How to Tell if You Need More Refrigerant in Your Air Conditioner (Freon)
This is a common question we get from New Jersey residents, particularly as summer approaches:
“How do I know if I need to replace the refrigerant in my air conditioner?”
To begin with, in an ideal world, your air conditioner should never need additional refrigerant. Refrigerants do not get used up like gasoline in your car.
So if there’s a leak anywhere, you’ll just need more refrigerant. And you’ll need an AC technician to test the amount of refrigerant in your air conditioner to be sure. (This is one of the reasons it’s a good idea to schedule a maintenance visit once a year.)
However, there are some indicators that will help you figure it out. Here are five indicators that your air conditioner needs more refrigerant.
- Your air conditioner works all day but never cools your house.
Your air conditioning system’s refrigerant is in charge of extracting heat from your indoor air and then discharging it outside.
If your air conditioner is running low on refrigerant, it won’t be able to absorb as much heat from your house. As a result, your air conditioner will work nonstop, never cooling your house.
2. Energy costs that are too big
You’ll rack up a large cooling bill while your air conditioner works nonstop and try to cool your house. Of course, anything else could be to blame for the astronomically high energy bill (like closing your air vents).
So, before you leap to conclusions, check out some of the other indicators on this page, such as…
3. The air coming out of the vents isn’t particularly cold.
Your air conditioner won’t be able to extract as much heat from the air in your home if there isn’t enough refrigerant. As a result, the air blowing from the vents would be warmer than normal.
There might be less air blowing out of the vents in some situations.
Without enough refrigerant, an air conditioner will actually freeze and transform into a large block of ice. The ice on the inside of the air conditioner reduces the amount of air that comes out of the vents by blocking the air flow.
And while we’re on the subject of ice…
- Your refrigerant lines have ice on them.
Examine the refrigerant lines from the outside. Is it possible that they have ice on them?
Low freon charge causes ice to form on refrigerant lines..
When your inside air conditioner freezes due to low refrigerant, ice will form along the refrigerant lines all the way to the outside device. Of course, you should be experiencing the symptoms mentioned above by now.
- Noise of hissing or bubbling
Since most refrigerant leaks are small, they go unnoticed. When your air conditioner is working, however, a large leak will cause it to hiss or bubble.
Remember to Get the Leaks Patched
Allowing an AC contractor to simply “top you off” with refrigerant is not a good idea. Keep in mind that if your air conditioner is running low on refrigerant, it is leaking somewhere. You’ll be low again soon if you just refill it.
A good air conditioning technician, like the ones at Celestial Air, would tell you if you have a leak and offer to repair it. Some businesses, on the other hand, do not do this because they would rather charge you to keep coming back and filling up your machine.
Furthermore, doing it correctly takes time. Fixing a refrigerant leak entails the following steps:
Getting rid of all the refrigerant in the device (called evacuating the system)
Detecting and repairing the leak
Putting the patch to the test
Adding the proper amount of refrigerant to your air conditioner