Air conditioning systems usually cool air by absorbing heat from the air before releasing the air back into a given room. It is the refrigerant that performs the absorption function that is necessary for this cooling process to take place. This makes the refrigerant an important part of any air conditioning system.
The refrigerant moves in and out of a unit's coils by way of refrigerant lines. These lines need to be well-insulated for an air conditioning system to function properly. Any exposure to the external environment usually causes a number of problems. Here are some of them.
Decreased system efficiency
It is at an air conditioning system's coils that air gets cooled. This usually happens when the refrigerant changes states – from a liquid state to a gaseous state. For this change to happen, the refrigerant has to absorb heat. Some of the heat that it absorbs usually comes from the air that passes over the coils.
However, in cases where the lines transporting the refrigerant are not shielded from the environment by insulation, the amount of heat that the refrigerant absorbs from the air tends to be less. This is because exposed lines cause the refrigerant to absorb some heat from the environment before it reaches the coils. By the time it reaches the coils, it needs less heat to change into gas form.
With the capacity of the refrigerant to absorb heat from the air passing over the coils reduced, an air conditioner will take longer to cool a given space. This is something that usually results in an increase in the size of bills that a homeowner has to take care of.
Increased water damage risks
The pipes transporting a refrigerant are usually cold. Insulation usually helps to keep them from absorbing heat from the area through which they pass.
In cases where these pipes have missing or inadequate insulation, there is nothing to stop them from absorbing heat from the immediate environment. These pipes therefore tend to cool the air next to them, a process that usually has the effect of condensing air moisture. This creates a moisture problem.
If the uninsulated part of the refrigerant lines is in the roof, then the homeowner may have to deal with water damage losses. Moisture in the roofs can also lead to a mold problem. This is a problem that not only takes time and money to get rid of, but which may also affect the quality of air in a home.
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