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How often do you need to add Freon to your A/C unit?

freon-in-home-ac-unit

 

Unless your air conditioner develops a refrigerant leak, you will never need to add Freon. If you develop a leak, you may end up with low refrigerant. There are several ways to determine if your air conditioner needs servicing due to a leaky A/C system, which we will discuss here. 

 

How to know if your A/C unit is leaking Freon

There are several ways to tell if your air conditioner has a leak and you need to call an HVAC technician. Are you experiencing any of these problems?

  • Do you feel warm air coming from your vents? 
  • Is there a hissing noise coming from your air-conditioning unit? 
  • Do the evaporator coils have frost on them? 

These can all be signs of a refrigerant leak that needs repair. We will cover each of these topics in detail.

The A/C unit is not cooling properly

If your A/C is leaking, you may notice that the temperature on your thermostat isn’t staying where you set it. Your air-conditioning system vents might have warm air blowing from them instead of cool air. These are all signs of a possible leak in your refrigerant line.

If you suspect a Freon leak, it is important to have a professional examine your unit. Delaying A/C unit service could cause further damage to your compressor, condenser or evaporator coil. It’s wise to have your home air conditioner serviced as soon as possible to reduce the possibility that you’ll need to purchase an entirely new A/C.

You hear a hissing noise coming from the unit

Most air-conditioning leaks are silent; however, a hissing noise from your A/C system could signal that the coolant leak is serious and needs immediate repair. For your home A/C, you may need to visit the outdoor unit (assuming it’s on the ground rather than the roof) or the other part of the unit (likely in the attic) to determine where the noise is coming from.

If the unit is hissing, call an HVAC technician immediately or get hold of your homeowner’s warranty company to obtain service for your air conditioner as soon as possible.

There is frost on the coils

If your A/C unit leaks refrigerant, the reduced Freon levels can cause a drop in the pressure within your air conditioner. The decrease in pressure within your A/C unit can also cause the temperature of the remaining coolant to drop. Frost will develop on your evaporator coil if the temperature drops too low within the refrigerant line.

Do not delay if you notice frost on your HVAC system. Your refrigerant line likely has a severe leak and needs A/C repair immediately. Get hold of your local HVAC technician or home warranty company immediately.

Your power bill is higher than usual

Homeowners are always biting their nails when the power bill comes. A bill higher than the normal average (assuming you aren’t in an extreme heat wave) might signal that your HVAC unit has a refrigerant leak. Low refrigerant levels cause your air-conditioning system to work much harder to keep your house at the same temperature.

 

Can a Freon leak cause your A/C unit to stop working?

If your system continues to run with low refrigerant for too long, it can eventually cause your A/C unit to stop working. When the coolant gets too low for the evaporator coil, it causes the entire system to freeze up. This can cause your air-conditioning unit not to work correctly or stop working entirely. If this happens, you may need a whole new A/C unit. 

Purchasing a new A/C unit can be a considerable expense for homeowners. A home warranty plan helps offset the cost. 

 

What to do if your A/C unit is leaking Freon

If you discover that your home A/C is leaking refrigerant, it may be tempting to find the refrigerant leak and DIY the repair in an attempt to save money. However, if you don’t complete the job correctly, you may need to purchase an entirely new A/C unit. This will cost much more than having an HVAC technician complete the A/C system repair the first time.

When your HVAC technician arrives at your home, they will assess the situation and diagnose the issue you are experiencing. Once complete, one of two things will happen. Let’s review.

Find and fix the leak

Leave air-conditioning unit problems to the professionals. They are trained in refrigerant leak repairs and know how to recharge your A/C unit. 

That said, you can safely attempt to find the leak yourself to save the HVAC technician some time. However, making the air-conditioning system repairs yourself is not recommended. One mistake could mean the difference between a few hundred dollars for a repair and thousands for a whole new unit.

Replace the A/C unit

How old is your air-conditioning system? In general, the life span of an A/C unit is 10 to 15 years. If your unit is this age, it may be time for a new A/C. The life span can be shorter or longer, depending on your location. For instance, the life span might be shorter in Arizona, where summer is extremely hot. If you are somewhere cooler or spend your summers in a location where the thermostat is off while you are gone, your HVAC unit could last longer.

The cost of a new air-conditioning unit can vary widely. The average price of a new air-conditioning system ranges from $5,000 to $10,000 — the variance comes from the type of A/C unit you have in your home.

 

How much does it cost to recharge refrigerant?

While the cost of A/C repair to recharge the refrigerant in your HVAC unit is a fraction of the cost of a new air-conditioning system, it is still a cost many homeowners do not plan for. The cost to recharge the refrigerant in your A/C system depends on the type of Freon needed and how much refrigerant is required.

The type of refrigerant your air-conditioning system needs depends on the age of your system. There are two coolant types available. A/C units manufactured after 2010 use R-410a refrigerant. Older units use R22 refrigerant.

Newer systems use R-410a refrigerant, also known as Puron. This Freon runs between $200 and $500 for a 25-pound tank. The labor associated with your Freon refill will be in addition to this cost.

Older units use R22 refrigerant, which is more costly since it’s out of production. A 25-pound tank of R22 refrigerant can cost up to $1,000 (plus the cost of labor to have your air-conditioning unit recharged by an HVAC technician).

 

Protect your home from costly A/C unit repairs with a Cinch warranty

Be prepared for the costly expenses of repairing or replacing your A/C unit without hurting your wallet. The Cinch Built-in Systems plan protects your home’s built-in systems, such as electrical, plumbing, water heater and central air conditioner. 

Get an instant quote from Cinch to protect your home today!

 

Adding Freon to your A/C unit is only necessary if there’s a leak. Learn more about when to add Freon to your A/C unit.