If you were to ask most homeowners to explain the basics of their home's central air conditioner, they may be able to do so but they would also more than likely leave out the most important element. This element is the refrigerant and it is the most important piece of the air conditioning puzzle. While everything needs to be working correctly in order for the system to pull air in, move the air through the entire system, and deposit the air back into the home, the fact remains that the air would still be the same temperature if it weren't for the refrigerant. This is why you should become more familiar with refrigerant in order to really have a true understanding of your central air. Here are the basics of refrigerant.
Refrigerant plays the most important role
Your air conditioning system has a lot of pieces that all work together to offer you the one thing you are trying to achieve when you turn the system on and that is cold air. The refrigerant is a liquid that moves throughout the refrigerant lines and cools the air it comes in contact with, which is what ends up dropping the inside temperature of your home.
How the cooling process happens
Your system has an evaporator coil, and this is what will evaporate the refrigerant in a way that takes the heat and absorbs it. When the heat gets absorbed, the end result is the desired temperature drop in the air. There must be enough refrigerant in the system for everything to work as it should.
If the system has lost some refrigerant, then you may notice the air not cooling as much as it should. If all of the refrigerant has left the system, then your air conditioner will be ineffective with regards to producing cool air. You will hear it work and you will feel air coming out of the registers, but it will be the same temperature as what's already in the house. Therefore, your system will be working hard to do no more than a fan would do.
Why refrigerant disappears
Many people think the reason their system needs more refrigerant put in is because it gets used up by the system as time goes on. However, refrigerant should never need to be replaced because the system isn't using it as a source of power. If your system needs more refrigerant, then the system has a leak somewhere that is allowing the refrigerant to escape. Therefore, you need to have the source of the leak located and repaired. Then, more refrigerant can be added to replace what was lost.
Contact an air conditioning service for more help.