Freon is a brand of refrigerant that is the “blood” of your air conditioner. If there isn’t enough refrigerant, you AC unit cannot cool your home properly, leaving you uncomfortable. Being sweaty and hot isn’t the only problem you will have, low refrigerant can severely damage you HVAC unit in the same way that a low blood count damages your body.
Signs That Your Central AC is Low on Refrigerant
1. If your house is taking too long to cool down, your AC may be low on refrigerant. Refrigerant is what absorbs the heat in your air. If there isn’t enough, the AC can’t absorb enough of the heat to cool the air enough. Refrigerant is sort of like a heat sponge. The smaller the sponge, the less it can absorb.
2. Your supply vent will blow lukewarm/warm air if your Freon is low, which is why it’s taking so long to cool down the house.
3. A lack of refrigerant will cause your AC to run longer than it needs to cool your home. This will cause your energy bills to rise.
4. There could be ice buildup on the refrigerant line. If you go outside to your unit with the spinning fan and notice ice building up on the copper refrigerant, this could be due to low Freon. When the refrigerant is low, the inside of the AC unit’s evaporator coil gets too cold because this is the part that the cool refrigerant flows through. This will cause cold liquid refrigerant to flow back into the refrigerant line and the surrounding moisture on the refrigerant line will freeze up. This is not the only problem though. The liquid refrigerant will eventually make its way to the outside unit’s compressor. You can think of the compressor as the “heart” of your AC unit. When the refrigerant flows back it will damage the outside unit’s compressor. Liquids can’t be compressed, so when the refrigerant flows into the compressor, it is quickly converted into thousands of pounds of hydraulic pressure. This will lead to something breaking, like valves, rods or plates.
5. You may be low on refrigerant if you hear a hissing or bubbling noise. Being low on refrigerant means you have a leak. Refrigerant isn’t used up like gas in a car, so the only way to get out is through escape. If the leak is bad, the refrigerant will make a hissing or bubbling noise as it escapes.
Central Air Conditioner Repairs & Maintenance to Fix Freon Levels
If you think you are low on refrigerant, and therefore have a leak, you should call a professional AC technician for a diagnosis check. If a leak is located, it needs to be corrected before any refrigerant is added. If refrigerant is added without fixing the leak, you are just allowing the refrigerant to leak again. You will keep having the problem over and over again. Older R-22 refrigerant is very expensive now, so you may even consider replacing your AC unit with a newer, more energy efficient model.