refrigerant charge

The amount of refrigerant in an HVAC system, known as the refrigerant "charge", critically impacts performance and longevity. So ensuring proper charge via annual check-ups and maintenance is key.


The amount of refrigerant in an HVAC system, known as the refrigerant “charge”, critically impacts performance and longevity. So ensuring proper charge via annual check-ups and maintenance is key.

What Refrigerant Does

Refrigerant is a coolant that carries heat from the air inside a home to the outside coil of an HVAC unit. As the refrigerant circulates through the system’s compressor, condenser and evaporator coils, it changes state from gas to liquid and back – absorbing and releasing heat in the process to provide cooling.

Why Charge Levels Are Critical

The exact amount of refrigerant needed depends on the size and features of an AC system. But in general, the proper refrigerant charge is:

  • Enough to absorb all the heat from indoor air
  • Without forming bubbles in liquid lines

Too little refrigerant reduces the system’s ability to absorb heat, decreasing cooling output and efficiency. Too much refrigerant can cause compressor damage from liquid flooding.

Signs of Improper Charge

Signs an HVAC system may have a low or high refrigerant charge include:

  • Extended run times
  • Inability to reach temperature setpoint
  • Noisy operation
  • Frost or ice buildup
  • Insufficient air output

Checking the Charge Level

During annual maintenance, HVAC technicians check refrigerant levels using gauges that measure pressures in the high and low sides of the system. They also look for signs of leaks that indicate refrigerant loss over time.

Any necessary adjustments or leak repairs are then made to ensure refrigerant levels fall within the manufacturer’s specified range for optimal performance and longevity.

In summary, because the amount of refrigerant in an HVAC system directly impacts its ability to provide proper cooling and dehumidification, ensuring the charge level remains within manufacturer specifications through routine check-ups and timely maintenance can prolong system life while maintaining comfort.

For further details regarding maintenance contact Dr Clean Air. Book a session today.

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