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The Dangers of Low AC Refrigerant

The role of AC refrigerant is often misunderstood. Many people think of it as an inconsistent level that decreases as your air conditioning unit is used. The truth is that AC refrigerant levels should remain at the same level unless there is a leak. If you do have a leak, your entire system will be in danger of serious damage.

Signs You are Low on Refrigerant

Look out for these tell-tale signs that your central AC unit is low on refrigerant:

  • Uncomfortable internal temperature. If you are noticing a change in the effectiveness of your AC unit, such as it taking longer to cool your property or warm air blowing out of vents, it could be due to low refrigerant levels.
  • Ice buildup on outside unit. If your refrigerant levels are low, your coils will get to cold and can cause freezing of moisture around your outside unit.
  • Higher electric bills. Noticeably higher electric bills often means a problem in your AC unit’s performance.

Icing in the Indoor Coil

Low refrigerant levels often cause icing along indoor evaporator coils. This is because the lower refrigerant levels make it difficult for the coil to absorb enough heat that warms up the cold refrigerant. When your refrigerant remains too cold, it will cause moisture to freeze along the surface of your coils and impair your unit’s performance.

Compressor Damage

Arguably the largest issue with low refrigerant levels is damage to the compressor. Low refrigerant levels decrease pressure which causes serious damage to your compressor, eventually causing it to collapse. Replacing your compressor is extremely expensive and should be avoided if possible.

Energy Efficiency

Your air conditioning unit will not function efficiently if refrigerant levels are low. Your levels need to be correct and consistent in order for your unit to absorb and dissipate thermal energy, ultimately bringing cool air into your property.


If you have a low refrigerant levels, your air conditioning unit will not cool properly. This will result in higher bills, wasted energy, and an uncomfortable internal temperature of your residential or commercial property.

If you are concerned you have low refrigerant levels in your air conditioning unit, call Clark’s Heating and Air for an inspection today.

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