Does My Air Conditioner Need a Refrigerant Refill?

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Does My Air Conditioner Need a Refrigerant Refill?

The last thing that any homeowner wants to encounter is a faulty air conditioner, especially as the heat rises during the Texas summer. Air conditioning is one of the creature comforts that feels like a must-have to endure our long and brutal summer months, so it makes sense that when your system is showing signs of stress DFW homeowners start to sweat.

One of the most common questions that HVAC technicians encounter when a home is not cooling properly is “do you think it just needs some refrigerant(or freon)?” The answer to that question is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no. Air conditioning units are complex systems that are not designed to last forever. Years of wear and tear can cause issues in a variety of places, including refrigerant leaks. When this happens there are generally larger issues at the root of the problem.

Any AC issues during the Dallas summer can go from uncomfortable to dangerous in a very short amount of time. For over 50 years, the Dial1 Johnson team has been helping North Texas homeowners get their AC units back on track. With offices across the area, our technicians are always right around the corner.

AC Basics

While the “freon” question is one of the most common that technicians will encounter, it is a bit like putting a bandaid on a bullet wound. Sure it might get you through the end of the summer, but you will inevitably be right back to square one before too long. Having some basic understanding of how your AC system works will help you avoid the time and money to have a technician make an emergency service call.

How Your AC System Works

The mechanics of a home’s air conditioning system is complex, but the overall concept is relatively simple. The two units, one inside(the evaporator) and the other outside(the condenser) of the home, work together to remove hot air and cool the forced air that keeps a home at a comfortable temperature.

The Role of Refrigerant

Within this cyclical process, refrigerant is one of the biggest catalysts that make the entire process possible. As the refrigerant moves through the outside condenser coils it creates condensation and cools. When it is pushed back into the inside unit, it interacts with the warmer air that the home is working to remove and draws out the excess heat. 

The Truth About Refrigerant Refills

This gets us to the inevitable question of refills. As mentioned, the answer is more complicated. Technically yes, your system could be low on refrigerant. However, this usually points to a leak. AC systems are closed systems, meaning they do not require periodic freon refills. When the system is built it includes enough refrigerant to last the life of the unit. If you think that your refrigerant might be low, your next call should be to a licensed technician.

Common Signs Your System is Leaking Refrigerant

Refrigerant leaks are inevitable over time. Every system will eventually start showing signs of wear and tear. Most of the time, these symptoms are easy to recognize, allowing homeowners to act quickly and get out in front of the problem. Here are some of the most common signs that you might need air conditioning service repair related to a refrigerant leak.

  1. Warm air coming from your vents
  2. Energy bill spikes
  3. The refrigerant line is iced over
  4. Frozen coils
  5. Hissing sound coming from the refrigerant line

Should any of these symptoms appear, consult with a trained professional and determine the best course of action for your system. Newer units are frequently covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, but if your unit is older, the most cost-effective strategy might be a system replacement.

AC System Do’s and Don’ts

Let’s face facts. The amount of misinformation about DIY home repair solutions is enough to make your head spin. Responsible homeowners know that when it comes to AC repair or replacement, only a trained professional should be consulted. Even then there are a number of red flags to keep in mind.

System Charge Scam

One of the most common ways that homeowners are scammed by HVAC companies is by doing a “system charge.” In this situation, the technician only refills the refrigerant without ever actually fixing the problem. Again, putting a bandaid on a bullet wound. While the charge might last you a couple of months, or enough to get you to winter, you can bet your bottom dollar that you will be going through the process next summer.

Not only is this a stop-gap solution, but it is also terrible for the environment. Ethical technicians will take the time to diagnose the issue properly and prevent any long-term damage to your air conditioning unit.

DIY Repairs

The conversation with any home repair will eventually turn to DIY options if only to save a few bucks. The problem with taking a DIY approach is that the average homeowner is not equipped, or licensed, to handle refrigerant, let alone fix the leak. As a rule of thumb, anytime your AC is in question, turn to a trusted HVAC technician.

Finding DFW AC Service

Air condition repairs shouldn’t make a homeowner sweat. With a little help from a local technician, your system should be up and running in a short period of time. The most important thing that can be done is to schedule annual maintenance appointments to prevent a full-scale emergency. During these checkups, a licensed technician will be able to find potential problems and address them before they cause the system to perform inefficiently or grind to a screeching halt.

Decades of experience have led the Dial1 Johnson team to be one of the most trusted in the AC repair business. Whether your system is needing a complete overhaul or you are just doing your diligence through routine maintenance, we are happy to help. Visit our website to learn more about our services or contact our team at 469-557-2703 to schedule an appointment.

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