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Do I Need to “Top-Off” the Refrigerant in My Air Conditioner?


Wait, hold on… before we go any further, are you actually attempting to “top-off” the refrigerant in your air conditioner? Or even considering it? Stop right now. If you are concerned that your air conditioner has less refrigerant that it needs, for any reason, you must call on professional repair technicians to look into it. Do not attempt to put refrigerant into the AC yourself.

Okay, now that we have that straightened out, let’s get into why you don’t need to “top-off” air conditioning refrigerant. This requires explaining a bit about how refrigerant functions.

Refrigerant is not a type of fuel

Your air conditioning system uses the refrigerant inside it to move heat from one place to another. The refrigerant changes from liquid to gas and back again as it evaporates and condenses, and this is what allows it to absorb and release heat. It is not an energy source, and it does not get “used up” when the air conditioner is running. The amount of the refrigerant in the system (known as its charge) will remain the same for the lifetime of the system.

The danger of an overcharged air conditioner

The reason you don’t want to put refrigerant into your air conditioner yourself is that you risk overcharging the system. The AC is designed for a specific amount of refrigerant; if there is too much refrigerant, it can severely damage the air conditioner because of improper operating pressure. If excess liquid refrigerant enters the compressor, it can get into the compressor’s motor parts and cause a breakdown.

But what about loss of refrigerant?

The refrigerant level can drop if leaks open up along the refrigerant line. This is a serious issue that will impair the air conditioner and even lead to a full failure. You must leave the necessary repair work to professionals; they will seal the leaks and then place the exact amount of refrigerant into the system necessary to restore it to its correct charge.

When you need expert air conditioning repairs in Blount County, TN call on MK Russell & Abbott.