Recharging Refrigerant - What You Need to Know

Recharging Refrigerant - What You Need to Know
Chemical refrigerants are the key to modern air conditioner cooling. Unfortunately, the coils through which we conduct that refrigerant can corrode and leak over time. That slow leakage eventually reduces coolant levels enough to impact performance. Which is why periodically fixing leaks and recharging refrigerant becomes essential to long term system performance.

When Should I Get the Refrigerant Recharged?

Homeowners always want to know, "When am I going to need to recharge the refrigerant?" They know that has to happen sometimes, but they don't know how or why. We're sorry to say that there is no easy answer to that question. Fact is, there is no specific time period in which to recharge a unit. If you built a truly leak-proof coil, the refrigerant would virtually never need to be recharged. You could operate a leak-proof air conditioner forever with the factory refrigerant. Since you can't, it's impossible to know exactly when a coil will develop sufficient leaks to require maintenance. Homeowners just have to be vigilant about their unit's performance. The biggest indicator that an air conditioner needs more refrigerant is that it stops cooling. The air is still blowing out of the vents, but it is not as cold as it used to be. Lukewarm or barely cool air can be an indication of very low refrigerant levels. Periodically inspecting the coil is also a good idea.

Can I Charge it Myself?

To which we always say, "No!" We highly recommend homeowners leave recharging refrigerant to the professionals. First, there's a lot of specialized equipment. Second, it's easy to screw up. Third, if you aren't a professional, recharging it yourself will likely void your warranty. Which I think we all can agree is a bad thing. So, keep an eye on your system, and if you see a performance drop get a professional to inspect it.

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