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4 Signs Your AC May Need a Refrigerant (Freon) Charge

Closeup of an AC refrigerant line connecting to the outside of a stuccoed home

The refreshing cool air from your AC is largely due to the refrigerant, a cooling agent responsible for absorbing and dissipating heat. The refrigerant levels in your AC need to be optimal; otherwise, it can lead to issues like compressor overheating, which can shorten your AC's lifespan.

To ensure your AC functions efficiently, it's vital to monitor its refrigerant levels. Regardless of whether your AC uses Freon or another refrigerant, recognizing the symptoms of low levels can save you from future expensive repairs. Here are four signs to watch out for:

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Warm Air Flow

The purpose of your AC system is to keep your home cool, so if it's falling short of its main goal, something went wrong. It's worth noting that various issues can cause warm air to flow out of the vents. For example, if your AC filter is clogged, it can restrict the amount of cool air the unit pumps into your home. That said, if you've recently replaced your filter and still notice warm air blowing out, be sure to check your refrigerant levels. Low refrigerant prevents the unit from absorbing enough heat per cycle, which limits the amount of cool air it can produce.

Reduced Cooling Capacity

Just like low refrigerant can cause warm air to pump out of your air conditioner, it may also restrict the system's cooling capacity. Take note of the strength of the air that blows out of your AC vents. If you notice weak or low airflow, this could likely mean you're running low on refrigerant. Be sure to rule out any other potential causes before recharging your refrigerant. Otherwise, it's a good idea to schedule a refrigerant charge with an HVAC expert as soon as possible.

Ice Buildup on Evaporator Coil

Any ice or frost accumulated on your AC unit is typically a sign of low refrigerant. When this fluid reaches a level that is lower than normal, it can cause its temperature to drop to a dangerously low number. As a result, ice will begin to form on the evaporator coil and refrigerant lines. Because your air conditioner isn't designed to withstand such low refrigerant temperatures, it's important to arrange for a Freon charge promptly to prevent your system from becoming severely damaged.

Hissing or Bubbling Sounds

There aren't many possible causes of hissing or bubbling sounds from your AC unit. If you do come across these noises, low refrigerant is the most likely culprit. Hissing or bubbling usually indicates that refrigerant has begun to escape the air conditioner through a leak. If you hear bubbling, the fluid is leaking out as a liquid. If you hear hissing, the refrigerant is leaking out as a gas. It's essential to take note of which sound you hear so that you're prepared to explain it to an HVAC technician. This will help ensure they provide the optimal solution for your needs.

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Dealing with air conditioner problems is not only stressful, but it can also cause great discomfort for you and your loved ones. Fortunately, scheduling a professional refrigerant charge can help keep costly problems at bay and get your system up and running again as soon as possible. Trust in our HVAC expertise, backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee and over 2,000 5-star reviews. Let us tailor our services to your AC's specific needs.

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