If you have an air conditioner, then there is a good chance a friend or acquaintance has, at some point, asked you about having that air conditioner "charged." Perhaps this has left you wondering if you need to call an HVAC contractor and arrange for this service. You might, but you also might not. There's a lot of misinformation floating around about what charging an air conditioner really means and when this needs to be done. Keep reading for some important insight.
Charging means filling up the refrigerant coil.
When someone talks about "charging" an air conditioner, they are usually referring to the process of refilling the refrigerant coil. This is pretty casual language. You won't usually hear an HVAC contractor refer to the process as charging. They will instead say that they need to add coolant or refrigerant to your coil.
Air conditioners do not need regular charging.
Your air conditioner's coolant coil is a closed system. When everything is functioning as it should, the coil should not be using, burning, or losing any coolant. So, charging an air conditioner is not a part of regular AC maintenance. It is only something that needs to be done if your air conditioner springs a coolant leak. This does happen from time to time. When it does, an AC contractor can repair the coil to stop the leak. Then, they will fill the coil up to the proper coolant level.
If you have a coolant leak, you'll usually know.
A coolant leak won't go on for long without you knowing about it. For one thing, the coolant in air conditioners is colored, so you'll see pink or green fluid under your AC if you do have a coolant leak. When coolant levels are low, your AC unit will likely also freeze over or develop ice buildup on its surface. Plus, your home won't cool well. It may not reach the temperature on the thermostat, or the AC may have to run for a really long time to cool your home down. If you notice any of these signs, then your AC may, indeed, need to be charged. Otherwise, this is not a service you need to worry about.
As a homeowner, it is always a good idea to know the basics about your home's systems and appliances, including the air conditioner. Now, you know the basics about charging an AC and what this repair really involves.
For more info about AC repair, contact a local company.