How Often Does a Central AC Unit Need Charging with Refrigerant?
December 15, 2021
Ready to troubleshoot if your AC needs refrigerant?
If you’re wondering how frequently your AC needs recharging with refrigerant, the answer might surprise you: never! If your AC isn’t blowing cold air, a technician may tell you that it needs more Freon (refrigerant), but there’s likely an alternative solution that will yield better results in the long run.
To further explain and help you resolve any AC problems you might be experiencing, we’ll take a closer look at the following topics:
- Why your central AC should never need to be recharged with refrigerant
- Alternative solutions for fixing your AC
- Other reasons your AC may not be cooling well
Need a reliable professional to take a look at your AC?
Advanced Air has been serving customers in Southwest Florida and the surrounding areas for over 25 years. Our experienced techs always provide honest and effective AC repairs and AC installations to ensure that you stay cool and comfortable. Call us today at (888) 853-5143 or click the button below.
Why your central air conditioner should never need to be recharged with refrigerant
If you’re low on refrigerant, it’s escaping somehow, and adding more will not always solve the problem. Here’s why:
- Your AC will never use up refrigerant like gas in a car. The refrigerant absorbs heat from your home’s air and then disperses it outside (that’s why it’s called a heat transfer fluid). In this process, it turns from a liquid to a gas and back again to a liquid. The refrigerant does not diminish in this process.
- Your central air conditioner’s refrigerant is in a "sealed system," meaning it shouldn’t escape from your air conditioner. If it does, you will need to make sure it gets repaired.
Alternative solutions for fixing your AC
If your AC isn’t cooling properly, a technician shouldn't just measure the amount of refrigerant in your system and top it off. Instead, they should take the time to inspect your air filter, thermostat, and indoor and outdoor unit to look for a leak or other problems. Issues like a dirty air filter or frozen evaporator coils will cause more issues for you down the line.
Most often, a refrigerant leak is what's causing low refrigerant levels. A technician should search for a leak before recommending any solutions, including recharging your AC with refrigerant. If there’s a leak, adding more refrigerant will temporarily solve the problem before it continues to leak out of the system, and your AC will eventually stop blowing cold air again. Then you’ll be right back where you started.
Not only is unnecessarily recharging your AC refrigerant costly but overcharging your air conditioner can also damage it (for example, destroying the compressor motor). As a result, a technician should offer you other options, such as:
- Repairing the leak: The technician should locate the leak and then give you a quote to fix it. The price can vary depending on the leak's location. If you opt to repair it, the tech will remove all refrigerant from the system, repair the leak, recharge it with the correct amount of refrigerant, then test your AC to ensure no more leaks occur.
- Replacing the AC: If your AC requires frequent repairs, is more than 10 years old, or uses R-22 (a type of refrigerant that the government is phasing out), it may not make sense to spend a significant amount of money repairing the leak. In this instance, you’ll want to consider the cost of repairing or replacing your AC. If you end up replacing it, we have plenty of coupons to help install a new unit more affordable.
Other reasons your AC may not be cooling well
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a refrigerant leak may not be the only reason your AC isn’t cooling efficiently. Other potential causes may include:
- Thermostat issues: If your thermostat is not set correctly or malfunctioning, it could be the reason your AC isn’t cooling your home very well.
- Drainage problems: Your AC has a drain pan and a drain line for all the moisture it captures. If the drain line gets clogged, it can cause your AC to malfunction.
- Dirty filter: A clogged filter will restrict airflow through the system, making it less efficient and reducing its ability to keep your house cool.
If your AC isn’t doing its job, you should have a reliable technician look at it. They’ll provide recommendations and solutions to keep you cool and comfortable.
Want a Southwest Florida professional to inspect your AC? Contact Advanced Air.
Advanced Air can help you determine why your air conditioner isn’t cooling your home and fix it. We’ll offer effective and trustworthy solutions to prevent unpredictable breakdowns down the road. Give us a call today at (888) 853-5143 or contact us below to schedule your AC repair and find out why we have more 5-star reviews than any other air conditioning company in the Southwest Florida area.
- Posted in:
- Air Conditioning