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How to Check if Your AC Unit Needs Freon

Check AC Unit

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If your air conditioner is not performing as well as it used to, finding out if it needs more Freon could help enhance cooling capabilities.

During peak summer, when the AC runs for the most part of the day, homeowners often worry if their machine is running low on Freon. As in that case, you need to recharge the refrigerant stat for optimized cooling.

If you’ve discovered a dip in your unit’s cooling efficiency i.e., it does not produce the required amount of cold air it should, it probably needs a Freon refill. After all, regardless of the brand or model you use, the AC won’t run without snags all its life.

That’s why in this guide, we share simple ways to check the refrigerant level of an AC unit so you can get a recharge if required.

Without further ado, let’s get down to business.

Signs That Your Air Conditioner Needs A Freon Recharge

Let’s start with the basics; several things could be creating a problem in your air conditioner. Meaning you need to ascertain without a doubt that the Freon level in the AC is below adequate before arranging for a recharge. Therefore, look for these signs as they usually imply low Freon level in your machine.

  1. Warm air

Typically, when your machine is running dry, it will start to blow warm air instead of cold air. In some cases, there’s altogether less air coming out from the vents, meaning the unit could run all day without making much difference.

  1. Ice on the exterior component

The evaporator coil of the external AC component freezes when the unit runs on low refrigerant. The surrounding moisture turns into ice and accumulates on the lines and other parts of the machine.

  1. High power bills

If your AC has a refrigerant issue, it has to work harder and run longer to bring down the room temperature. Obviously, when that happens, it’ll result in a spike in energy bills. 

  1. Hissing sounds

Another indication of low Freon level are hissing sounds from the unit. Generally, these sounds occur when the refrigerant has leaked from a part of the unit. Also, the noise could be coming from the vents or anywhere along the refrigerant line. 

How to Check If Your Air Conditioner Needs Freon

While some minor air conditioner maintenance tasks can be performed through DIY means, you should not attempt anything advanced that needs technical intervention and expertise. As that could lead to costly repairs or damage to the machine.

On that note, we’ve listed some simple checks you can undertake to verify if your machine is running on low Freon. Take a look now!

  1. Start with the fan

Check the fan mechanism and find out if there are any apparent issues with it. Meanwhile, assess the temperature of the air dispersed through the vents and ensure whether the thermostat is working properly. The inspection should be done while the air conditioner is switched on.

The fan must start moving automatically, but in case it doesn’t, there could be some problems with the motor. However, do not, at any point, put your hand inside the fan as this is extremely dangerous. If there is any problem with the fan’s motor, consult a professional right away.  

  1. Inspect the filter

More often than not, the air filters clog up with debris and dirt, thereby minimizing cooling efficiency. If you’re comfortable with inspecting the filters, ensure that they are unclogged and clean. Cleaning the air filters thoroughly will get your system up and running, especially if dirt accumulation was hampering the airflow.

  1. Check for frost

In case the coolant is leaking, your air conditioning unit will start to malfunction. Fortunately, it’s easy to detect a leak since ice build-up starts to develop on the motor, tubes, and other system components.

If you notice frost accumulating on your unit, get in touch with a professional to sort out the problem. Since coolants can harm you if mishandled, it’s best to leave it in experienced hands.

Advanced Leak Detection Methods

  1. Soap Test

Soap solution is one the cheapest and oldest fail-safe ways to detect any leak in your air conditioner unit. Simply apply a solution of water and soap onto the area where you suspect there might be a leak. That way, if any refrigerant is escaping, you will notice bubbles. 

However, this method is an effective one as long as there’s a continuous leak, but if the discharge is too little, this technique may not bear any results. 

  1. Electronic Detectors

Also commonly known as sniffers, an electronic detector will provide a visual indication or emit noise as soon as it discovers a leak. There are several different models you can choose from as they are readily available at electronics stores or online. However, the results may not be completely accurate if the weather is too windy.

After you have carried out all the maintenance tasks and the necessary checks, if you still face a cooling issue, then chances are that the Freon requires recharging.

Can I Recharge Freon Myself?

Once you discover that the Freon level in your air conditioner has taken a dip, you should straight away arrange for a refill. Do not delay solving this as low refrigerant levels will not only make your home uncomfortable but also severely damage major components in the machine. 

Besides, if the refrigerant makes way to the external unit, it could damage the compressor beyond repair. That being said, replacing the compressor is an expensive affair, and most users instead end up buying a new unit. Therefore, it makes sense to get the Freon level topped up before it starts wreaking havoc.

Although it may sound like a simple task to refill the Freon in your AC, and it could seem like something you can manage while also saving money. Nevertheless, recharging Freon is quite dangerous, so we recommend not attempting to do it. Mainly because homeowners do not have the professional know-how to carry out the recharge.

Therefore, contacting a professional is the best course of action. An AC technician will not only refill the Freon but also thoroughly check the unit to locate if there’s any other problem. Furthermore, getting your unit fully checked will ensure that your air conditioner performs at optimum capacity without any glitches.

Also, calling in a professional at the right time will reduce the risk of costly repairs and replacement while also extending the lifespan of the machine.

Technician is checking air conditioner ,measuring equipment for filling air conditioners.

Conclusion

While it’s not possible to altogether avoid Freon leaks, you can undertake regular maintenance to ensure that your AC is in the best shape. In case you’re not much of a DIY-er, get in touch with a technician to clean the unit and make sure that everything works fine.

On that note, we’ve come to the end of our guide, and we hope your queries are resolved. If you’ve some more tips to share, put them in the comments section below.

Till next time!

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