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How Do I Know If My AC Needs Freon?

Serving our neighbors in Sacramento and Placer County and surrounding areas

An HVAC technician checking the Freon in an air conditioner.An AC unit low on Freon will not be able to keep a home cool enough. At first, you may think that your air conditioner just cannot keep up with the heat. Then, as the temperature in your house continues to rise, it may seem like a problem with the refrigerant.

Let’s discuss signs that indicate your air conditioner may be low on Freon and how a licensed HVAC technician can help.

How Freon Works in a Home Air Conditioning Unit

Freon is a chemical refrigerant that is used in air conditioners. The refrigerant flows through the coils of your AC in a circular track. It absorbs heat from inside the house and releases it outside, cooling the air inside your home.

Freon in your home AC unit, unlike your vehicle’s air conditioning system, is not something that will get used up over time. The coils where it flows are in an enclosed space. If your home AC is running properly, you should never need to add more Freon.

Look for These Signs Your Air Conditioner Is Low on Freon

Since leaking Freon is a serious problem for an AC system, it is important for homeowners to recognize the signs of low refrigerant. Look out for the following signs.

Vents are blowing warm air

What is the temperature when you hold your hand up to the air vents? If the air coming from the vents is not cold, this could be an indication of a refrigerant problem. Without sufficient Freon, your AC cannot absorb the heat in the air.

AC is constantly running but does not cool your home

If the air conditioning system is constantly running without cooling the home, this could indicate a problem with the refrigerant. Sometimes you might notice the AC system did not cool well all day but seems to catch up in the evening.

Buildup of ice on the copper lines

If you check your air conditioning unit and see ice build up on the refrigerant line, this could indicate that you are low on Freon.

When Freon levels are not balanced properly, the refrigerant can become too cold and restrict airflow. This will cause the surrounding moisture on the refrigerant line to freeze up and the unit to stop working.

However, other causes of reduced airflow, such as dirty air filters, can cause the coil to freeze as well.

Water pooling around the air conditioning unit

When an AC unit has frozen up, it will eventually thaw out and condensation will start pooling underneath. Water pooling around the air conditioner can be a tell-tale sign of a Freon problem.

Higher electricity bills

If your AC system is running day and night without cooling your home, this is simply wasting energy. A spike in your electric bill during the summer could be an indication of various problems. For one, it could be that your air conditioner needs Freon.

Bubbling or hissing sound from the refrigerant line

While most Freon leaks are silent, a large leak can be heard from the refrigerant line. If you hear a hissing or bubbling noise, you should contact a technician right away.

In some rare situations, an air conditioner’s compressor may explode because of an electrical failure and all of the refrigerant will be lost. When this occurs, you may hear a loud hissing sound and see a white cloud forming. This can be dangerous, so you should keep your distance and call an HVAC professional right away

Know the Causes of Home Air Conditioner Freon Leaks

Refrigerant leaks can be caused by many different factors. The following are a few common causes of Freon leaks in air conditioners:

  • Corrosive acid:¬†Formic acid is corrosive and can wear on the evaporator coil and cause pinhole leaks
  • Improper installment:¬†If certain components and parts of the air conditioner are not secured, Freon may leak from the unit
  • Factory defects:¬†The AC unit may leave the manufacturer with defects, and refrigerant leaks may become evident over time
  • Wear and tear:¬†Over time, the rubber seals on the service valve can wear down and leak; the outdoor AC components can accumulate rust and result in Freon leaks as well
  • Puncture of the Freon line:¬†A Freon line could accidentally be damaged by things such as remodeling or lawn care and cause a leak in the coil

Call a Technician Who Can Help Diagnose Low Refrigerant

If you suspect that your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, we recommend contacting an AC technician. You do not want to add more Freon to the AC unit without first repairing the leak. Otherwise, the added refrigerant will just leak out and you will have the same problem.

The technician may ask you some questions about how your air conditioner has been running. Try to give him as many details as possible to help the technician diagnose the problem with your AC.

When diagnosing low refrigerant, your HVAC technician may take the following steps:

  • Use gauges to check for pressure inside your air conditioner
  • Add dye to the system to check for tiny leaks
  • Remove all the remaining Freon safely from the AC to identify leaks
  • Identify and repair the leak
  • Refill your air conditioner with the right amount of Freon to meet factory specifications

Need Help With Your Air Conditioner? Contact Us Today

If you suspect your air conditioning system has a refrigerant leak, do not hesitate to contact Maverick Electric, Heat, & Air today. Acting quickly will get you comfortable again sooner as well as prevent more Freon from leaking into the environment.

The professional AC technicians at Maverick Electric, Heat & Air can help you get your air conditioner running correctly as soon as possible. We can provide you with a diagnosis and repair whatever is causing your AC to malfunction.

When it comes to AC repair, you can trust us to get the job done right. Call us today at (916) 398-2768 to schedule an appointment. 

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