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Does Adding Freon to Your Air Conditioner Work?

November 23, 2013 | Blog

Here’s a common scenario: you take care of your air conditioner the best you can, changing the filters regularly, but it’s just not cooling like it used to. Many homeowners begin to wonder if their AC needs something, like more refrigerant. But can you just add freon to your system?

Refrigerant is Not a Consumable Item

In short, the answer to this question is “it depends,” but it’s not that simple. It’s important to understand that refrigerant isn’t like the engine oil or wiper fluid in your car, needing to be changed or added to regularly. This is because air conditioners aren’t open systems, meaning the refrigerant level should never change, and you should never “run low” on refrigerant. On day one, your AC is charged with the correct amount of freon, and that amount circulates through the coils unchanged.

Why does low refrigerant happen?

If your system is low on refrigerant, it typically means one of two things: it was never charged correctly or the freon escaped through a leak. Neither situation is a good thing. An air conditioner won’t run efficiently with the incorrect amount of refrigerant. Whether it’s slowly been leaking out of your system or the installation technician didn’t do the job correctly, low refrigerant means your cooling system hasn’t been working correctly.

Adding Refrigerant

Adding the appropriate amount of refrigerant is the right move when the system is ‘low’ and no leaks can be found. However, adding refrigerant when there’s even a small leak is poor workmanship on the technician’s part and bad for the environment, as the freon will inevitably leak out again. If the system has a leak, make sure it gets repaired before anything else happens. A big enough leak may even require complete replacement of the equipment.

If an HVAC technician ever tells you that a refrigerant leak has been fixed by adding more, they have decided against putting in the work to fix the leak and can’t be trusted to do a good job. In addition, watch out for a technician who tells you they had to add freon during maintenance despite no leak being present. It may be a scam.

If you’re concerned about your AC’s refrigerant levels, trust the experts at Mission AC to take care of it. Whether that means repairing a leak, adding freon or discovering a different problem, we’ll always put in the work and make sure your system is running well.

Contact us today to begin a service request.


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