All About Refrigerant Levels In Your Air Conditioning Unit

May 18, 2021

If your air conditioning system isn’t cooling as well as it used to—or if it’s been awhile since someone has serviced it—it’s time to schedule an HVAC technician so they can check the refrigerant.

Why do you need to have the refrigerant checked?

Your air conditioner is a closed system. The refrigerant within it evaporates and condenses in a continual loop. In theory (and in a perfect world), an air conditioner would be able to use the same amount of refrigerant throughout the life of the product.

But your air conditioner is a hard-working piece of equipment with many components. Minor leaks are common. When your air conditioner loses even a small amount of refrigerant, it causes a change in pressure, making it harder for your air conditioner to cool your home.

Can you check the refrigerant levels yourself?

No. To handle refrigerant and service high-pressure equipment, a technician is required to earn a special certification by passing an EPA-approved test. Training and certification qualifies a technician to safely check and adjust your air conditioner’s refrigerant levels.

To determine the proper refrigerant level, your technician will take quite a few factors into consideration, such as the capacity of the system and the performance of components within the system, and make calculations using refrigeration gauges. It’s a sophisticated task that requires an expert.

What are the signs that your refrigerant levels need to be checked?

There are a number of signs that you need to have your refrigerant level checked:

  • Spaces that used to be cool aren’t anymore.
  • The unit runs often but the house isn’t as cool as it used to be.
  • Airflow through the registers is poor.
  • You see ice on the evaporator coil.
  • You hear hissing coming from the unit.

How often should you have your refrigerant level checked?

Manufacturers recommend that you have your refrigerant level checked once a year. Of course, if you’re experiencing any of the above problems, you may need to call sooner.

For our Comfort Care customers, we check air conditioner refrigerant levels yearly.

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