How to Tell if Your Air Conditioner Needs Freon

Posted on Wednesday, June 26, 2013

ac_btnGenerally, people think that because the air coming from their registers feels too warm or their house isn’t cooling off fast enough, it means that their A/C unit must need Freon. Air conditioning systems are sealed and should never leak Freon. If your air conditioner is leaking Freon, there is a problem, such as a possible break in the hose or other serious malfunction. You need to have a qualified HVAC technician repair the leak to prevent further damage to you’re A/C unit.

An A/C system can still produce cool air even if it has lost up to 50% of its original refrigerant charge. Even so, output will be reduced. If the system is working properly, it should blow air that is approximately 50 degrees cooler than the ambient air temperature.

Poor cooling, however, doesn’t necessarily mean the refrigerant is low. You might have another kind of problem. So to determine the cause, a skilled professional who understands air conditioning should diagnose the system.

If your A/C system has a “sight glass” (a small round glass window usually located on or near the receiver/drier or accumulator), you can “see” inside the system. Refrigerant is clear, making it hard to tell if the system is full or empty. If the glass looks clear and there is no cold air output, the system has lost its charge of refrigerant through a leak somewhere in the system. If you see bubbles or foam in the sight glass, it means the system is low on refrigerant and needs to be recharged.

Common signs A/C is low on Refrigerant

– You feel low airflow coming from registers
– Air starts to feel warmer from registers
– Water on floor by your furnace
– Ice building up on copper lines from a/c to indoor coil
– High electrical usage
– House takes longer than normal to cool off

These are typical signs but remember, the majority of problems are something else besides being low on refrigerant. Having you’re A/C cleaned and tested annually by an HVAC company can save you a lot of money over the years.

It is illegal to add Freon unless you are a certified HVAC mechanic. If you notice any of the common signs mentioned above, contact Mckinnon for assistance from our qualified and certified HVAC technicians.

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