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Does Low Freon Affect Your AC Compressor? If So, How To Tell If The Freon Is Low?

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The refrigerant plays a crucial role in the heat exchange process of your air conditioner. You might be concerned, nevertheless, about whether low refrigerant will harm the AC compressor.

Running a compressor with insufficient freon in its system puts its parts at serious risk. Low freon levels may result in an early failure of your compressor unit or the failure of other internal components.

That was fairly simple to understand. Continue reading as we address further pertinent concerns about this subject. So with that, let’s get started!

What Is The Process Of An AC Compressor?

Does Low Freon Affect Your AC Compressor? If So, How To Tell If The Freon Is Low?

It would be preferable if we first talked about the operation of your compressor. This will help you to better comprehend how your compressor cycles freon throughout its system.

Your AC compressor is housed in the condenser unit. Here, the condenser coils are used to dissipate heat as the refrigerant cools. Heat naturally moves from warmer to cooler environments.

While moving through the evaporator coils, liquid freon is compressed, transforming it into a 40° F cold gas. When the refrigerant reaches this temperature, it may transfer heat from the air to the compressor.

Here’s a detailed explanation of how your compressor operates:

  1. Low-pressure superheated gas containing the refrigerant is delivered to the compressor.
  2. The superheated gas is compressed by the compressor, raising its pressure. The refrigerant consequently changes into hot gas.
  3. From the compressor to the condenser coils, heated gas travels. The refrigerant changes from a gas to a liquid as it passes through the condenser coils. The refrigerant emits heat through the condenser coils when it transforms states.
  4. At the conclusion of its loop, the refrigerant is a chilly liquid. Next, it moves toward the restriction.
  5. The limitation controls how much refrigerant is fed to the evaporator coils.
  6. As long as your air conditioner is running, this process keeps going.

Note that some compressors have the ability to reverse this procedure. In that situation, heated air rather than cold air is produced.

Will A Compressor Work If The Freon Is Low?

The primary job of the compressor in your air conditioner is to compress the refrigerant, which results in a pressure differential that allows the refrigerant to flow continuously.

If the refrigerant level drops below the safe level, the compressor of the air conditioner might not turn on. A compressor that operates with insufficient freon risked early failure or internal component failure.

Therefore, avoid using an AC with insufficient freon to prevent further stressing your compressor or its components.

To get this issue resolved for you, call the HVAC service location that is closest to you.

What Kind Of Freon Does My Air Conditioner Use?

The refrigerants used in air conditioning systems have changed over time. These include hydrochlorofluorocarbons, commonly known as R-22 and chlorofluorocarbons, or CFC-12 and HCFC-22, respectively.

The phase-out of CFC freon took place in the 1990s. The U.S. Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer were the legal foundations for the phase-out.

The United States will no longer allow the manufacture or importing of new HCFC-22 as of January 1, 2020. However, older air conditioners created before 2010 are still allowed to use HCFC-22.

Additionally, there is still a supply of used HCFC-22 freon that has been sanitized and altered to comply with the new freon regulations.

Other ozone-friendly freon types, such as the hydrofluorocarbons HFCs R410A, are used in air conditioning systems produced after 2010. According to the EPA, these HFCs are sold under a variety of reputable trade names, including;

  • Puron®
  • SUVA 410A®
  • 410A Forane

How Can I Tell If The Freon In My AC Compressor Is Low?

Does Low Freon Affect Your AC Compressor? If So, How To Tell If The Freon Is Low?

One of the crucial parts of your air conditioning system is the compressor. Therefore, if the freon level in your compressor drops to a dangerously low level, your air conditioner won’t work correctly.

The uncomfortableness of your home will be negatively impacted by running your compressor with little freon.

In order to detect the issue and, therefore, map out a course of action to address it, it is imperative to be aware of the warning indications of low freon levels in your AC compressor.

The typical indications of low freon levels in your compressor are as follows:

It Takes A While For Your House To Cool Down

Your air conditioner must work harder to meet the increased demand for airflow when your compressor is experiencing low freon. Within three hours, your air conditioner should cool a home with four bedrooms by ten degrees Fahrenheit.

But how well your air conditioner cools your house depends on a number of factors, including its cooling capability, age, and how diligently you maintain it.

The freon levels in your air conditioner may be low if it takes too long to chill your house. To have it recharged and return the air conditioner to its peak performance, get in touch with an HVAC expert.

Warm Or Hot Air Is Blown By Vents

Low freon levels may be one of the issues indicated by vents blowing hot or heated air, among other issues.

Never Achieves Correct Thermal Set Point On Thermostat

Summertime thermostat settings should be between 70 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Your compressor may have a freon problem if your thermostat has difficulties adjusting temperatures to the desired thermal level.

Increases In Your Energy Bills

By contrasting your most recent and past electricity bills, you can spot low freon issues. As the AC works more to cool your house in order to make up for its efficiency, your cooling cost goes up.

Evaporator Coil Ice

Problems with low freon can reduce the evaporator’s capacity to absorb heat. As a result, the evaporator coils are unable to absorb enough heat to raise the temperature of the refrigerant. As a result, as the coil cools, moisture will condense along its length.

As was already indicated, the temperature of the freon that flows through the evaporator coils is 40° F. The evaporator will produce moisture and eventually cause your coil to ice up if it operates below this heat threshold.

Water Spillage

Low freon damages other crucial HVAC system components in addition to your compressor unit.

A puddle may occur around the furnace if ice that has formed on the evaporator coils melts. The furnace can start to corrode as it is exposed to more water if the issue is not fixed. Please be aware that it is recommended to assign the problem’s resolution to an HVAC specialist.

Is The Overheating Of The Compressor Caused By Low Refrigerant?

When the compressor unit cannot circulate enough freon, the AC system may start to malfunction. The compressor may overheat as a result. Keep an eye out for a strong burning smell to spot compressor overheating problems.

What Signs Point To A Freon Leak In My AC?

These days, you can accurately check for a freon leak problem utilizing freon detection equipment. Additionally, check the low freon level in your HVAC system using the checklists we gave above.

Finding excess freon in a room or business building can also be done with the use of a very sophisticated freon leakage detector. These sensors are capable of precisely detecting the gas’s existence and showing measurements of freon gas on the screen.

Due to the high toxicity of freon, these cutting-edge tools are useful when testing needs to be done far away. Therefore, quick action is required to prevent the freon leak from getting worse.

Can You Manually Add Freon To Your Air Conditioner?

Does Low Freon Affect Your AC Compressor? If So, How To Tell If The Freon Is Low?

Although it is possible, it is not recommended to refill your air conditioner unit yourself. Your attempt to address the issue can end up making your air conditioner’s poor condition worse or putting you in danger.

Furthermore, your freon may only be safely recharged by a professional HVAC expert. Freon is extremely poisonous and highly flammable. Therefore, improper handling can result in major health concerns, such as:

  • Fainting
  • Coughing
  • breath problems
  • heartburn feeling
  • In the worst situation, it could cause vision loss or eye inflammation.

As a result, we firmly advise against refilling freon yourself unless you have the necessary expertise, training, or knowledge. If not, dial an HVAC professional and ask them to recharge your air conditioner so it can start up again.

Compressor And Freon Lifespan Expectations

Your compressor and freon should last 12 to 15 years if you always perform the recommended service maintenance on your AC system. However, this typical lifespan can change based on how well-maintained your compressor or overall AC system is.


This article demonstrates how a low freon level in your AC coil will definitely result in long-term compressor damage. Keep in mind that your HVAC system needs a number of crucial components to function your compressor properly.

Your compressor will last longer if you are aware of the symptoms of low freon in your air conditioning system. Additionally, take appropriate action and examine your surroundings if you suspect a freon leak issue near your HVAC system. Please handle freon with the utmost caution since it is extremely harmful.

Does Low Freon Affect Your AC Compressor? If So, How To Tell If The Freon Is Low?

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