Heat PumpsWhy Low Refrigerant Levels Damage Heat Pumps


If we compare a heat pump to a human body, the compressor is like the heart, and the refrigerant is like the blood. The compressor provides that energy that moves the refrigerant through the lines of the heat pump, allowing it to do its job—in this case, the movement of heat from one place to another. A heat pump’s mechanical parts, such as the compressor, can work perfectly—but without sufficient refrigerant, the heat pump cannot do the task it’s supposed to. However, low refrigerant causes a heat pump other problems aside from making it less effective at providing your home with heating and cooling. Low refrigerant can damage a compressor and heat pump. 

The damaging effects that low refrigerant has on a heat pump:

#1 – Icing

When refrigerant drops in a heat pump, it interferes with the standard balance of heat exchange in the system. Less refrigerant means a reduction in heat absorption along with the evaporator coil (either the indoor or outdoor coil, depending on what mode the heat pump is in), resulting in the refrigerant’s low temperature freezing the moisture along with the coil. The frost from this process will start to grow until it becomes a solid block of ice along with the coils. Aside from blocking heat exchange, this is incredibly damaging to the coil and the cabinet. Trying to forcefully chip it off will only cause further damage. You’ll need heat pump technicians to fix the problem.

#2 – Compressor Trouble

The compressor for a heat pump is designed to handle a specific refrigerant charge. If the charge is too low, the compressor’s operation will become impaired and it will start to overwork. The oil that lubricates the compressor so it operates smoothly is actually part of the refrigerant. If refrigerant leaks, so do the lubrication oil, and eventually, the compressor will burn out. Also, if the refrigerant is leaking from the compressor itself, it will damage its components.

Heat pumps are complex machines that require a precise balance to run correctly. Only technicians with special training should attempt repairs. When you have leaking refrigerant, you cannot attempt to recharge the heat pump yourself.

If low refrigerant is affecting your heat pump or compressor and you need a little help from the professionals, we will get the job done right away! Click here to contact us or call 425.533.9058 to speak with one of our HVAC representatives right away! The heating & air conditioning experts for Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, and the greater Puget Sound area! #InstallitRight  #FixItFast


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