Modern HVAC systems are generally well-designed and you can count on trusted manufacturers to build them to last. There’s been plenty of time over the decades to innovate and to work kinks out of the systems. This applies to everything from the boiler to the heat pump. No mechanical system is going to function at a level of 100% reliability, though. Even the best systems fall prey to operational issues from time to time. Some of them are fairly simple fixes.
If you do use a heat pump, however, you really need to report any signs of trouble right away. Heat pumps, like central air conditioners, are reliant upon the refrigerant cycle in their operation. If you encounter a refrigerant leak in your system, then it is possible for that system to suffer serious damages when the problem is ignored or, as is often the case, simply unnoticed. In today’s post, we’ll be discussing what refrigerant does in the system, signs of refrigerant leaks, and how low refrigerant can affect your heat pump in Norwalk, CT.
What Refrigerant Does
Refrigerant is a heat transfer fluid that changes with ease between physical states. That’s what makes it such a great heat transfer fluid to begin with. When cool it is liquid, but it evaporates into a gas easily. When evaporated in an HVAC system, it draws heat out of the air surrounding the evaporator coil (heat pumps are able to reverse coil function, whereas the evaporator coil in a central AC is always indoors).
When condensed in the condenser coil (which is always outdoors in a central AC, but either the indoor or outdoor coil will perform this function in a heat pump, depending upon the season/mode of operation), the refrigerant sheds its heat as it returns to its liquid form. This allows the heat pump to heat or cool a house, meaning that refrigerant truly is an indispensable part of the process.
Low Refrigerant Charge? Serious Issue
When you don’t have enough refrigerant in your heat pump, it is obviously not going to function as well as it should. It is going to take a longer amount of time to heat and/or cool your home than is normal, and it is going to use a lot more energy in the process. If you think that high energy costs and decreased performance quality is bad, consider that a low refrigerant charge can eventually lead to irreparable damages to your heat pump.
That’s right. Forcing a heat pump to continue operating when it is low on refrigerant could completely destroy the compressor, and that means replacing the entire unit, not just repairing it. The cost is just too much to justify in most cases. Remember too that, just like the oil in your car, refrigerant is not something that is consumed by your heat pump. If you are low on refrigerant, it means that either the system was not charged to the right level or that you have a leak. Contact us if you notice any of the issues described with your heat pump.
Schedule your heat pump services with Celco Heating and Air Conditioning.