Home Improvement

Overcharged HVAC Unit: Signs And How To Avoid It?

HVAC systems are designed to be smart and efficient. These man-made units utilize refrigerant gas to produce cool and warm air. But the idea of the more the better does not apply here. HVAC units utilize a specific amount of refrigerant that should neither be too low nor too high. Sometimes, newbies working on HVAC units tend to overcharge the unit, which could be dangerous. This is the reason you must hire reliable HVAC repair services only. Since overcharging an AC can damage the unit, we will discuss some tips on how to avoid overcharging.

What Are The Signs Of An Overcharged HVAC Unit?

Before we can dig into how dangerous overcharging an HVAC unit is, it is important to understand and be familiar with the signs that will help you prevent expensive repairs and replacements in the first place. One thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to HVAC units is that the refrigerant is the lifeline of the cooling system.

The refrigerant is designed to absorb heat from inside the house and gradually lower the temperature. You might think adding more coolant or refrigerant will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the unit but that is not the case. Overcharging an HVAC unit can result in several problems including extreme cooling, increased energy bills, etc.

First, if your unit has been overcharged with refrigerant, the first thing you are going to notice is extreme cooling or heating. HVAC units are not designed to handle such temperatures. If you feel that the temperature is a lot more than desired, you may want to use a thermometer to check it.

If that is the case, it is most likely that the refrigerant has been overcharged and will begin consuming relatively more energy than usual. That said, you will observe your monthly bills suddenly going up with no apparent reason in sight.

The energy bill will fluctuate but not a lot. If there is a huge fluctuation, especially during the summer season, you will need to take a look at household appliances that utilize the most electricity including the HVAC unit. If the unit was recently maintained or repaired, there is a chance that it was overcharged.

Furthermore, you might also come across frozen coils. HVAC units come with condenser and evaporator coils. Although, the coils getting frozen once in a while is normal but should not happen regularly. In the case of an overcharged refrigerant, the coils will continue freezing. This is when you need to find an expert who can fix the issue.

In addition to that, you might also hear squealing or whining noises if your compressor is slugging liquid. The compressor of an HVAC system can only work with gas not liquid. When there is an excess amount of refrigerant in the unit, there is a probability of liquid refrigerant circulating into the compressor.

Even though the unit will continue functioning, a breakdown is inevitable. The longer the unit runs, the more damaging it will be for the unit. Eventually, your system will stop functioning and will require an expert to fix it.

The squealing noises you hear are due to the liquid refrigerant washing out the bearings and destroying the motor. If replacing the components fixes the issues, you should go ahead with it but in a worst-case scenario, you will have to replace the entire unit.

In some instances, the AC is not overcharged, but it’s recharged with the wrong type of refrigerant. AC is recharged by an expert so ensure you hire a good one.

How Often To Recharge The HVAC?

HVAC units come charged with refrigerant from the factory. If you have recently purchased a new unit, you do not have to worry about recharging. HVAC units will last and do not require recharging for a few years until damage has occurred.

In most cases, homeowners tend to opt for amateurs to perform maintenance on their HVAC units just to save some money. It will appear as a cost-effective solution, but it will be in short-term. In the long term, this strategy will cost you more because eventually, your HVAC unit will run into a problem sooner or later and that will be an expensive one.

On the other hand, if your HVAC unit is old, you need to be slightly more careful while recharging the refrigerant. Another noteworthy problem is recharging the wrong type of gas. This could also affect the compressor and result in malfunctioning.

That’s why you must always hire an expert who carries a license and certification to perform such tasks. A professional knows the amount and type of refrigerant gas required based on the make, model, and variant of the HVAC unit. So, only look for air conditioning companies Fairfax which have a good reputation.

Do HVAC Units Require Maintenance?

Yes, just like other household appliances like refrigerators, HVAC units also require professional maintenance. Professional maintenance is one thing, but homeowners should also keep an eye on unusual signs & symptoms in the meantime.

Professional maintenance is supposed to be provided once or twice a year. But as a homeowner, you should check the air filters and other components at least once a week. Performing such inspections ensures that your unit is running perfectly without any hidden problems in plain sight.

Keep in mind that professional maintenance is equally important and more detailed. It not only includes cleaning the unit as the expert also look for AC problems in areas that are otherwise unreachable. The services surely come with a price tag but ensure that your HVAC unit runs trouble-free.

How To Find An Expert?

Your HVAC unit will run as well as its maintenance. That can only happen if you can find the right person for repairing and maintaining your HVAC system. Unfortunately, it can be a tricky situation depending on where you live. Perhaps the best way to find out is by asking your friends and family members for referrals.

If that is not possible, you can contact the nearest parts supplier. Generally, dealers have a strong network of experts and might be able to offer you one. But, do not pounce on the first opportunity you get. You will need to interview multiple individuals before you can make the final decision.

Consider certification, experience, skills, insurance, and other important factors. Finally, negotiate the price and pick the one that offers the best overall package. In this, be careful when a professional quotes a too low price because they might provide you an inferior service. On the other hand, a too high cost might mean the professional is trying to rip you off.

Can I Recharge The Refrigerant Myself?

Recharging the refrigerant yourself will save you money and that is the most common reason contributing to overcharged refrigerant. Recharging the gas requires using special tools and skills. If you do not possess prior experience, you must choose an expert for the job. An HVAC unit is not something you should play around with unless you can bear the expenses.


An HVAC unit with an overcharged refrigerant is bound to create problems. This is why it is important to hire AC repair services Vienna to look after the unit. Although, the above signs will indicate there is a problem, you can have the problem fixed. But if the problems arise regularly, it is most likely that you need a unit replacement.

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