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How Often Do You Need to Add Freon to an Air Conditioner Unit?

How Often Do You Need to Add Freon to an Air Conditioner Unit?

However, many people aren’t sure how much ac refrigerant is needed or when it is needed. The short answer to this question is that it should almost never be needed. 

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So, why is this? Why does adding Freon come with such paradoxical rules? Keep reading this article to find out.

What is Freon?

Every AC system needs air conditioning refrigerant to run. This is the lifeblood of the AC system and the material that allows the system to create cool air. Without it, no air conditioning is possible. 

Freon is the name brand of a type of air conditioner refrigerant. However, this name brand was so omnipresent for a while that people began to refer to all refrigerants as “Freon,” even when they were different brands. So, nowadays, when people say “Freon,” they may refer to the actual name-brand product or any other type of AC refrigerant.  

AC Freon

How Often Do You Need to Add Freon to an Air Conditioner Unit?

Adding Freon to the system is never necessary if an Air Conditioner unit functions properly. The system doesn’t use up refrigerant in order to operate. Instead, the refrigerant running through the system exists in a closed loop, where the refrigerant that was used returns to the beginning and makes its way through again. Because of this, AC units don’t need to have their Freon levels constantly replenished.

However, problems can always happen. An air conditioner refrigerant leak may allow refrigerant to leave the system, or a connection piece may be loose enough for some liquid to escape. When this happens, the refrigerant level will deplete and must be replaced. 

This is a point where some disingenuous repair companies come in. Some companies will offer to replenish refrigerant levels repeatedly without fixing the leak. Instead, they will insist that the problem must be regularly addressed to keep getting business. 

This is why choosing an honest AC repair company is just as important as choosing a reliable one. Any professional HVAC technician can check the refrigerant levels and bring them up to where they need to be. However, an honest technician will also offer to repair any leaks in the system. 

How to Know If Your HVAC Unit Needs Refrigerant

When your AC system is installed, it will have all the refrigerant it needs to run. The system shouldn’t need more unless there is a problem. So, it isn’t an issue that you should worry about on a regular basis. 

However, you should still know how to look for problems. Knowing how to do this will allow you to know when your HVAC unit needs refrigerant. More importantly, it will also let you know when your system needs to be repaired. 

Common Signs of AC Refrigerant Leak

The best way to determine if you have an air conditioner refrigerant leak is to be on the lookout for the signs. Doing so will let you know a leak exists so you can take the steps necessary to fix it. 

1. AC Is On But Not Cooling

The most obvious sign that you have a refrigerant leak is if the AC is running but not producing cold air. It will still blow air and register that the air conditioning is on. However, the air won’t actually feel that different. Instead, the system will blow air that is about room temperature or maybe just a little colder than that. 

This happens because the system is running with low levels of refrigerant. The unit can’t cool the air without the refrigerant, even though it is trying to. So, it cools the air as much as possible and sends it into the room.  

2. Higher Utility Bills

Higher Utility Bills

A lack of refrigerant prevents an AC system from working as well as it should. We know the air it produces won’t be as cold as normal. However, the thermostat will read that the room isn’t as cold as it should be, so it will cause the system to run even more. Yet, this still won’t get the room cold, so it will continue to run on and on. 

All this extra work takes extra energy. In some cases, the costs of running a system like this will start to add up. This reaches the point where it will be noticeable on utility bills. If running the AC system suddenly seems to cost more money than it used to, there may be a problem. 

3. There’s Frost or Ice Buildup on the Evaporator Coils

AC Evaporator coils get cold naturally. This, combined with the fact that they are open to the air, means that the moisture from the natural humidity in the air has a chance to freeze on these coils. This can sometimes lead to ice building up on the coils themselves. 

This happens even more often when the system is low on refrigerant. At first, this may seem counterintuitive. After all, it seems like less refrigerant should make the system warmer rather than colder. 

However, less refrigerant means that the system is able to absorb heat less. So, the remaining refrigerant will stay very cold, even colder than it should be. This is why a lack of refrigerant will cause even more frost and ice buildup.

This gives a physical sign that something is wrong. Simply checking the coils will allow you to stay on top of this issue. 

Call Maitz Home Service for AC Repair

Maitz Home Services - Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Heating

If you suspect that your AC system needs refrigerant or want to double-check to be sure, the best way to find out is to call a professional. Maitz Home Services has HVAC experts who can help with this exact problem. 

We specialize in providing honest and reliable AC repairs and maintenance. We’ll check your refrigerant levels and fix the issue if something is wrong. If the issue is urgent, we even offer 24-hour emergency repair service. So, no matter what you need or when you need it, book our services, and we’ll be there.