Home air conditioning systems play a vital role in keeping the interiors of our homes cool. They operate by using refrigerant to pull heat from the air, then circulating the conditioned air throughout the home. While A/C units may lie dormant during winter, they are indispensable when it gets hotter – especially during Houston summers.
A common complaint we get from homeowners is that their A/C units suddenly stop cooling despite running all day. This is a possible sign that the unit has developed a leak and might need maintenance involving a refrigerant recharge.
This article will highlight instances where an air conditioning unit requires a recharge and the ideal way to get it done.
Symptoms of Low Refrigerant in Your Home A/C
A poorly performing air conditioning unit is pretty easy to detect. Physical signs of low refrigerant levels can be used to determine the need for maintenance to optimize performance. The most common symptoms that indicate you might have low Freon in your central air conditioner are listed below:
- Failure of an air-conditioning to cool the interior of a room despite running continuously
- A significant spike in electricity bills compared to earlier months
- A noticeable build-up of ice on refrigerant lines
- A/C vents releasing warm air
- Abnormal sounds (hissing or bubbling) from refrigerant lines
Failure of an Air-Conditioning to Cool the Interior of a Room despite Running Continuously
The mechanism of operation for a typical air conditioning unit requires its refrigerant to absorb heat from the air within the space being serviced. This removal of heat from the circulating interior facilitates its cooling effect.
As long as the refrigerant circuit is not compromised, the air conditioning unit will continue to achieve efficient cooling. However, when it fails to cool the room despite prolonged periods of operation, it is a clear sign that your ac needs Freon.
Significant Higher Electricity Bills Compared to Previous Months
It isn’t unusual to notice a slight increase in your electricity bill while cooling your home when the weather is hotter. This is because the air conditioning unit must work harder to achieve an acceptable level of cooling.
However, a sudden, persistent, and significant jump in billing for electricity consumed while running your air conditioning constantly, is one of the symptoms of low refrigerant in your home A/C unit.
Noticeable Build-up of Ice on Refrigerant Lines
A visible build-up of ice on the refrigerant lines of your air conditioning unit is another sign your central air conditioning unit needs freon. With low freon levels, the evaporator of the A/C unit becomes too cold and results in a backflow within the refrigerant lines. This will cause the moisture surrounding these lines to freeze.
If left unchecked, the reverse flow of refrigerant can reach the compressor and cause extensive damage. This results in significant costs of repair or A/C replacement in Houston.
A/C Vents Releasing Warm Air
A leak resulting in low levels of refrigerant will reduce the capacity of your air conditioning unit to cool your home properly. This reduction in refrigerant levels will translate into inefficient cooling with A/C vents releasing warm air or even reduced airflow.
Abnormal Sounds (Hissing or Bubbling) from Refrigerant Lines
Hearing abnormal hissing or bubbling from your air conditioning system might indicate that it is leaking refrigerant. This is common in older units where a breach in the refrigerant line might occur as it wears with age.
How to Check the Freon in a Home Air Conditioner
Checking the freon level in a home A/C unit should be done by an experienced HVAC technician. These professionals will perform an extensive diagnostic check on your unit to determine the location of refrigerant leaks, fix them, and refill the unit with the right amount of refrigerant.
While this process is time-consuming, it is the only way to guarantee a long-term fix. Simply refilling a leaky refrigerant line is an imprudent and temporary solution.
Can I Recharge My Central Air Unit Myself?
If you suspect that your air conditioning unit might be underperforming due to a leak, you should get it checked out. Performing a DIY check for your home cooling unit is not recommended as you might be unable to trace/plug any potential leaks. Most consumers aren’t even able to purchase the refrigerant required for recharge.
Additionally, attempting a central air recharge on your own could void your warranty. It is best to contact an expert to assess your air conditioner and fix leaks or recharge refrigerant.
Contact URETEK for A/C Maintenance Today!
URETEK is dedicated to offering clients the highest quality A/C repair in Houston. Our dedicated and experienced technicians will guarantee that your A/C unit receives a comprehensive system diagnosis and solution.
Schedule a service call today if you’re based in Houston and your home air conditioning system is exhibiting low refrigerant symptoms.