HVAC services >> Air conditioners >> Recharge
How recharging home air conditioning works
No cold air? Don't despair - we'll get your cooling system recharged in no time.
“Recharging” home AC units means refilling refrigerant so your unit blows cold air again.
Refrigerant is a substance (it can be gas or liquid) that absorbs heat from the environment. Refrigerant plus an evaporator, compressor and other components is what makes up a home cooling system.
AC units have gas refrigerant inside copper coils. It absorbs heat from the indoor environment, becomes a liquid and transfers the heat outdoors through the exhaust system blowing air over the coils.
Then the refrigerant cools down, turns back into gas, and the cycle repeats. When your air conditioner is in good shape and working efficiently, all the refrigerant stays inside the cooling system.
Many air conditioners use R22 (hydrochlorofluorocarbons - HCFCs) as the refrigerant, but it’s being phased out in favor of R410A and R134 refrigerants (hydrofluorocarbons - HFCs). These newer types of refrigerant don’t have chlorine so they’re better for the environment. They’re also more efficient.
Signs your AC needs a recharge include:
- The air blowing out has gradually gotten less cool, even though the temperature setting is the same
- You can see frost and/or ice (this is what happens when refrigerant leaks—it freezes on just about anything it touches)
- There’s a hissing or bubbling noise (probably a large leak)
If your last AC tech topped off your refrigerant but didn’t offer to fix the leak, they either didn’t know what they were doing or planned on charging you for a refill again soon.
You’re definitely going to want a professional to refill your AC refrigerant – it’s dangerous if not done properly, and the EPA requires certification for this procedure.
Why does refrigerant need refilling?
Damage, old age and lack of regular maintenance can all lead to refrigerant leaks. No refrigerant means no heat transfer is happening, and you won’t feel any cooler.
A certified AC repair technician can find and fix the cause of leaking refrigerant and refill the system.
Does leaking refrigerant mean I need a new air conditioner?
In many cases no. Don’t let a contractor talk you into a new AC unit if they’re unable to explain why it’s necessary.
Depending on the size and location of the leak, age/condition of the unit, and overall efficiency, in some cases it does make more financial sense to replace it with a newer model.
We’ll always help you get the longest service life out of your air conditioner. We give full, firm price quotes ahead of time and explain any recommended repairs or replacement in plain terms so you can make the best decision for your property and budget.