Air Conditioning: The Costly Effects Of Refrigerant Overcharge
Since air conditioning systems are closed systems, an increase volume of refrigerant in a given system is bound to affect its overall pressure. Areas that are supposed to be low pressure areas will be converted into not-so-low pressure areas and high pressure areas will end up turning into abnormal high pressure areas. This, in addition to the fact that excess refrigerant can affect the change-of-state process, can end up costing you.
Refrigerant overcharge and air conditioning efficiency
Cooling usually takes place in the evaporator coil area when the refrigerant absorbs heat from the warm air passing over the coils. To maximize this process, manufacturers usually ensure that the evaporator coil area has the lowest pressure possible. This is important as it ensures that the liquid refrigerant changes into a gas at much lower temperatures. This usually allows the refrigerant to absorb more heat and thus making for an effective air conditioning process.
However, when the system has a more-then-necessary amount of refrigerant, the resulting increase in pressure usually causes the refrigerant to change states at way higher temperatures. It won't absorb as much heat as it should. This usually makes for an inefficient cooling process.
Since refrigerant overcharge reduces the amount of heat absorbed from air, the air that eventually gets dumped into an air conditioned space won't be as cold as it should be. To reach a given temperature, the air conditioning system will have to work for longer. This requires more energy and will thus lead to an increase in the energy bills that one has to shoulder. There is also the fact that working longer-than-normal hours to make your home comfortable will put a strain on your system, something that will then shorten its lifespan.
Refrigerant overcharge and the damaging effects of liquid slugging
Excess amounts of refrigerant in an air conditioning system will increase the risks of the refrigerant being in places where it is not supposed to be. The volume of the refrigerant that is available in the evaporating coil area at any given time is also bound to be more than necessary. As a result, the change-of-state process that is required to convert the refrigerant from a liquid into a gas is unlikely to be sufficient to convert all of the refrigerant in the evaporator coil. This will then have the effect of causing some of the refrigerant to arrive at the air conditioner's compressor while still in liquid form. This is what is called liquid slugging.
The arrival of the refrigerant while still in liquid form usually causes problems for the compressor. This is because the compressor's parts aren't strong enough to handle a liquid. Therefore, any attempt by the compressor's motor to compress the liquid refrigerant usually leads to the damage of its piston, scroll spirals and any other moving parts. This usually calls for unnecessary repair costs that you will have to take care of. To learn more, contact an HVAC contractor in your area.