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How Often Do You Need to Add Freon to a Central Air Conditioning Unit?

How Often Do You Need to Add Freon To Your AC?

Texas residents know that a working air conditioning system is up there with food and shelter when it comes to necessary living expenses. The Texas summers can quickly become miserably hot without the cool relief of an AC system. At Lex Air Conditioning and Heating, we know the importance of keeping your system running cool during these hot summer months.  

In this article, we’ll discuss what Freon is and how it’s used, as well as why you should never try to “top off” or recharge your own air conditioning unit. If you have more questions about your system, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Lex Air Conditioning and Heating. Our experienced technicians are always ready to help you with any home project you may have. We can get your system ready to handle the scorching Texas heat. Call us today at (972) 217-8955

What is Freon?

AC units use Freon to blow cool air throughout your home. Freon is simply the brand name for an air conditioning refrigerant. Freon has become interchangeable with the word ‘refrigerant’ the same way Velcro is used to describe any hook and loop closure. The Freon that most systems used to run on (R-22 or Freon-22) is now banned in the United States. This type of Freon contributes to the breakdown of the ozone layer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working since 1993 and began phasing out Freon-22 in 2010. As of 2020, it is illegal to manufacture or import Freon R-22 in the United States. R-410A replaced R-22 as a more efficient (and environmentally friendly) way to transfer heat. Soon, R-410A will be phased out and replaced with R-32. 

Without a refrigerant, your air conditioner would just be a very big and expensive fan. The cooling effect comes from a refrigerant used in the coils and inner workings of the AC unit.  

Why Do Air Conditioners Need Freon?

Air conditioning systems need a refrigerant to pump cool air throughout your home. Without some type of refrigerant, your air conditioner would just be blowing warm air. Your air conditioner works by pulling air from inside your home and cooling it before circulating it back through your home. The hot air is pumped outside and the process repeats itself. Freon is a gas at room temperature but becomes a liquid when cooled or compressed. As air from your home runs over the coils inside your unit, the air is cooled and sent back into your home. 

How Often Do Air Conditioners Need Freon?

In an ideal world, your air conditioner would never need more Freon. Freon is not depleted during the life of your cooling system. So why do so many people assume they should be replacing their Freon or refilling refrigerants? Unlike cars and vehicles, air conditioning units are closed systems. Without some type of leak or malfunction, Freon cannot escape the system. Once there is a leak in the system, the leak should be repaired by a licensed HVAC technician and more Freon should be added. Once the leak is fixed, your AC unit shouldn’t have any more issues with refrigerant. 

How To Know If Your HVAC Unit Needs Refrigerant

If you pay technicians from other companies to recharge your AC unit every summer, you’re likely being exploited. If your system actually needs more Freon every year, you have a leak somewhere. But freon leaks aren’t as easy to find as a leaky water pipe. Freon is both a gas and a liquid at different points in your AC unit. Depending on where the leak is, there could be a puddle around your outdoor AC unit. A gas leak, however, is not as noticeable. Most homeowners are aware of what signs and symptoms to look out for when they need air conditioning maintenance. Common signs of a refrigerant leak include:

  • Short cycling (system turns on and off repeatedly)
  • Compressor constantly on
  • Higher electricity bills
  • Ice on the evaporator coil
  • Poor or reduced airflow 

If you notice any of these signs with your air conditioner, contact the experienced technicians at Lex Air Conditioning and Heating

How Often Does Home AC Need to be Recharged?

As stated earlier, home AC units don’t really have a set schedule for when they should be recharged. An HVAC technician at Lex Air can perform regular maintenance on your system, and this service includes making sure your system has enough refrigerant to cool your home properly. If one of our technicians discovers that your system has a low refrigerant level, we’ll find the leak, repair your air conditioner, and recharge the system by adding more refrigerant. 

How To Put Freon in AC Unit

Adding Freon to your system may help some of the immediate issues, but low Freon levels point to a larger problem somewhere in your air conditioning system. Simply putting more refrigerant into a leaking system will not fix the problem. You may not even be sure that low refrigerant levels have caused your problem. Putting more Freon into an air conditioner will likely damage your system and cost way more in the long run. A professional HVAC technician can diagnose the problem, repair the leak, and recharge your system quickly. At Lex Air Conditioning and Heating, our technicians are trained to use the special gauges and know how to safely fill an AC with Freon. 

Is It Safe to Put Freon in an Air Conditioner by Yourself?

A licensed technician should be the only person to ever recharge your system for a few reasons. You may want to save money by recharging the system yourself, but recharging the Freon yourself may void the warranty on your system. This means that if the system breaks down further, your warranty won’t cover the repairs–even if you didn’t cause them. As mentioned above, recharging the Freon without addressing the leak or malfunction is not a permanent solution. The leak will continue, and you’ll just have to pump more Freon into a broken air conditioning system. Refrigerants are chemicals that can cause damage if not used properly. Recharging your air conditioner often takes special tools, so it’s better to just let a professional handle it. Why spend your time and energy on a quick fix that won’t last when one of the technicians at Lex Air Conditioning and Heating can get your system back in prime condition? 

Top Carrollton, Texas Air Conditioning Services

Air conditioning systems are expensive, there’s no doubt about it. You may repair small issues with your system every few years, but our technicians are trained to handle every type of repair for heating and cooling systems. Trust the fully licensed and insured technicians at Lex Air Conditioning and Heating to keep your family safe, happy, and comfortable. From Carrollton indoor air quality services to new new AC system installation, we’ve got you covered. 

Lex Air Conditioning and Heating is a local HVAC company that has been serving the Dallas/Fort Worth area for nearly 20 years. We know there’s no better feeling than cold air coming from your AC to cool you off in this offensive heat. Schedule a free estimate for your system today by calling (972) 217-8955

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