Does My Air Conditioner Need Refrigerant?

ac needs freon

Before Armstrong Plumbing, Air & Electric delves into whether your air conditioner needs refrigerant, let’s clear up a common confusion in terminology.

Freon® vs. Refrigerant: Which Is Correct?

Freon®, also known as R-22, was a refrigerant invented in 1930. Over time, the word Freon® has been used as the generic term to describe all refrigerants used in mechanical air conditioners to cool homes and businesses. However, Freon® or R-22 was banned in the United States in 2020 due to its harmful effects on the environment. 

Alternatives to R-22 were developed, but they too have been recalled because of their adverse effects on the environment. In its place, R-454B is now the approved refrigerant.

So, the answer to the question of which is correct, Freon® or refrigerant? The quick answer is ‘refrigerant.’ But the better answer is that you may hear or read both when air conditioners are the topic of conversation. Either way, remember the specific chemical, Freon®, is banned, but AC refrigerant is necessary in the process of producing cool air.

How Does the AC System Use Refrigerant?

Your AC system works like a champ to keep you cool, and refrigerant plays a crucial role in this process. Inside your AC unit, there’s a closed loop system where it flows. It goes through a cycle of changing from a liquid to a gas and back again, absorbing and releasing heat along the way. So yes, in general, your AC needs it. 

Read on to learn if your AC is having problems that may be due to a lack of refrigerant.

Signs Your AC Might Need Refrigerant

How do you know if your AC needs more refrigerant? Here are a few signs to watch out for:

1. Warm Air Blowing

If the air coming from your AC vents is warm air instead of nice, cool air, that’s a sign that you may be low. Without enough, your air conditioner won’t be able to properly cool down the air.

2. Ice Build-Up

Another clue that your AC might need more, is if you notice ice building up on the coils or pipes of your unit. This can happen when there’s not enough refrigerant flowing through the system to absorb the heat properly.

3. Increased Energy Bills

Have you noticed your energy bills creeping up for no apparent reason? A lack of refrigerant can cause your AC to work harder than it should, leading to higher energy consumption and ultimately, higher bills.

Can I Add It Myself?

Now, you might be wondering, “Can I just top off my AC refrigerant myself?” Here’s the deal: adding refrigerant isn’t as simple as filling up your car’s gas tank. It requires specialized equipment and knowledge. It’s best to leave this task to the pros at Armstrong Plumbing, Air & Electric. They have the right tools and the proper training to ensure this task is done correctly and safely.

What Should I Do if I Suspect Low Refrigerant?

If you suspect that your AC is low on refrigerant, the best course of action is to call Armstrong. A trained Armstrong technician will inspect your system, diagnose any issues, and recharge the refrigerant if necessary.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, refrigerant, which may still be called Freon® by some, is essential for keeping your air conditioning system running smoothly and efficiently. If you notice any signs that your AC might be low, don’t hesitate to reach out to Armstrong Plumbing, Air & Electric for help. 

Remember, regular maintenance from a skilled HVAC professional is key to keeping your AC in tip-top shape! Armstrong Plumbing, Air & Electric offers an inclusive maintenance package to ensure your AC is always ready when you need it.

Contact Armstrong to schedule your AC repair or regular air conditioning maintenance today!