AC low on freon is a problem you do not want to experience. And, if it happens to your system, you will need urgent home AC repair.
You have hot summer days and nights. And your AC is not helping at all. If anything, it is even blowing warm air and probably heating the room even more! And when the utility bills come, you have to pay more!
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That right there is a nightmare! In this situation, your air conditioning unit is as good as useless, but you still have to pay more for it!
That is a problem you do not want to have for any more days. Why would you have your house uncomfortable while still having to dig deeper into your pockets?
Come with us as we look at this AC low on freon issue in detail and how to solve it
Let’s dive right into it.
What Happens When AC is Low on Freon?
Freon undergoes continuous cycles from liquid to gaseous state. Therefore, it should remain at a constant level called the freon charge. This means that freon does not get used up. However, its levels can drop down due to leakages.
And if there is a leakage, you sure can anticipate more significant AC problems. Some of the issues that may arise due to low refrigerant or freon levels include:
- Compressor damage: low refrigerant levels cause freezing on the evaporator coil. This ice build-up insulates the coils and slows down the cooling process. Your compressor unit will have to work extra hard to compress the air, therefore wearing out its motor.
- General poor performance of your air conditioning system: The compressor is an essential part of your air conditioner. If it works extra hard it will wear down other parts of the system. You may need an AC replacement service as your system may soon die.
Freon absorbs heat from your indoors and dispenses it out of your house. We love to perceive it as the blood of your air conditioning unit. You, therefore, want to fix this real quick if you want your AC system to be in optimal shape. Failure to which, you will soon be searching for “best AC installers near me”.
Signs Your AC System is Low on Freon
We now know what role freon plays in cooling your house. And we know the adverse side effects of not having enough refrigerant.
But how will you know that there is not enough freon in your system? What signs will you look for? What indicates that you possibly have a refrigerant leak?
Here is what to look for.
It Takes Much Longer to Cool Your House
If your cooling system takes longer and longer to cool, it could be a sign that you have refrigerant escaping.
Freon absorbs heat from your house’s air. Therefore, if your AC system is low on freon, the little freon present in the system will take longer to absorb the heat.
AC System not blowing Cold Air
Put your fingers on your AC vents and feel the air to get a hold of this.
Typically, it should be cool air coming from a perfectly functioning AC. However, if there is a problem, it will be warmer air. And even on the worst side, it may be hot air.
You can also use a thermometer to check the temperature of air coming out of the vents.
Higher Energy bills
If air conditioners have problems, it will almost always reflect on the increasing utility bills.
You should be paranoid if you note that your monthly energy bill is remarkably higher than before. Look at the other signs we discuss here; things may just add up for you.
When your system is low on freon, it will work much harder and longer to cool your home. This extra work will result in a spike in your electricity bills.
Ice building up on Your Refrigerant lines
Is there an ice build-up on the refrigerant line? If you see ice accumulating on your outside AC (it can happen when outside ac unit making loud noise) or refrigerant line, call for emergency AC repair. This is because you may have a refrigerant leak and, consequently, low freon levels.
The evaporator coil gets too cold when your AC freon levels are low. This makes the cold liquid refrigerant flow back into the refrigerant line. This makes the surrounding moisture freeze and accumulates on the refrigerant line.
Sometimes, this ice melts and forms a water puddle under your furnace. You should never see a water puddle below your system. And if you do, there is a problem you need to solve.
If you do not have this issue fixed, the freon will get into the compressor unit. This will damage your compressor unit. This may end up needing to replace the entire air conditioning system.
A hissing or bubbling sound from the refrigerant line
We have made it clear that you will be low on freon because it is leaking or escaping from the system.
Sometimes, you can hear the refrigerant escaping from the system if you hear a hissing or bubbling noise from your refrigerant line.
You may want to move closer to the system and listen as this is not as loud as when outdoor AC making loud noise. It is often quieter, but you can hear it.
Cause of Refrigerant Leaks from Your Air Conditioning System
Several problems may cause freon leaks. These are:
- Old compressor unit: The evaporator coil gets worn out and rusty at the joints as the compressor unit ages. Subsequently, the refrigerant liquid starts leaking from the worn-out joints.
- Formation of formic acid: this is a naturally occurring acid that forms on the outer surface of the coil. This destroys the tubing on the pinholes. The freon then starts escaping from the pinholes.
This often starts slow, but the effect will be felt in not a long while.
How to Handle Freon Leaks
Freon and its compounds are not necessarily harmful. However, when you inhale it in large quantities, it can result in breathing difficulties and even build-up of fluid in the lungs. This is why this issue is better left for certified HVAC technicians to solve.
Remember, the solution to this is not a direct refill of freon liquid. If you make a direct refill, it will also leak out. Freon is expensive, and you do not want to get stuck in this cycle.
Call us at HVAC Santa Clarita, and we will perform a diligent AC Unit Maintenance. We will find the escaping points and fix them. We will then refill your system with freon.
This ensures you have enough liquid in the system. And we will ensure the system is fully sealed to prevent any leakages.
AC Low on Freon Frequently Asked Questions
Detecting freon leaks is not always straightforward. It is, however, a big issue that you need to address. And, it would be best if you were very conversant with it for any time it happens, as it will play a significant toll on your AC system.
We, therefore, answer some to help you understand the issue more.
How do you know if your AC is low on Freon?
If your AC is running but not cooling your house, you should be suspicious of low freon levels. Warm air from the vents, higher energy bills, and hissing noise should help you confirm that you are low on freon.
What causes an AC unit to be low on Freon?
When freon leaks from the system, you will soon have not enough of it. The refrigerant liquid evaporates as it escapes. You, therefore, may not notice it escaping from the refrigerant line or compressor.
Can AC lose Freon without a leak?
No. The AC system is sealed, and there is no other way refrigerant will escape from the system. However, the leak may be super slow and gradual over the years. All in all, the leak will soon add up, and the effects will be shown.
How often does Freon need to be added to AC
Never. You should not worry about having to add freon unless there is a leak. If everything is working well, your freon levels will always remain constant and enough for a perfectly functioning AC system.
Will Low Freon Damage the compressor?
Yes. Perceive the compressor as the heart of your AC system. If the system is low on freon, the compressor will have to work harder to cool your house. With the harder work, your compressor will wear and tear first. IN a short while, your compressor will fail if this is not rectified.
How Much Does it Cost to Add Freon to AC?
Typically, a freon recharge goes hand in hand with sealing all the escape points first. Freon costs approximately $150 per pound. The complete refilling service will cost upward of $600 depending on how big your AC system is.
Can I Refill my AC Myself?
You certainly can if you have proper knowledge of your AC system. However, if you don’t fully understand your AC, we recommend that you do not try and refill your AC on your own. Also, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discourages people from dealing with freon unless they are licensed(1). This is for health and environmental reasons.
There we go for our “AC low on freon guide”. Big up for coming this far!
Right now, we are confident that you know how to tell if AC is low on freon. And now that you understand the severe side effects of being low on freon, you know to contact professional help as soon as you suspect something is off.
We will be glad to help recharge your AC for you. Call us today at HVAC Santa Clarita if you see signs indicating your AC is low on freon.
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