You can’t expect your air conditioning system to effectively cool your home if it’s undercharged. Air conditioning systems run on refrigerant. Typically consisting of R-410A, it’s a hydrofluorocarbon that acts as a medium for heat. Refrigerant will absorb heat from your home’s indoor air. After traveling to the outdoor coil, it will release this heat.
Longer Cooling Cycles
An undercharged air conditioning system will result in longer cooling cycles. It takes time for air conditioning systems to achieve the temperature set on the thermostat. The duration for which your air conditioning system before turning off is a cooling cycle. If it’s undercharged, it will struggle to cool your home. Your air conditioning system may still be able to achieve the temperature set on the thermostat, but it will typically take longer.
If your home feels more humid than usual, an undercharged air conditioning system could be to blame. There’s always some moisture vapor in the air. A typical home has a relative humidity level of about 40% to 50%, meaning the indoor air is holding about half as much moisture as it can hold at that temperature. If your home’s relative humidity level is about 60%, you may want to get your air conditioning system inspected by a professional.
An undercharged air conditioning system may not be able to remove a sufficient amount of moisture vapor from the air. Therefore, your home will become more humid. The relative humidity level of your home will increase, which can manifest in the form of mold, mildew and moisture damage.
Frozen coils is a telltale sign of an undercharged air conditioning system. Both the evaporator coil and condenser coil feature meal fins. If there’s not enough refrigerant flowing through them, the coils may freeze. Ice may form on the metal fins – even during the hot summer months. The lack of refrigerant will interfere with the heat exchange process, resulting in one or more frozen coils.
Increased Cooling Costs
If you’re paying more to cool your home, you may want to check your air conditioning system. An undercharged air conditioning system can lead to increased cooling costs. Without the right amount of refrigerant, your air conditioning system will become less efficient. It will run for longer, so you’ll have to pay more to cool your home.
Some of the most common signs of an undercharged air conditioning system include longer cooling cycles, high humidity, frozen coils and increased cooling costs. If you notice any of these signs, contact a heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) professional today to schedule an inspection.