How Can An Overcharge Of Refrigerant Impact System Efficiency?

Problems revolving around refrigerant overcharges happen when technicians put an excess of refrigerant into your air conditioning system. In order for your air conditioning unit to work at its most effective and efficient possible level, then the refrigerant charge needs to be proper.

Refrigerant is necessary for the system to run, but this is not a case where more is better, as an overcharge of refrigerant might actually make your utility costs go up by 5 to 10 percent. The decreased energy efficiency from having too much means you pay more for just as much cooling as you’d get at a normal level. In the meantime, you run the risk of multiple symptoms and side effects, many of which are not good.

When your air conditioning system has refrigerant overcharging, you might notice a notable reduction in the output of your condenser. Outright failure is also a distinct possibility. The lubrication of the compressor might decrease, and there’s always a genuine chance that oil starts pooling inside the condenser. The results of this would be reduced refrigerant circulating through the overall air conditioning system, preventing the intended heat transfer from taking place.

Some technicians have an unfortunate tendency to actually overcharge the refrigeration systems they work on. You might think they do this due to carelessness or possibly getting to charge you for more refrigerant than you actually need, but in truth it’s actually quite an easy mistake to make given just how many different systems are available in today’s market.

The phaseout of R22/Freon has resulted in a lot of new models and technology getting rolled out and installed, and it’s a lot to keep up with. On top of that, symptoms of other various system problems can mimic overcharged refrigerant without actually being that specific set of circumstances.

Having said all that, there are a handful of telltale signs you can look out for is you suspect that your air conditioning system might be overcharged with its specific refrigerant. For example, keep an eye out for excessive refrigerant that might back up into the condenser of the system. Additionally, various other overcharged system symptoms might include high discharge temperature, high condenser subcooling, high compression ratio, high condensing pressures, higher condenser splits, normal superheats, and normal to high evaporator pressures.

High compression ratios often relate to high discharge temperatures, given the liquid which gets backed up into the condenser starts flooding portions of the condensing surface area, which creates high head pressures. Heat that gets absorbed into the suction line and evaporator, alongside high compression and motor heat, all needs rejected into a smaller condenser area just because liquid is backed up.

High subcooling is also possible from a condenser with back up happening at its bottom. Keep in mind that any condenser liquid that is lower in temperature than the normal condensing temperature is a situation called subcooling. A thermocouple or thermometer at the condenser outlet can be used to measure this. If you want to calculate the amount of current liquid subcooling going on, just subtract the registered condensing out temperature from the stated condensing temperature. Forced-air condensers typically have a minimum of 5 degrees Fahrenheit of liquid subcooling.

On the other hand, subcooling amounts often depend on the specific system piping configurations as well as the friction pressure drops and liquid line static. Condenser subcooling is often a powerful indicator of the refrigerant charge of a system, but it’s far from the only one. When refrigerant charge is cooler, subcooling is also lower. Likewise, when charge is higher, so too is the subcooling.

High condensing pressures can happen when subcooled liquid backs up into the condenser causing a minimized condensing surface area, raising the condensing pressures. With condensing pressures raised, there is an increased temperature differential between the condensing and ambient temperatures, which cause more heat to flow in order to compensate for a smaller condensing surface area. Your system is still going to reject heat, but it will do so at higher temperatures and condensing pressures. This extra workload reduces efficiency while running up your power bill.

One thing you should know above all the technical talk covered in this article is this: if your system gets overcharged by more than just 10 percent, then you run the risk of liquid getting into your suction line, where it might get into suction valves or even the crankcase. This situation results on compressor damage, which runs up your power bill and lowers your cooling. Eventually, it will fail altogether, killing your air conditioner, your comfort, and your bank account all at once.


Fortunately, there is one effective option for making sure that the current refrigerant charge in your air conditioning system is set at the proper amount. Bluon Energy – best place to buy tdx 20 First, check the manufacturer chart specifications for your unit. You can use this to make sure that the suction line pressure of the unit is aligned properly with the appropriate evaporating temperature. Measuring the temperature of the suction line lets you arrive at the proper refrigerant charge you should have for safe and optimal operation. If you’re not sure how to do it or just aren’t able, a qualified HVAC technician can do this easily, and many might do it as part of a free consultation or diagnosis. Fortunately, withdrawing the refrigerant overcharge to reduce levels to optimal is just as fast and easy for them as it is to put it in there in the first place. Once identified, this issue is quickly and simply corrected.

One tough decision you may face in these circumstances is whether or not you’ll call your previous technician back and ask them if they overcharged your AC or have someone new show up. It can be a bit uncomfortable to accuse the previous technician of making such a mistake, but if they admit it, they might fix it for free. Then again, if you already don’t trust them and found their service distasteful, you might be ready to move on to someone new.


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