Symptoms of Low Refrigerant

Written by lee morgan
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Symptoms of Low Refrigerant
Low refrigerant levels in air conditioners can be easy to detect. (air conditioner vent image by Tammy Mobley from

There are several things that can go wrong with air conditioning systems. One of the common problems is a lack of refrigerant or a level too low for the unit to function properly. Knowing how to diagnose low refrigerant levels will allow speed up the repair procedures.

System Blows Warm

One of the most obvious signs that refrigerant is low in an air conditioning system is the system's inability to cool. When the system comes on and warm air comes out of the vents, there is a problem.

This may require a charge in order to get the building back to the desired temperature.


If your refrigerant is leaking and warm air is coming through the vents in your home, you may also see ice around the condenser coils on the outside unit, according to the InspectAPedia website.

The first step in determining if it is actually a refrigerant problem is to check for dirty filters or other reasons airflow may be restricted. You'll also want to shut off the system and allow the ice to melt away and then start it up again. If the system continues to ice, you may have low refrigerant.

A refrigerant leak can occur anywhere in the piping of the air conditioning system, and low levels of refrigerant will actually cause the coils to drop in temperature and form frost and thick ice.

A/C Won't Come On

If your air conditioner won't come on at all it could be a sign of low refrigerant in the system. Some HVAC systems have a series of built-in safety controls that detect changes in various functions within the system.

If the low-pressure switch, the safety control that monitors the level of refrigerant, detects that the level is too low for the air conditioner to work properly then it will switch off and will not allow the system to run at all.

There could be far more serious problems with a central air conditioning unit with low refrigerant if it fails come on at all, but this is one possibility to consider.

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