How does your vehicle air condition system really work?

If you turn on your A/C if barely or no cold air comes out, your vehicle is probably low on refrigerant. Before you go and just fill up your vehicle you should know that there is more to an air-conditioning recharge. For instance, the refrigerant operates in a closed system, and the most likely cause for low levels will be a leak in the air-conditioning system. We have qualified technician to inspect your system for obvious leaks in hoses, pipes or the air-conditioning compressor, and we will make the necessary repairs.

Once the inspection is completed our technician will extract the remaining refrigerant into recycling equipment that will remove any impurities. We will then recharge the system by pouring the clean refrigerant back into your vehicle and top it off with as much refrigerant as needed. One of the final steps to run the system through an electronic leak test to make sure everything is working properly.

There’s no way of knowing how much refrigerant is left in the system, so even a qualified technician would have to guess as to how much refrigerant to add. Systems vary, but each one holds a specific amount of refrigerant. The only way to know that an air conditioner is full is to evacuate the system and fill it with the specified amount. EPA regulations forbid releasing refrigerant into the atmosphere, and specialized equipment is required to extract it. That is why it is important to have a professional take care of this issue.

If your air-conditioning system does have a leak topping off the refrigerant doesn’t fix leaks or whatever other issue caused the system to run low. The air conditioner might work for a while after a recharge, but if there is something wrong most systems are designed to shut down once the refrigerant falls to a certain level. Eventually it will just blow warm air again.

Leaks can be as small as pinholes in hoses and can be very hard to detect. After a recharge if your air-conditioner start blowing out warm air you might have a small leak. At that point our technician will have to inject dye into the system and use a black light to see where the location of the leak is coming from. Once we locate the leak we will be able to replace the part and get your A/C running cool again.

How do I know if my air conditioner is bad?

Easy: If your air conditioner is blowing warm air instead of cold, or the system makes unusual noises when it’s engaged, something is amiss.

How often should I recharge my air conditioner?

You should recharge only if you or your mechanic finds a leak. As long as your air conditioner is blowing cold air, there’s no need to recharge or “top off” the system with refrigerant. Since refrigerant circulates in a closed system, it isn’t burned up like gasoline.

Why do I have to check my air conditioning?

Air conditioners should be checked because problems won’t fix themselves. Refrigerant could be leaking, the compressor could be failing or the condenser, evaporator or another component might be corroded. Adding refrigerant may provide a temporary fix. Eventually the air conditioning won’t work. A mechanic should inspect the entire system and fix the cause. A nonfunctioning air conditioner isn’t only about comfort; the air conditioner also dehumidifies the air to defrost and defog the windows so you can see where you’re going, even if it’s cold outside.

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