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How To Inspect Freon In A Central AC Unit

How To Inspect Freon In A Central AC Unit

It’s possible that there are problems with the freon in the system if you find that your central air conditioner isn’t cooling your home as effectively as it once did. You might be considering whether you can perform this investigation on your own and, if so, how. We have looked at the best way to check a central air conditioner’s freon level and whether doing so is advised.

If you are not a licensed expert, it is preferable for you to call one if you have any reason to believe that your central air conditioning unit is low on freon. Despite the fact that you can purchase leak detectors, gauges, temperature probes, and other instruments, it’s possible that you won’t have the skills, information, or equipment needed to correctly identify and fix the refrigerant. To try to do so could be dangerous for you and your family.

Some HVAC system issues can be resolved quickly and easily by the typical do-it-yourselfer. However, some problems will only need a professional diagnosis to be fixed correctly. While it may not be a good idea to check your own freon levels, there are signs you may look for to see if this is the root of your air conditioner system’s problem.

How Can You Tell If Freon Is Needed For Your Central Air Conditioner?

You might notice a freon shortage in your air conditioner rather fast. The air conditioner will give off a few signals when it needs to be recharged. Let’s examine some of the indications.

Electricity Prices Have Increased
Your electric cost may increase throughout the summer as a result of more frequent use of the air conditioner.

However, if you see a rise that is more pronounced than usual, this can indicate that the unit is working too hard. Additionally, it can be overworking as a result of a refrigerant leak or a component failure.

Ice Has Accumulated On The Refrigerant Line
There may be a leak and low freon if you notice a buildup or a block of ice in your refrigerant line. Around the line’s valves, you might also see ice chunks that have frozen.

How To Inspect Freon In A Central AC Unit

The System Takes More Time Than Normal To Cool Your House
The vented heat through your home won’t be absorbed as rapidly if there is an R22 leak. In turn, this makes it more challenging for the air conditioner to effectively transmit higher volumes of chilly air into your home.

It Is Dispersing Warm Air
The nearest vent should be the first item you examine. The air conditioner will start to blow warm air instead of chilly air if the refrigerant level is low.

Put your palm up against the nearest vent and feel the temperature of the air to test this. The likelihood is that the coolant level is adequate if the air is still cold. However, if it’s lukewarm, you might want to move on to the other inspections because the refrigerant level might be low.

Verify The Blower Fan
For this test, go to your thermostat and switch the air conditioner to the “On” position. The blower fan in the back of your air conditioner should then be visually inspected. The fan ought to be turning.

It may be a fan, motor, or electrical problem rather than a freon problem if it doesn’t start moving after you switch on the appliance.

Of course, you should never put your hand inside the fan because doing so could be dangerous. The best course of action would be to contact a qualified technician to determine why the fan isn’t functioning.

Obstructed Air Filter
Most people are unaware of how seriously a clogged air filter may completely ruin a central air system. In addition to limiting airflow, it can also make your air conditioner work harder.

The compressor may then burn out too soon as a result of this. The entire system will stop working if this does place. At least once a month, make sure to check your filter, and replace or clean it as necessary.

Evaporator Coil Freeze
The presence of frozen evaporator coils in a unit with low refrigerant may seem unhelpful. The low pressure brought on by the low refrigerant levels is the source of this.

The evaporator coils’ temperature will drop due to the low Freon level, resulting in freezing. And if this occurs, the surrounding moisture in the air outdoors may cause the coils to become entirely encased in ice.

A Hissing Noise Is Coming From The Device
Additionally, keep an ear out for any hissing noise coming from the air conditioner itself. Low freon levels are almost always the result of leaks.

As the freon escapes through the refrigerant line or valves, you may hear a bubbling or faint hissing sound coming from the appliance if the leak is reasonably substantial.

Try listening in several locations to identify the leak region because the sound could originate from a variety of different parts around the line.

Get An Electronic Leak Detector
Additionally, more advanced methods of finding leaks in your air conditioner have been made possible by modern technologies.

Electronic detectors are now available that can identify a freon leak in your system. The detector will produce a beep or show a visual indication if there is a leak.

Before using the detector, be sure to read the directions on it because certain models may not be as reliable as others—especially in particular weather situations.

A diagnosis from a qualified HVAC specialist is always advised, though, as they have more dependable and sophisticated tools.

Can I Charge My Own Home Air Conditioner?

How To Inspect Freon In A Central AC Unit

Despite the fact that you can recharge your air conditioner manually, it’s not really advised. It’s likely that, unless you’re a trained HVAC specialist, you lack the equipment, skills, and understanding required to complete the operation.

If you decide to attempt to complete this task on your own, be sure to learn as much as you can. It may even be beneficial to have a brief consultation with a certified professional HVAC technician.

Why Isn’t My Air Conditioner Cooling The House Even Though It’s Running?

The air conditioner could be running for a variety of reasons without really lowering the indoor temperature.

Most likely, the motor is functioning well, but we are having cooling problems due to a problem with another component. This is frequently brought on by inadequate refrigerant levels, broken thermostats, obstructed air filters, or frozen evaporator coils.

How Frequently Does A Home AC Need Freon?

You shouldn’t need to add any freon to the unit at all if your air conditioner is functioning properly. The likelihood is that the air conditioner will leak at some point throughout its lifespan. These leaks are what will require a recharge.

Refrigerant for air conditioners may leak directly from the line, from damaged or malfunctioning valves, or from other places. Do some troubleshooting if you think your air conditioner’s refrigerant level may be low in order to eliminate any other possible problems.

What Is The Price To Install R22 In An Air Conditioner?

How To Inspect Freon In A Central AC Unit

Depending on where you live, the cost to install R22 in your air conditioning system might range from $100 to more than $300.

If you have HVAC knowledge or feel comfortable handling this work yourself, you can also buy freon. A pound of freon can cost anywhere between $100 and $150.

Is Running An AC With Low Freon Bad?

Yes. If there is a significant leak in the unit, running your AC when the freon level is low can be harmful. A significant refrigerant leak could allow it to seep through your home’s vents, posing a risk to you and your family members.

This is why if you think there might be a refrigerant leak, it’s advisable to turn the unit off right once and contact an HVAC expert.


If an air conditioner’s refrigerant level is not quickly replenished, the system may overwork and break down.

And if you think your refrigerant levels are low, never forget to check your vents, thermostat, air filter, and blower fan. By doing this, you can help eliminate any potential complications.

How To Inspect Freon In A Central AC Unit

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Written by HVAC Contributor

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