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How to Tell if Your Air Conditioner Needs More Refrigerant


Note: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication. Photo by Peter Morgan.

If you have ACs installed in your home but still don’t feel comfortable, it’s an obvious sign that your AC unit is not working properly. If the air conditioner fails to cool appropriately, it requires more refrigerant. There are many different types of refrigerants used for different types of models but R-410a and R-22 are the most commonly used refrigerants.

Refrigerants are heat transfer liquids that absorb heat from the air inside the room and transfers it outside after cooling it. Unlike other fuels like gas, petrol, diesel, etc. the refrigerants are never used up or consumed by the air conditioner. It just circulates within the machine to cool the air. However, there may be leaks in the system from where the refrigerant might escape. So if you find the air conditioner is not cooling as it should be, call the HVAC technicians immediately.

However, there are some sure signs that indicate the air conditioner needs more refrigerant and they are:

  • The supply ducts blow hot air even when the thermostat is set to ‘cool’
  • Water accumulates on the floor due to condensation
  • You find ice on the copper wires from the air conditioner to indoor coil.
  • Higher energy bills since the AC  runs longer to cool the room
  • The air conditioner takes abnormally longer time to cool

If you see the above signs then you can be sure that the air conditioner requires more refrigerant. The next question that arises is what should you do when you find the AC is in need of more refrigerant? Here is what you should do:

Call the HVAC technicians immediately and get the air conditioner inspected thoroughly. They will look for the point of leakage, fix it and fill in more refrigerant. If you keep neglecting the problem, the air conditioner might stop working completely. If you see problems with your commercial air conditioning system, get in touch with technicians who are proficient at commercial air conditioning repairs; whereas for residential air conditioners you must call residential HVAC technicians. Since the residential and commercial cooling systems differ significantly, different skill sets are required to handle them, so make sure you call the experts.

One thing you must never do is try to fill the refrigerant yourself. If you are not experienced, you might do more harm than good. So keep your eyes open for the signs of damage and call professionals for help if you notice something out of order.