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January 17th, 2017

8 Steps to Take When the Coolant’s Low in Your AC Unit

Have you noticed that your central AC isn’t cooling your house well enough? Chances are that you may need more Freon in the system. This refrigerant helps with your air conditioning evaporating the internal heat so that the air that is being expelled is cool. You might have a leak that is allowing your Freon to escape.

If you do have a leak in your AC, you’re going to have to seal it, replace your Freon, and then replenish your system’s refrigerant. This process is known as recharging.

Even if you are used to doing things yourself, it can be difficult for you because it can be very technical and there are many laws that regulate Freon’s use. But if you are following the local laws and you’re following the steps below, you will have no trouble repairing and recharging your unit.

1. Purchase the Supplies

You’re going to have to figure out the kind of Freon you’re going to need for the AC. If the unit was built before 2010, chances are that it uses R-22. But to be certain, you should check your unit for the label that tells you what kind of coolant it takes. If you have a newer system, it doesn’t use refrigerant. So you want to make sure that you’re checking it carefully before you decide you have a leak.

If you are certain you have a leak, you will need to buy a repair kit for Freon. These types of kits are great for a HVAC beginner, and usually include an injection hose that is reusable, the AC sealant, and the most important item, a set of detailed instructions. But if you have done it before, these items can be bought separately along with your temperature and pressure gauges.

2. Shut off the System

Turn your AC unit off and also turn the circuits off temporarily that are sending the power to your unit. It’s going to be dangerous to have electricity going through your unit even when it’s turned off while you’re repairing it.

3. Locate the Leak

Put your temperature gauge on your valves. Then you should wait about five minutes so that your reading is accurate. Then perform research so that you can find out the right reading for the unit, but if your reading is in the 45-degree Fahrenheit range, it usually means you have enough coolant. If the temperature is higher than that or the number that your manual indicates, your coolant levels may be low. Refrigerant won’t evaporate, so if the level is low, it’s due to a leak.

To find out where your Freon leak is, you’ll have to connect the gauges to the lines of your AC so that you can detect any kind of issues with low pressure. If you’ve bought a kit, the instructions that are in it should tell you what types of gauges to use and where to attach the lines.

If your side pressure is under 65psi, chances are that it’s a leak. You also can search for visible leak signs along your joint connections and pressure lines. Sometimes a dye will be added to coolant so you’re able to see the color that indicates there’s a leak. Once you’ve found the leak’s source, you can begin repairing the air conditioner.

4. Attaching The Repair Kit

After you have inspected the unit and found all the leaks, you’ll have to find your compressor. This is going to have two lines that come from it. Your service valve is going to be the bigger one and it connects with your low-pressure line for suction. Your smaller valve is your tap valve and your high-pressure line for liquid.

In order to seal the leak properly, you’ll have to connect your injection hose as well as the sealant can to your compressor line. You should also look at the information that’s found in the kit if you have any confusion.

After the hose has been connected to your supply line, and the hose and sealant can are connected, you shouldn’t tip your container. You should keep it upright so that your AC isn’t damaged.

5. Seal Your Leak

Based on the product you’ve purchased, the details regarding this section are going to vary. But no matter what, you’re going to restore the unit’s power and also have the AC running to complete this step.

Once you’ve pierced the sealant can, allow it to run through the system for a minimum of a minute so that you know the sealant’s distributed properly and it has had time to patch your leaks up thoroughly.

This sealant is going to travel with your existing refrigerant to seek out and seal the leaks from inside.

6. Prepare Your System for Recharging

In order to recharge the AC unit, reconnect your gauges to your system and then connect the Freon container with your gauge with different hoses. Reconnect the temperature gauges with the lines, so you’re able to ensure you’re receiving a reading that’s clear. A lot of people don’t use their gauges during this step, but that would be a mistake. This is the right way that you want to recharge your AC unit, since it’s important to monitor the amount of coolant you’re adding so you’re not adding too much.

7. Add Your Refrigerant

When all of the components have been connected to the AC unit, you’re free to release the Freon container’s valve and let your coolant to go into your system. Just add small amounts, and give yourself 10 minutes in between each addition so that you’re able to get a reading that’s clear on your gauges.

Make sure your refrigerant container’s standing upright while you’re doing this process. When you tilt your container, it can introduce it into your compressor and your whole AC unit will be damaged.

8. Test Your System

When you look at your gauges and you’ve determined that you have the right amount of coolant into the system, allow your system to circulate for 10 to 15 minutes for a test. If all of the signs are indicating that the AC unit’s cooling properly, you’ll be able to detach the hoses and gauges.

If the AC still isn’t’ cooling off, you’ll either have to add additional Freon or there’s still a leak. At this point you’ll have to call in an HVAC professional so that they can further investigate it.

Need Help? Talk to An Expert!

Our goal is to help educate our HVAC customers in the Port Charlotte and Charlotte County, Florida area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC, Heating and Air Conditioning systems).

If you are contemplating having your air conditioning repaired, Contact Dales Heating and Air Conditioning by calling (941) 629-1712 or by filling out our secure Contact Form.