In a perfect world, your air conditioner should never need more refrigerant because it’s not used up like gas in a car. So you only need more refrigerant if there is a leak somewhere and to know that for sure, you need an AC technician to measure the amount of refrigerant in your air conditioner. This is one reason a yearly maintenance visit is a good idea. Your technician will advise you if the leak can be repaired or if you need to replace the part or system.
How Does the Refrigeration Process Work?
The refrigerant in your air conditioning system is responsible for absorbing heat from your indoor air and then dumping it outside. If your AC is low on refrigerant, it can’t absorb as much heat from your home. Low refrigerant leads to an air conditioner that runs nonstop and never cools your home. The refrigerant is a fluid that is used to transfer the heat from one area to another. The chemical circulates through the system. The refrigerant levels need to stay at a fixed amount or the process will not work.
What Type of Refrigerate Will I Need?
If your air conditioner was manufactured prior to 2010, it will use HCFC-22. R-22, or Freon. Freon, is damaging to the earth’s ozone layer and is being phased out and replaced with more environmentally friendly refrigerants. The most common replacement for R-22 in central air conditioners is R410A, also known as Puron. The type of refrigerant will depend on the age, make and model of your unit. The type you will need is usually listed on the nameplate on the outdoor condenser of your air conditioner.
Do I Need to Hire a Professional to Recharge my Refrigerant?
The short answer is that you should leave this home maintenance task up to the professionals. There are significant risks associated with handling refrigerants if you aren’t properly trained with the right equipment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, handling this ingredient puts you at risk for toxicity, flammability, asphyxiation, and other ailments related to the toxic nature of this chemical.
What are the Laws in Regard to Handling Refrigerant?
The EPA stipulates that it is a law to have a professional who is certified perform this task. Before you hire an HVAC technician to come out to your home, make sure that you ask whether they have their EPA certification. They should also have a card to verify that they are indeed certified. Refrigerants must be approved by the EPA. Any person working on Air conditioner must be certified under section 609 of the CAA and they must have approved refrigerant handling equipment. Before adding new refrigerant the technician must locate and repair the leak and then add more refrigerant.
What are the signs of a Refrigerant Leak?
Signs Your AC is Low on Refrigerant…
- Your AC System Is Making a Hissing or Bubbling Noise. Because air conditioners do not technically use up refrigerant like gas, the primary reason for low levels of refrigerant is a leak.
- There Is Ice Buildup on Your AC System. …
- Your AC System Is Taking Too Long to Cool. …
- Your Energy Bills Have Increased
With summer in full swing you surely do not want to experience an uncomfortable home. Follow these steps…
- Turn your air conditioner off
- Turn the thermostat fan on for a few hours to help thaw any frozen components
- Contact your HVAC technician
Licenced HVAC technicians are trained in safe use of refrigerants and can handle the equipment and chemicals safely without running any sort of risk.
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