During the hot summer months, the air conditioner can run up the electric bill considerably. If for any reason it is operating inefficiently then this will run the cost up even more. One problem that will cause it to run inefficiently is a lack of refrigerant. This is because it works by transferring heat with the help of the refrigerant.
If your air conditioning unit is running low on freon then the unit cannot do this transfer of heat. This means that the unit will actually be working and blowing air but it won’t be able to produce enough cold air to lower the temperature in the home. The only way to correct this is to refill the unit with more refrigerant.
There are different types of kits to recharge different units and if you were to choose the wrong one it can end up costing you more than it would to pay someone to professionally charge the air conditioner. This is why if you’re going to do it yourself that you must research what type of refrigerant your air conditioner uses so that you’re sure to use the correct type. It is completely possible to refill or recharge your AC’s freon yourself but if for any reason you don’t feel comfortable, then it’s recommended you call on a professional.
Know The Law Before You Begin
When a private citizen works on their air conditioner there isn’t any federal law that puts any special requirements on that person for handling their own unit. When someone does this type of work professionally, however, the Environmental Protection Administration does require proper certification and licensing. If someone offers to do the work for you professionally then you should make sure that they are licensed and certified.
It is also noteworthy that companies that sell the refrigerant do not sell to anyone who doesn’t have a license. It’s possible that another homeowner might be selling some and it’s often for sale on eBay and Craigslist but there’s no guarantee that buying there is legal. Most importantly, you should never work on anyone else’s unit if you’re not licensed to do so.
Begin With A Maintenance Check
You will want to do some basic maintenance on your AC before you start to recharge it. You will want to clean the condenser coils as well as the evaporator because any buildup on those things can cause that air conditioner to work similar to having too little refrigerant. It can also cause damage.
Make sure there is no debris or other obstructions to the blower fan and check the condenser to make sure it’s working correctly. The unit will not work correctly if these parts are not able to move air the way they’re made to. Once you’ve done these things then you’ll just want to give a general check over of all the other working parts of your unit. It’s recommended you also check all electrical connections and to make sure that there is no insulation missing.
Verify Which Type Of Refrigerant And Recharging System That You Need For Your AC
Look to see if the operating guide is still located in the control box. If it’s not there, then you should look in the air handler unit as it is sometimes there. It’s also possible that the AC’s cabinet will have a sticker that has what freon is compatible with r22. You may be able to locate the correct refrigerant and recharging system for your unit by searching online.
Some systems will have a quick connect that helps to easily connect without losing much of the units existing freon. This helps to also reduce the chance of injury from the freon coming into contact with your skin. The important thing to be aware of is the fact that even when the AC is turned off the refrigerant is still under pressure and needs to be handled with great care.
Before you begin to work on your unit you should make sure that it’s completely turned off. Never work on the system when the thermostat or other connections are on. The outside of your AC should have a circuit breaker near it and the breaker should be turned off and fuses removed before beginning any work.
You can begin hooking up gauges by following the instructions. On the side of the gauges is low pressure and on the side of the system is the high-pressure. Once the gauges are connected then it’ll be necessary to turn the AC on for about 15 minutes so that the system can stabilize.
Once the gauges have stabilized you want to look at the blue gauge and if you find that it has dropped then that is a clear indication that the refrigerant needs recharging. It’s also possible to observe through the sight glass to see if there any bubbles. Not all AC units will have a sight glass but if yours does it’s another way to verify if the refrigerant needs to be recharged. If your unit has no bubbles then it’s okay but if it does have bubbles it needs to be recharged.
Filling Your AC’s Refrigerant
You will now need to again shut down the unit completely. Connect the hoses of the manifold to the ports. The hose for low pressure is usually blue and the other is red. Then the unit is to be turned on again and allowed to run for about 15 minutes. Now connect the freon container to these valves. They’ll be a set of instructions that came with the kit that instructs you how to do so. The air conditioner itself will force the freon into itself.
Once the unit has been recharged with refrigerant you’ll want to turn the unit up to its highest setting for a few minutes which will allow your AC to force the freon through the system. After it is all completed you will then turn the unit off and remove the freon charger. Provided that instructions were followed correctly, and all of the things are fine with your unit, then you should be able to notice that it is cooling efficiently again.