If small beads of sweat are running down your face despite the air conditioner operating at its maximum power then your A/C system may be running low on refrigerant. Tiny amounts of refrigerant leaks from the lines over time and can lead to reduced performance of an air conditioning system. However the solution is really simple – put more of the refrigerant back into the system.
There are several technicalities involved that make this task harder and hence it should not be attempted by an inexperienced person in order to save some money.
For example, the refrigerant should be added in the right proportion as adding it in excess can prove to be expensive and create additional problems with the air conditioning system. When the process is done, you will once again have icy cold air running through the vents of your air conditioning system and those sweat beads shall not appear until the next recharge is required.
How air conditioners work?
There are three main parts of an air conditioning system; a condenser, a compressor and an evaporator. In simple terms the evaporator and condenser are two radiators that are connected in a loop.
Between them on one of the two sides a compressor is situated, which takes a low pressure gaseous working fluid, compresses it and sends it to the condenser where the heat is dissipated to the outside.
The liquid refrigerant then travels to the evaporator after the condenser where it expands, removes heat and cools the evaporator. The evaporator is located inside the passenger compartment. The fan directs air over the evaporator which cools it and then sends it out into the vents of the car.
During this process, the working fluid becomes both very hot and very cold and this makes it necessary to keep moisture out of the system.
Moisture in the system can lead to formation of ice in the compressor which can cause damage to it.
Detection of Leaks
An air conditioning service engineer is equipped with the knowledge required to detect and repair refrigerant leaks. Such units that are suffering from leaks will tend to cool for a few hours and then stop working. Many people do not realise that there is a leak in the system as air is still coming out of the vents but it is not cold air.
Another sign of the air conditioning system not working properly is the freezing of refrigerant coils. A unit that is low in refrigerant operates below freezing and leads to formation of ice. In such a situation the ice that is built up can also block the airflow which can increase the repair costs drastically.
Harmful to environment
Refrigerant leaks are known to be harmful to the environment as well. The refrigerant fluid is harmful to animals, plants and people. In recent times the fluid technology has been improved as the fluid manufactured many years back was bad for the ozone layer and hence they were made more environmentally friendly.
Since air conditioning is a closed loop system, refrigerant should be added only when leaks have been detected, the cooling is ineffective or an expert engineer has made a suggestion to recharge the system.
When the air conditioning system is low on fluid, efficiency of the system is affected. The fluid needs to be recharged when the air conditioning unit is running on low charge. The charge of an air conditioning unit should be checked periodically by In Town Automotive.
Why Manual Recharge should not be done?
Before the refrigerant fluid is recharged in the system the existing fluid should be evacuated from the system. Adding refrigerant on top of current levels is similar to adding new oil on top of old oil. Topping off fluids is a dangerous practice as it does not solve the problem entirely and can often result in bigger problems.
- Entry for contaminants
When a system is experiencing leaks it also becomes a gateway for contaminants to enter the system. Contaminants such as dust, dirt and grime can enter the air conditioning system and build up as a residue which plugs up the hoses and pumps that are necessary to keep the car cool. Water in the system aggravates residue formation.
Manual recharge kits leave behind some water in the lines. Water can chemically combine with the recharge fluid which can result in the formation of a corrosive liquid that can lead to deterioration of parts, corrosion of metal and fill the system with sludge.
- Mixing Refrigerants
There are many types of refrigerant and they have varying proportions of chemicals. Hence an inexperienced person will not be certain about which refrigerant is currently in use in the system and which one is being added. Mixing refrigerants can result in dangerous chemical interactions. This mixture of refrigerant can cause damage to many parts of the air conditioner such as the compressor.
- Other Problems
Manual recharge kits come with a stop leak sealer which can also stop the hoses, compressor and pumps along with the leak. While they may temporarily plug leaks, such kits should be avoided as they can create bigger problems due to their interference with system components.
DIY kits cover up the symptoms only temporarily and do not solve the problem entirely. Bigger problems can occur when water and contaminants get into the system, refrigerant leaks out into the environment and leaks are not repaired. These issues can increase the cost of repairs and it is a job which should be handled by professionals.
Leave it to the experts
Servicing and maintenance of an air conditioning systemis complicated and an inexperienced person handling such a responsibility can create further problems.
Contact the experts today and get your air conditioning in tip-top shape for summer for only £39.95.