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Leaking Refrigerant Can Endanger Your Heating

ice-capsThere are several ways to provide central heat to a commercial building. The most common one is the rooftop HVAC unit. These packaged heat pump are useful for providing both heating and air conditioning around the year, and because they are located on the roof, they are easy for technicians to work on without creating disruption in the facility space.

One of the bigger repair concerns with packaged HVAC systems is loss of refrigerant—and this can spell huge trouble for your winter heating! Leaking refrigerant requires prompt commercial heating repair in Toronto, ON or it may cause a complete failure.

Why Would Refrigerant Loss Affect Heating?

Because refrigerant is how a heat pump like a rooftop HVAC system moves heat into a building. A heat pump works in much the same way as a standard AC: refrigerant circulates to absorb heat from one location and then evaporates to release it in another. In cooling mode, a heat pump moves heat outside and then pumps the cool air left behind into the ventilation system of the building. In heating mode, it reverses the process, absorbing outdoor heat (and there’s always heat in the air, no matter the temperature) and sending heated air into the ventilation system. Refrigerant is necessary for both modes.

Here’s a vital fact to know about heat pumps: they are not meant to lose refrigerant, ever. A heat pump is designed to work with a specific amount of refrigerant, known as the system’s “charge.” The refrigerant doesn’t dissipate as it goes through condensation and evaporation. The only way for the system to lose refrigerant is through leaks. These leaks can occur along refrigerant lines, in the compressor, or in loose fittings inside the rooftop unit.

Not only does a drop in refrigerant make it harder for the heat pump to provide heat (as well as cooling), the drop in pressure inside the system will eventually cause problems in the compressor, which is the heart of how a heat pump works. The compressor can overheat and fail when there is less refrigerant. A failed compressor usually means the entire rooftop unit must be replaced.

Prevention and Repair

The best way to prevent refrigerant leaks in a rooftop unit is through regular maintenance. We customize maintenance programs for each client, so we’ll have a schedule designed for the routine check-ups your HVAC system needs to catch trouble like refrigerant leaks early. During maintenance, we always perform a pressure check on the refrigerant in any heat pump. This will show us if there’s any loss in refrigerant charge, and we can make repairs quickly before the situation worsens.

You’ll need to watch out for signs of leaking refrigerant during the rest of the year. When people in your facility notice uneven heating and cooling, or increases and decreases in humidity that are out of the ordinary, leaking refrigerant is one possibility. Don’t guess, however—get in touch with us right away and we’ll find what’s amiss and have it fixed.

For commercial heating repair, call the Double “A” Name with the Triple “A” Service in the Greater Toronto Area: Advantage Airtech Commercial Ltd.

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