When something technical or mechanical breaks, you’re at the mercy of the expert’s advice to figure out what’s wrong and what you need to do to fix it. Who hasn’t had that feeling with a car mechanic when your car breaks down?
But we’re betting you feel the same way if your air conditioner stopped blowing cold air and a contractor told you that it needs a refrigerant charge.
You wonder, “Do I REALLY need a refrigerant / Freon charge, or am I being ripped off?”
It’s a good question! There’s nothing wrong with a healthy dose of skepticism when your money is on the line.
Here are 2 signs an AC contractor may be trying to scam you and charge you for refrigerant when you might not really need it.
Imagine this scenario: You’re sick, go to the doctor and tell him your symptoms. The doctor looks you up and down and says, “Aha, all you need is surgery!” No tests, just a quick solution.
Sounds silly, but that is what some air conditioning contractors will do. They’ll hear the “symptoms” (air conditioner is blowing hot air) and recommends a refrigerant charge without actually checking to see if that’s the case.
This may have some nasty consequences for you:
What else could the problem be?
Well, there are several things that could cause your home’s air conditioner to stop blowing cold air, including:
A contractor needs to use special equipment to check the refrigerant levels before recommending that you need a refrigerant charge.
OK, so the contractor has actually checked the refrigerant levels. But you still may be getting ripped off if...
Refrigerant isn’t like gas in a car; it’s not “used up”. Refrigerant flows between the inside and outside unit going from a liquid and a gas over and over again in what’s called a “self contained system”.
If you’re actually low on refrigerant, then there’s most likely a leak somewhere in your system where the refrigerant is escaping.
If there’s no mention of finding a leak, then that means a couple things:
If it’s a major leak on a condenser or evaporator coil, repairing your AC may be expensive. And if the air conditioner is old, then replacing your air conditioner may be the most cost efficient option.
Do you think you need more refrigerant, and you live in the Phoenix-area?
Contact George Brazil, and we’ll examine your home’s AC, find the real problem and make sure to fix it right the first time!