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Professional Heating & Air Blog

What Happens When Heat Pump Refrigerant Runs Low?

Heat pumps see a lot of use here in Hammond, LA, since our winters are mild and our atmosphere is conducive to the technology. Heat pumps work in a manner similar to an air conditioner, which means they rely on a set level of refrigerant to do their job. When leaks spring up in the system or the refrigerant otherwise runs low, the heat pump needs the attention of a trained technician to make it right. Here’s a quick breakdown of what happens when there isn’t enough refrigerant in your heat pump.

How the System Works

Your heat pump requires a set amount of refrigerant specific to its make and model to do its job. The refrigerant loops through a closed circuit, which can be reversed depending on whether you need your house heated or cooled. The process starts when gaseous refrigerant enters a compressor array, which subjects it to a great deal of pressure and bleeds off its heat, which warns the surrounding air. (That air can be blown into your home with a fan if your system is in heating mode.) The liquid refrigerant, under a great deal of pressure, then moves through an expansion valve and into a series of expansion coils. There, it reverts to gas form, pulling heat from the surrounding air in the process. (The cooled air can then be blown into your home if the system is in cooling mode.)

What Happens When Refrigerant Runs Low

Less refrigerant means less heating potential, which means your system may not be able to adequately heat your home in the winter. It also means that frost will form on the expansion coils, interfering with that part of the process and increasing strain on other parts of the system. If it isn’t addressed, it will result in a major breakdown.

Trust the A Professional Heating and Air to repair leaks and recharge refrigerant levels.

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