How Often Does an AC Need More Refrigerant?

May 04, 2017

The answer? Never.

If everything is working properly, an AC should never run out of refrigerant. You see, unlike gas in a car,the refrigerant in your AC system doesn’t get “used up”.

In fact, there’s only one reason your AC might need more refrigerant: if it has a refrigerant leak.

We’ll explain why healthy air conditioners don’t use up refrigerant. We’ll also discuss the signs of a refrigerant leak and what you should do if you think your AC has one.

Do you already know your AC needs a refrigerant recharge and need a tech ASAP? Just contact us and we’ll send over a professional right away.

Why “healthy” ACs should never run out of refrigerant

Air conditioners don’t regularly need more refrigerant added because refrigerant runs in a closed system. In other words, refrigerant can’t escape the system.

Refrigerant is housed inside closed copper coils that run in a giant loop throughout the AC unit.

So it’s common for air conditioners to operate their entire lifespan without ever needing a refrigerant “recharge”.

But it is possible for your AC to need more refrigerant. Let’s look at why and how your AC can get low refrigerant levels.

A refrigerant leak: The only reason you’d be “low” on refrigerant

Over time, the copper coils that house your refrigerant suffer from normal wear and tear. And sometimes, tiny holes are formed that allow refrigerant to escape the system.

Eventually, you’ll notice the signs of a refrigerant leak, which include:

  • Warm air from your AC vents (except on cool nights)

  • Ice or frost on refrigerant coils (you’ll notice this first at the evaporators coil)

  • Higher-than-normal AC bills

  • Hissing or bubbling noises near the AC units

See the signs of a refrigerant leak? Then follow the tips below…

Think you have a refrigerant leak? Here’s what to do next

First off, if you have a refrigerant leak there is no DIY repair option. Only an HVAC tech who is certified to handle refrigerant can repair the leak. Why? Because refrigerant is a toxic, flammable gas that can cause choking, headaches and other health problems.

But before you call in just any tech, beware: Some scammy techs will “recharge” your system without actually repairing the leak.

How exactly does that hurt you?

Well, if the actual leak isn’t located and repaired, all that refrigerant that you just paid for will just leak right back out. And refrigerant isn’t cheap. In fact, if your system runs on Freon (a common R-22 refrigerant), you can pay anywhere from $75 to $175 per pound. But a scammy tech will gladly keep taking your money to recharge your system over and over again. Think of it as the quick and very expensive solution that only the tech benefits from.

Need an honest HVAC tech in Tampa?

If you have a refrigerant leak that you need repaired? Just contact us.

We have honest, dependable techs that will locate the leak, repair it and then recharge your system.

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