This test measures the amount of refrigerant that is installed or “charged” into an air conditioner or heat pump. The refrigerant is the working fluid. It is compressed and becomes a liquid as it enters the condenser. The hot liquid is cooled in the condenser and flows to the evaporator where it released through the expansion valve. When the pressure is released, the refrigerant expands into a gas and cools. Air is passed over the evaporator to provide the space cooling. When an air conditioner or heat pump has too much refrigerant (overcharged) the compressor may be damaged. When an air conditioner has too little refrigerant (undercharged), the efficiency of the unit is reduced. A thermostatic expansion valve (TXV) can mitigate the impact of improper refrigerant charge.

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