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Do I Need AC Refrigerant?

Do I Need AC Refrigerant?
Is your air conditioner running on all cylinders? How old is your AC system? Did you recently recharge or refill your AC refrigerant?

As the summer moves along, many homeowners remain in the same boat and want improved efficiency (and cooling) from their home AC system. In particular, home with an older condenser requires a specific type of AC refrigerant. Older AC units need R-22 refrigerant, which provides a little sticker shock.


R-22 refrigerant contains hydro-chlorofluorocarbons. These carbons are a man made chemical that is bad for the ozone and a very potent greenhouse gas. As a result, the manufacturing of this AC refrigerant continually decreases and aimed for a total phase out by 2020! Therefore, as 2020 rapidly approaches, the cost continues to rise.

What can homeowners do to stay cool?

First and foremost, routine AC maintenance spots potential problems before they become issues during the summer. Additionally, learning about how an AC unit operates helps homeowners as well. For example, home air conditioning systems do not use "freon" like a car uses gasoline. The AC refrigerant operates by transforming from a liquid to a vapor over and over again. So a properly operating system only runs low on refrigerant if there is a leak or rupture in the system. (R-22 causes so many environmental problems because any leak means the refrigerant goes straight into the atmosphere.)

Plus, most responsible contractors will not charge a system more than once without determining and fixing a leak if possible or replacing the equipment.

If you have a leak in your AC system, then ultimately it will require a replacement. However, depending on the leak and costs, repairing may be an option. In order to make the best decision, learn a little more about AC refrigerant.

Adding R-22 Refrigerant Probably A Bad Investment

Generally, simply adding more R-22 refrigerant yields little in return. As previously noted, costs continually increase and homeowners only need more in the future. Depending on the size of the leak, it could be 1 week or 6 months, but another breakdown is around the corner. Consider the cost and age of your AC unit. In fact, many times replacement offers the best long term investment and cost savings.

Leaking AC Refrigerant Means Inefficiency

Adding more refrigerant means the AC unit contains a leak and/or rupture. AC units continue cooling until the levels are so low it freezes up or cuts out. While the system runs undercharged, the equipment operates at higher temps, uses more power and requires longer run times. Plus, the extra runtime results in higher energy bills. Additionally, the higher temperatures increases the odds of other failures within the system.

AC Leaks Create Potential Safety Concerns

Frequently, many leaks remain located in the indoor evaporator coil. During the operation of an AC system, air runs across the evaporator coil, where it cools. Then, the cooled air enters the ductwork for distribution around your home. If there is a leak in the coil, then the leaking gases from the refrigerant system potentially mix with the conditioned air and enter your living space.

Interested in learning more about your AC?

Talk to one of our Comfort Specialists!

We understand that replacing a broken air conditioning unit is expensive so maintaining your existing AC unit is essential to increase its longevity. Not only will a well maintained system last much longer, it runs more efficiently, which saves you money! Our multi-point air conditioning maintenance inspections make sure your cooling system is working correctly and at peak efficiency.

Plus, because issues with AC units potentially impact your home air quality, talk to Snappy and set up an AC inspection. To help with home safety, learn how you can receive a FREE whole-house air cleaner when you purchase a lifetime warrantied HVAC system from Snappy.