HOW TO CHANGE FREON IN YOUR AIR CONDITIONING UNIT
MAY 10, 2018
A working air conditioning unit is the greatest luxury you can have during the hottest months of the year. Unfortunately, air conditioners aren’t perfect and they are prone to having the same kind of problems as any other mechanical product. Currently suffering from an AC unit that blows hot air? You may need to add more freon to the unit. If you are not entirely sure how to change freon in your air conditioning unit, read on to learn step by step in case you are wanting to try to do it yourself.
HOW TO CHANGE FREON IN YOUR AIR CONDITIONING UNIT AND WHEN TO CALL FOR HELP
Charging the freon in your air conditioning unit may not be the toughest process in the world, but it’s not as simple as just dumping a chemical in your HVAC unit. You’ll need to understand what freon does, how it works, and how to tell whether your unit is low on freon before you can start this process. Once you understand the basics, you can move on to the physical act of adding freon – something that requires first figuring out if a lack of freon is even your biggest problem.
WHAT DOES FREON DO?
In very simple terms, freon is the substance that helps your air conditioning unit keep temperatures low. Without going into extreme detail, the simple way of explaining how freon works is that its heating and cooling process allows the gas to pull heat from within the cooling area. Without freon, your air conditioning unit can certainly move air around, but it cannot actually cool the air.
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY AC UNIT IS LOW ON FREON?
Generally speaking, the process of determining whether you’re low on freon is fairly easy. The first sign will be that your unit isn’t blowing cold air. While there areseveral other causes that might be at the root of this problem, it’s a good place to start. You should also check to see if the lines on your HVAC unit are frozen or if you can spot any leaks. If you have a combination of these three problems, there’s a good chance that you have some kind of freon leak and that you’ll need to both repair that problem and recharge the unit with more freon so that you can get your air conditioning unit back up and running.
STEP ONE: BUY THE SUPPLIES
The first step in adding freon to your AC unit is to buy the right type of freon and additional supplies. Note that if your air conditioner requires R-22 Freon, it might be difficult to procure. There’s less and less of it every year, as the US moves to completely cut off the supply by 2020. You can still get it from certain suppliers, but be aware that you may need to buy extra if you have an older AC unit. In addition to the freon, you’ll need to pick up a repair kit, pressure gauges, and temperature gauges.
STEP TWO: BASIC PROTECTION
Freon may not be the most dangerous chemical in the world, but it’s still not something you want to expose yourself to unnecessarily. As such, you’ll want to have some basic protection on hand during this process. It’s recommended that you have a simple mask, goggles, and gloves for the job. Again, you probably won’t have to worry about much of the material but it’s much better to be safe than to be sorry.
STEP THREE: PREP THE SYSTEM
Your next goal should be to get the system ready for the recharging process. As one might expect, the first thing to do is to cut the power to the system. While you’re almost certainly not going to do any significant repairs on your own, it’s important that you make sure that you don’t deal with any kind of live power to the system. Keep yourself safe by making sure that there’s no power going to your AC system before you move forward.
This is also the point at which you’ll want to start testing for leaks. This is where your freon repair kit will come in handy, as it should tell you exactly where to attach your gauge and what to do next. Remember, leaks are serious business and you should never try to recharge your unit if you think there’s a physical problem – this will only lead to further leaks, and ultimately more serious repairs. If there is any kind of physical leak, you’ll attach your repair kit to the AC unit’s compressor and follow the directions. This should seal up any minor problems, though more serious issues will requireprofessional help.
STEP FOUR: ADD FREON AND TEST
Your next step is to add the freon itself. Your freon container will be attached directly to your AC unit, and you’ll be able to monitor the changes it makes by looking at your pressure and temperature gauges. Only add a bit at a time, keeping an eye on your gauges to make sure that there are no odd after-effects. It’s important that you don’t add too much freon and that what you do add doesn’t introduce any foreign substances into the mix.
Once you’ve added the freon, you can start testing your system. You’ll want to let the AC unit run for about fifteen to twenty minutes each time. If you don’t notice that the air is cool or if your instrumentation isn’t showing any changes, you may have a more serious problem. If nothing changes, you’ve either failed to add enough freon or you have failed to address the leak. If adding more freon doesn’t help, you’ve reached the point at which you will need to call in professional help to fix the problem.
Adding freon to an air conditioning unit is a good skill to learn if you’re a homeowner, but it won’t fix all of your AC problems. It will, however, help you to take care of at least one minor maintenance issue. If you find yourself having to do this too often or find that adding freon doesn’t help, you shouldn’t continue with the same processes. It’s important that you know the difference between minor maintenance and a major problem – and that you know who to call in the case of an emergency. If adding freon isn’t enough to cool your home, make sure to call Donley Service Center. We are available 24/7, ready to service any maintenance or repairs you might need.