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Douglas Cooling & Heating Blog

Do I Ever Need to Refill My AC Refrigerant?

We get this question a lot, even late in the summer when a lot of people have already scheduled their air conditioning maintenance. Most people have no idea how refrigerant works, because it’s not really necessary to know how it works to use the air conditioner. There are times when more refrigerant is necessary, but those times are few and far between. Let’s take a look at how your air conditioner uses refrigerant, and when it needs more.


There is no single liquid that’s actually referred to simply as “refrigerant.” That’s actually a broad term used to describe a wide range of different fluids that all serve the same general purpose: the transfer of heat. When your air conditioner is operating, it is evaporating refrigerant in the inside unit to absorb thermal energy from the air in your ducts. The collected heat is then sent outside to the condenser unit, where it is vented out of the home. The refrigerant is never consumed by the system during this process, merely recycled back and forth between the two units. There is only one time that an air conditioner should ever need more refrigerant, and it’s indicative of a serious problem.

Refrigerant Leaks

An air conditioner should be able to go through its entire lifespan on the initial charge of refrigerant that it gets upon installation. A refrigerant leak changes all that by draining the refrigerant out of the system. This causes a steady decline in system output, followed by multiple breakdowns and an eventual full system breakdown. If you notice a decline in output, or see fluid of any kind dripping from your system, you need to call for repairs right away. This is the only time that you should ever need more refrigerant for your air conditioner.

Douglas Cooling & Heating offers comprehensive air conditioning repair services throughout Birmingham, AL.

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