Whether you require an HVAC repair or replacement system, we can provide recommendations that suit your needs and budget. We take pride in our work which comes with a satisfaction guarantee. Contact Skylands Energy Service today to schedule an air conditioner tune-up or service appointment. We also offer free in-home estimates.