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The Refrigerant Misconception You Don’t Want to Believe

Most air conditioners use refrigerant to cool your home. With temperatures dropping, you may not be thinking much about your AC’s cooling function, but it’s still important, even in fall and winter. Some homeowners think they know what refrigerant is and how it works. Others know that their AC has refrigerant, but don’t know its function inside the AC unit. 

Cooling your home is only possible because of refrigerant in your HVAC unit. Your AC unit functions differently when you switch from cooling to heating, but refrigerant is the key to cooling. Many people believe that refrigerant runs out over time and has to be replaced, but this isn’t true. Your AC unit is installed with a lifetime supply of refrigerant. 

The next time you need air conditioning repair in Hinsdale, IL, trust our team of professionals to help you. If your system is losing refrigerant for some reason, we can recharge your supply – not replace it. Plus, we can identify the problem and get your AC back to working like new again. 

Why You Shouldn’t Need Refrigerant Replacement

There are some HVAC professionals that may tell you that your refrigerant needs to be refilled, replaced, or topped off. This isn’t true. Your refrigerant doesn’t get used up over time. Instead, refrigerant recharges itself every time your system is used to cool your home. Refrigerant isn’t a fuel, like natural gas, that burns during use. 

Instead, refrigerant starts out as a liquid. It becomes a gas during the cooling process as it cools your air by removing heat. After your refrigerant transfers heat outside of your unit, it turns back into a liquid and returns to its source. This happens during each cooling cycle your HVAC unit completes.

Identifying and Repairing Refrigerant Leaks

The only way to lose refrigerant is if there is a leak in the refrigerant line. It’s possible to lose refrigerant in the portion of the line where the refrigerant is in its liquid form or to lose it in the portion of the line where it is in its gas form. If you have a leak where the refrigerant is liquid, you may hear a bubbling sound. If the leak is where the refrigerant is in its gas form, you’ll hear a hissing sound.

Hearing either of these sounds means that you need to call a professional right away. Our team can repair the line and check your refrigerant levels. If your refrigerant is too low, we can recharge your supply. Keep in mind that recharging is different than refilling. We are not adding more refrigerant to your air conditioner. We are simply aiding in the process of recharging so that your refrigerant can get back to normal levels and cool your home effectively. 

Aging HVAC Systems

While you do have a lifetime supply of refrigerant, that doesn’t mean that it will last for decades. Your refrigerant should last for the life of the system – usually around ten to fifteen years. And it can degrade over time. While we can recharge your refrigerant, eventually you may need to replace the refrigerant. By the time that happens, it is probably time to replace your entire unit, though. 

Contact Althoff Home Services today to schedule an appointment with our professionals. Chicago’s Choice Since 1961. Hand It Off to Althoff!

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