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Refrigerant Quantity in Air Conditioners

ac thermoMost manufacturers try to produce rugged air conditioners. However, improper installation or maintenance of the air conditioner can lead to poor performance and even failure. One aspect of an air conditioner that must be tested professionally is the refrigerant quantity.


The refrigerant is the fluid that transfers the heat from the building to the compressor through the condenser and evaporator coils. The amount of refrigerant in an air conditioner is specified by the manufacturers. During installation the mechanic has to check for and ensure that the right amount of refrigerant is present in the unit. Too less or excess refrigerant can both cause a problem with the system.

Excess Refrigerant

When servicing the air conditioner, the mechanic has to check the amount of refrigerant present and capture any excess amount and dispose of it safely. It is illegal to release the refrigerant into the atmosphere.

Less Refrigerant

If the mechanic tests the air conditioner and finds that there is less than the recommended quantity of refrigerant, they cannot just top up the refrigerant. Instead they have to first test the system for leaks and seal these before topping up the refrigerant. Unless the leaks are identified and sealed, the refrigerant will just leak again and the problems with the air conditioner will recur.


An air conditioner must be professionally serviced at least once a year, preferably before the start of summer. The mechanic must have the right equipment to measure the amount of refrigerant present in the system and be in a position to capture excess refrigerant if needed. Unless the mechanic is aware of the manufacturer specifications about the quantity of refrigerant needed for the unit, they will be unable to use the information obtained from the measurement. This makes it important to provide them with the manufacturer’s guidelines as well.