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Is your air conditioner functioning less optimally than usual? If yes, then it might just be the time for recharging the refrigerant.
While recharging refrigerants is a task that’s best left to the professionals, you may be tempted to try it yourself. In this guide, we’re going to give you a brief look into how you can recharge a window air conditioner.
But before you take out the tools and unscrew the window AC unit, it’s best to understand a bit about the parts of a window AC and how they work together. So, let’s start the discussion with the basics.
How To Recharge A Window Air Conditioner
Taking A Look Inside
The following is a list of the significant components of a window air conditioner:
- The compressor, which pumps the refrigerant
- A sealed refrigerant tube
- A pair of evaporating and condensing coils
- A fan and a blower
- An expansion valve that circulates the refrigerant
- The control unit
- A filter
Window air conditioners use evaporation and condensation principles to cool down the surrounding air. In essence, the blower inside the unit sucks in the warm room air and passes it over the evaporator coils. The refrigerant absorbs this heat in the tube.
On absorbing heat, the refrigerant changes from the liquid to the gaseous state. This gaseous refrigerant then passes into the condensing coils, where it releases the excess heat outside and transforms back into a liquid state.
It’s the condenser’s job to change the refrigerant pressure and send it to the correct coils. Every AC unit has two parts: the cooling unit that sits inside the room and the heat-release unit outside the window. The parts are separated using an insulating layer.
Steps To Recharge A Window AC
Now that you know how a window air conditioner operates let’s check out the steps for recharging the refrigerant. You need to do this because, over time, the refrigerant chemical loses the capacity to absorb heat.
This impacts the evaporation-condensation process and leads to lower cooling efficiency. This is when you need to recharge the unit’s refrigerant using the following steps:
- Carefully unplug the air conditioner unit after turning off the power supply
- Open the unit as per your AC user manual; you’ll likely need a screwdriver for this
- Check the unit for leaks and signs of physical damage; if you find any, contact a professional
- Following the instructions for the refilling kit, attach the appropriate valves to the compressor and the refrigerant tube
- Fill in the required amount as specified in the user guide
- Reassemble the AC unit and plug it in
Once you’re sure everything is secure, turn on the unit, and crank up the setting to the highest levels. This will ensure that the refrigerant begins recirculating through the system automatically.
Should You Do It?
You now know how to recharge a window air conditioner, but the real question is, should you do it at all? Air conditioner refrigerants contain harmful chemicals that are detrimental to the environment. Too much of these chemicals in the atmosphere can lead to ozone layer depletion and global warming.
That’s why you always need to ensure that your unit uses an EPA-certified refrigerant. Simultaneously, the EPA requires by law that AC units be recharged by certified technicians who can correctly handle the refrigerants.
Also, often the real cause of a less-than-efficient AC may be dirt and dust in the system, and not the refrigerant at all. Only a professional HVAC expert can help you understand the problem’s actual cause and save you from unnecessarily handling refrigerants.
Recharging a window AC unit is easy if you follow all the instructions carefully and are absolutely sure that the unit needs a recharge. Otherwise, a simple cleaning operation might get the job done.
We recommend you try to do the primary cleaning yourself. Once that’s done, you can then turn the AC on and see if the cooling has improved. In case you find it hasn’t, only then should you try to recharge the refrigerant.
At the end of the day, it’s best to leave the task to professionals. This saves a lot of time as well as money in the long run, not to mention unnecessary hassles. But if you’re confident and the laws in your state allow it, you can always go ahead with the task.