Tell-Tale Signs Of An Overcharged Air Conditioner

Having more doesn’t necessarily mean better results. An abundance of anything can be equally detrimental as not having enough, especially when it comes to overcharged air conditioning systems. Subjecting these units to handle more refrigerant than they’re designed for can damage their efficiency and longevity. When this happens, you may start noticing overcharged AC symptoms

Following the recommended levels can ensure smooth operation and extend the lifespan of your cooling equipment. Continue reading this article from Modern Comfort to learn more about the signs of an overcharged AC and understand why this issue poses a risk.

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Indicators of an Overcharged Air Conditioning System

Refrigerant is a crucial component in a cooling system, essential for transporting heat outside the home, thereby progressively lowering the indoor temperature with every cycle. While increasing the refrigerant quantity for quicker cooling might be tempting, exceeding the capacity the AC unit is engineered to manage can have adverse effects.

Handling refrigerants requires the expertise and certification of a skilled HVAC technician, given the potential dangers involved. Despite this, errors in charging an air conditioning system with refrigerant are common. Being informed about what indicators to watch for is crucial as a homeowner. Here are the typical symptoms of an air conditioner that has been overcharged:

1. Rising Energy Expenses

couple worried about expensive energy costs

With consistent use, you become familiar with your air conditioner’s energy consumption and the expected expense. While minor variations can occur, significant spikes in your energy bill signal a potential issue with your AC. Should this cost surge coincide with recent maintenance or adjustments to your cooling system, it’s worth investigating if your unit has been overcharged.

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2. Increased Outdoor AC Unit Heat Output

Maintaining an HVAC system involves routine tasks like ensuring the outdoor unit has clear airflow by managing surrounding vegetation. During these maintenance checks, the unit typically expels warm air. However, if you notice the air is significantly hotter than normal, this could indicate the system is overburdened. Several issues could be at play, such as obstructed air filters, blocked blower components, or an overload of refrigerant.

3. Icy Air Conditioner Coils

frozen air conditioning unit

Air conditioners can reach such low temperatures that their coils become encased in ice, necessitating a professional assessment to determine the appropriate solution. This situation may appear contradictory to individuals without technical expertise, as both insufficient and excessive levels of refrigerant can result in ice accumulation. Consulting with a qualified technician is the most effective strategy to identify and address the underlying issue.

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4. Loud Air Condition Compressor Noises

Woman covering ear with pillows due to loud AC compressor

A certain level of noise from the compressor is expected, with owners typically becoming accustomed to the standard sounds it makes during startup or while running. However, if there’s a sudden onset of unusual noises, like a loud squealing, it clearly indicates something is amiss. These unexpected sounds can often be attributed to the system struggling to manage excessive high-pressure liquid refrigerant.

5. Unexpected Cooling System Failure

Designers of cooling systems build safeguards to protect the equipment, incorporating safety features that can cause an abrupt shutdown to prevent damage. An overload of refrigerant is a condition that can compromise the air conditioner, prompting such a protective shutdown. It’s advisable to restart the system with an HVAC professional inspecting the unit first to diagnose the issue.

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6. Uneven Air Conditioner Pressure

Too much refrigerant can lead to imbalanced pressure levels within the air conditioning system, a key sign of trouble. Yet, the average homeowner might need help to measure these variances precisely. If you suspect uneven pressure is affecting your unit, having a technician perform a detailed inspection is a straightforward way to confirm the issue.

Causes of Excessive Refrigerant in Air Conditioners

A shortfall in refrigerant typically stems from leaks, where the AC initially had enough coolant but lost it over time. Sealing these leaks and recharging the system restores its efficiency. Conversely, the issue of excess refrigerant can arise from several scenarios:

Improper Air Conditioner Setup

The roots of this problem may be traced back to the initial installation. Choosing experienced professionals for the installation is crucial, as their expertise significantly influences the system’s performance, energy efficiency, and durability. An oversight in installing excessive refrigerant could lead to persistent problems in your cooling system.

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Unskilled Air Conditioning Repairs

To cut costs, some homeowners turn to amateurs for air conditioning repairs, gambling on the outcome due to their limited expertise compared to certified technicians. These inexperienced individuals may inadvertently overcharge the system while repairing refrigerant leaks. Remember that regulations mandate that only licensed professionals manage refrigerant handling and disposal.

Schedule annual inspections with licensed and reputable HVAC professionals to catch any potential issues early and keep your system running smoothly. Call Modern Comfort today!

Consequences of Having an Overcharged Air Conditioning Unit

An overcharged air conditioning unit can have several detrimental effects on its operation and efficiency.

Diminished Cooling Equipment Performance and Efficiency

couple lounging in front of AC but still feeling warm depicting diminished performance

Excess refrigerant can severely impact the cooling system’s effectiveness, leading to dissatisfaction with its performance. You may notice a marked decrease in the unit’s ability to cool indoor areas, a problem that becomes glaringly apparent in the summer heat. Additionally, the system struggles with the refrigerant’s phase conversion from gas to liquid and back, resulting in a significant drop in efficiency until the issue is resolved.

Damage to Air Conditioner Valves and Connecting Rods

When overcharged, the refrigerant in its liquid form can seep into the compressor’s cylinders, a condition not intended by design. This can cause significant damage to the valves, which are not built to withstand such scenarios and can lead to issues with the connecting rods. Have certified HVAC technicians inspect and address these problems promptly to prevent further deterioration of the system.

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Compressor Motor Burnout in Air Conditioner

An overcharge can cause liquid refrigerant to leak into the crankcase, contaminating the oil. This results in a significant increase in crankcase pressure, putting undue stress on the compressor motor. Unable to withstand this pressure over time, the engine may burn out, rendering it useless. In such cases, the only solution often left is to replace the entire cooling system.

What Homeowners Can Do to Avoid Overcharged AC Symptoms

Modern Comfort Team

Dealing with an overcharged air conditioner is critical for maintaining safety and functionality. If you believe your air conditioner is overcharged, it’s essential to shut it down immediately and seek assistance from a qualified HVAC technician. Such professionals are equipped to assess the refrigerant levels and make the necessary adjustments accurately. They’ll also address any damage caused by the overcharge, ensuring a swift restoration of your system’s performance.

Rely on our team of certified technicians for expert installation, repairs, and maintenance of your air conditioning system.


Avoid shortcuts in air conditioner maintenance, installation, and repair. While amateur services may seem cost-effective initially, their lack of precision can lead to significant issues, such as overcharging the system, which ultimately requires professional intervention to rectify. Opting for certified technicians right from the start ensures seamless operation and peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of your air conditioning system without unnecessary complications.

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Modern Comfort is a leading provider of top-tier heating and cooling solutions in Central Maryland and Southern and Central Pennsylvania. Our team comprises highly skilled, professionally certified technicians who offer exceptional HVAC tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. Each technician brings extensive knowledge and experience, ensuring your HVAC system receives the highest standard of care.

At Modern Comfort, we pride ourselves on offering the region’s most competitive heating and cooling services prices. Our maintenance services can enhance your comfort, boost your system’s energy efficiency, and lower your heating and cooling expenses. 

Should you require HVAC repair or are considering a system replacement, our experts are on hand to recommend the most suitable options for your home, always mindful of your budget. We stand behind our work with a comprehensive satisfaction guarantee. To arrange a service visit and receive a free, in-home estimate, contact Modern Comfort today.

Call us to book a service appointment. We offer free in-home estimates, ensuring you have all the necessary information to make the best decision for your HVAC system. Trust Modern Comfort to deliver exceptional service that exceeds your expectations!

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