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Ideal Services Heating & Cooling Blog

How Do Refrigerant Levels Affect Heat Pump Repair?

If you know a little about how the heat pump in your home works, you’ve likely heard about refrigerant, the chemical that allows the system to move heat from one place to another to provide you with heating or cooling. The refrigerant in a heat pump must be maintained at a proper level, or else it will lead to problems that require repairs.

We’ll take a look at how improper refrigerant levels can lead to heat pump repair in Garner, NC. Call Ideal Services Heating & Cooling whenever you need quality assistance with your home heating system.

First, Let’s Talk About Refrigerant

Refrigerant refers to a mixture of chemicals (called a blend) that runs through your heat pump in a closed loop at a set level (called its charge). Refrigerant easily changes between liquid and gaseous state, and as it changes from one to the other in the loop of the heat pump, it moves heat from one set of coils and releases it in the other. Early refrigerants were made of toxic or combustible chemicals, but today safe blends (usually grouped under the general name Freon, a trademark of DuPont) are used.

Here is a crucial thing to understand about refrigerant: although it constantly changes from gas to liquid and back again, it does not dissipate during this process. As long as the heat pump is working correctly and without damage, the refrigerant charge will not change.

Low Refrigerant

If a heat pump loses refrigerant because of a leak along its coils or in its compressors, then the heat pump will begin losing the ability to absorb heat along the evaporator coil. This will cause the cold of the refrigerant to create icing along the coils, further restricting absorption and lowering the heat exchange until the heat pump no longer provides conditioned air. This requires professionals to locate the leak, seal it, and then recharge the refrigerant to its proper level. (Just scraping the ice off won’t help.)

Overcharged Refrigerant

Amateur repair work can result in a heat pump with too much refrigerant: overcharged. This will cause high pressure in the condensing coil, which in turn causes low flow of refrigerant and a heat pump that underperforms. The charge can also overflow and damage the compressor until it fails. Professionals will need to drain out the overcharge and restore the refrigerant to the right level.

Call For Repairs As Soon As You Need Them

You should never attempt to repair a malfunctioning heat pump on your own; they are complex devices that require professionals with training and special equipment. If your heat pump starts to fail, call for repairs from a company like Ideal Services Heating & Cooling. We also offer a variety of heating system services in Garner, NC, and have 24-hour emergency service to deliver you the help you need. Give us a call today and let us help you get that heat pump repaired!

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