Top Signs of An Overcharged Air Conditioner

The idea that more is always better doesn’t truly apply to every scenario, especially when discussing overcharged air conditioners. Processing excess refrigerant can eventually damage your air conditioner. Therefore, it is important that ideal parameters are met to keep problems at bay. This also helps extend HVAC equipment lifespan. Keep reading to explore some of the overcharged AC symptoms and the dangers this issue poses.

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Tell-Tale Signs of An Overcharged Air Conditioner

image of manometer measuring air conditioner refrigerant pressure

The cooling system’s lifeblood is its refrigerant. It absorbs the heat from inside your home, releasing it outdoors. Each cycle gradually lowers the indoor temperature. You may think adding more coolant to achieve faster cooling is a good idea. However, this can backfire if there is more refrigerant than what the air conditioner is built to handle.

Handling a substance as dangerous as a refrigerant should be left in the hands of a certified and experienced HVAC technician. However, amateur technicians may make mistakes when charging an air conditioning system refrigerant. Therefore, homeowners should know what to look for. Below, you will find common symptoms that an overcharged air conditioner presents:

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Elevated Heat Discharge

An HVAC system requires regular maintenance. This includes trimming the plants around the outdoor unit to promote good airflow. Use this chance to check the system. It normally produces hot air, but you may have an overworked system on your hands if the air feels hotter than usual. Likely reasons behind this include excessive refrigerant, dirty air filters, and clogged blowers. 

Related Article: Signs You Need Better Air Quality At Home

Increasing Energy Bills

image of homeowner calculating energy bills

You slowly get used to the energy needs and the corresponding cost of using your air conditioner after a while. It may fluctuate as time passes, but not by a lot. Something may be wrong with your air conditioner if you notice your energy bill suddenly soaring. Determine if this occurred after your cooling system had some work done. It may indicate that the unit was overcharged.

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Frozen Air Conditioning Coils

Air conditioners can become so cold at times that the coils get frozen. An expert needs to investigate it to determine the right course of action. This can confuse untrained individuals because having less or more than the required refrigerant can cause problems. Both extremes can trigger ice to form. The best way to find the real cause is to have an HVAC professional check it for you.

Related Article: Ductwork Makes Banging Noise: Causes & Solutions

Noisy Air Conditioner Compressor

Compressors normally make some noise, and homeowners quickly get used to the normal sounds it makes when turning the unit on or off. They also become familiar with its typical hums during operation. Something isn’t right if it makes odd sounds like a loud squeal. This may be because the system is experiencing problems with excessive amounts of high-pressure liquid refrigerant.

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Sudden Cooling System Shutdown

Engineers anticipate the dangers that can occur in the cooling system during the design stage. Therefore, they put switches that will shut down the system suddenly to prevent damage. An abundance of refrigerant is a factor that can harm the equipment and activate this safety switch. Hire an HVAC technician to check your system and determine the exact cause before turning it on again.

Uneven Air Conditioner Pressure Levels

image of an hvac contractor using manometer to check ac refrigerant levels

Excess refrigerant can cause uneven pressure levels in the cooling unit. It is one of the best signs to look out for. However, ordinary owners likely have no clue how to measure it. Contact an HVAC expert to inspect it if you suspect your equipment is suffering from this problem. This will help you get a conclusive answer objectively.

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How an Air Conditioner Gets Excessive Refrigerant

It is easy to explain how you get inadequate refrigerant. Your air conditioner used to have enough but leaks slowly drained the coolant. Seal the leaks and recharge them so your unit returns to normal. If there is too much refrigerant, it can occur in one of two ways:

  • Faulty Air Conditioner Installation: The problem may have begun at the onset. Rely on trusted professionals who know what to do when installing a new system. Their work will determine the HVAC equipment’s efficiency, longevity, and performance. If the technician puts too much refrigerant, your cooling system will have many problems.
  • Amateur Air Conditioning Repairs: Some homeowners might call amateurs to repair their systems to save some money. However, their results depend on luck because amateurs aren’t as knowledgeable as trained technicians. Some may overcharge the system as they finish repairing refrigerant leaks. Remember that the law states that only licensed professionals should handle refrigerants

Related Article: Top HVAC Installation Mistakes to Avoid

Consequences of Having an Overcharged Air Conditioning Unit

Listed below is what can happen if you have an overcharged air conditioner:

  • Poor Cooling Equipment Performance & Efficiency: You may not be satisfied with how your cooling system performs if it is overcharged. Its cooling power will significantly drop, which can be frustrating during the hot months. It will also be harder for the system to convert the refrigerant from gas to liquid and liquid to gas. Efficiency will also diminish until this is corrected. 
  • Malfunctioning Air Conditioner Valves & Connecting Rods: Some of the excess liquid refrigerants may overflow into the cylinders of the compressor. This may damage the valves as they aren’t designed to handle this situation. There may also be faulty connecting rods. Certified HVAC contractors should examine the problem immediately, or it may worsen.
  • Air Conditioner Compressor Motor Burnout: Some liquid refrigerants may also escape into the crankcase and mix with oil. This will result in the crankcase pressure soaring. The compressor motor cannot handle the stress for long. The motor will eventually burn out and fail to operate. You will need to have a complete cooling system replacement when this occurs.
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What a Homeowner Should Do

words what you need to know depicting air conditioner care

It is dangerous to have an air conditioner with an overcharged refrigerant. If you suspect your air conditioner has this problem, switch it off immediately and call an experienced HVAC technician. A trained and certified technician can calculate the right refrigerant level and correct your air conditioner’s refrigerant charge. They will also apply the appropriate solutions to damaged components so the unit works as it should again.

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Related Article: Why Is HVAC Airflow So Important For My Home?


Don’t take shortcuts on air conditioner repairs and installations. You may save a few bucks when you hire amateurs, but the unpolished job they may do may eventually cause problems. They may end up overcharging your system, so you must call professionals to clean up the mess. Hire certified technicians from the get-go so you won’t have to deal with these problems, and you can enjoy stress-free ownership.

Tevis Energy’s sister company, Modern Comfort, performs HVAC installations, replacements, tune-ups, and more. Our technicians can provide you with expert HVAC services to ensure that your system provides you with the comfort and efficiency you deserve. Call now to schedule an appointment.

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Our company guarantees to have the region’s most competitive HVAC service rates. Our tune-up services can enhance your home’s energy efficiency and comfort and reduce heating and cooling expenses. We can provide the best solutions within your budget if you need an HVAC repair or replacement system. All our work comes with a guarantee. Book your next service appointment with Tevis Energy. Call us today and get a free, in-home estimate.

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