How to Know You Need an AC Refrigerant Recharge

Your air conditioner will need to be “recharged” if it’s low on refrigerant. The process includes adding coolant and pressurizing the system as well as checking for leaks. After all, an AC doesn’t burn up refrigerant. It circulates through a closed system so if it’s low, there’s almost certainly a problem. But how do you know an AC refrigerant recharge is needed? We’ll explain some of the signs below.

The Unit Runs Constantly But Blows Warm Air

The refrigerant absorbs heat from the air and then transports it to the outdoor unit to be released. If there’s not enough of it to absorb heat, then the AC won’t cool your home as effectively. To compensate, the system may run longer. Yet, you still feel warm air coming from the vents; or at the very least, air that’s not cool enough.

There’s a Spike in the Electric Bill 

When your air conditioner runs all day and night, it will use more electricity. An increase in your electric bill is not unexpected in the hotter months. But if you can’t explain why there’s a jump in your utility bill, it can be because your AC is working harder to compensate for a lack of Freon.

The Refrigerant Line Ices Up

A lack of Freon can cause the evaporator to get too cold. Therefore, the liquid refrigerant will not warm up and will return to the coil in its cold state. Condensation forms on the outer surface of the coil and freezes. If the issue isn’t fixed, the compressor can be damaged or even fail. This often requires the entire AC unit to be replaced.

The Refrigerant Line Makes Unusual Noise

A refrigerant leak is often accompanied by a hissing or bubbling sound. The noise is often faint, so you’ll have to know where the line is and check thoroughly to find the problem. You may even hear it when the unit isn’t running.

It’s More Humid In Your Home

If the AC is low on refrigerant, it won’t remove warm air as effectively, or at all. The system will also be unable to dehumidify the air. As a result, moisture may build up, which can make things uncomfortable and increase the risk of mold and bacteria growth, dust mite infestations, and associated health issues.

What Does an AC Refrigerant Recharge Cost?

It depends on the type of refrigerant and how much you need. With changes to HVAC and environmental regulations, R22 has been phased out and is becoming scarcer, so you will spend more to recharge an older system. Even if you need R410A, it’ll cost between $200 and $500 for about 25 pounds. The overall price is roughly $20/pound and most newer ACs require 6 to 12 pounds of coolant.

Contact Black Hills Home Services

Waiting to schedule an inspection or repair can result in major damage to your AC system. Our licensed AC repair and maintenance technicians are skilled and equipped to quickly find a leak, fix it, and provide an AC refrigerant recharge. We are available 24/7 to respond to AC emergencies in the Olympia area. If you are experiencing any signs your air conditioner is lacking coolant, call Black Hills Home Services at 888-338-1312 right away.