Most homeowners typically assume that any refrigerant in a central air conditioner is endless. Actually, it is not. Depending on the make, model, size and age of your central air unit, the refrigerant could last a couple years or it might last ten summers. It may also dissipate faster if you live in a state where it is fairly hot and uncomfortable all year round. The following helpful hints will alert you to when you need more refrigerant in your air conditioner, how to fill it, and what costs to expect.
How to Tell If You Need More Refrigerant
If, one summer, your central air conditioner is doing great, but the next summer you switch it on you suddenly have lukewarm air, the refrigerant may be quite low. This is especially true if you have never had any maintenance performed on your unit, and you have been living in the same house for many years now. If the air exiting your vents also wavers between breezy-cool and no cool at all, this is also a sign that the refrigerant is very low and struggling to do what you expect it to do.
How to Fill It
Refrigerant problems are only diagnosed by an HVAC contractor specialist. Additionally, only an HVAC contractor/specialist can fill the refrigerant because it is a very dangerous gas that can cause severe injuries to your skin and eyes if accidentally mishandled. Once your contractor diagnoses the problem with the refrigerant, he or she can then fill the low or empty refrigerant coils so that your air conditioning can keep running and you will not need any air conditioning repairs for a little while.
What Costs to Expect When You Have Your Air Conditioner's Refrigerant Refilled
Usually, there is a cost for the contractor to just come to the house for an inspection. Then there might be a diagnostic fee, which varies from under fifty dollars to over one hundred dollars, depending on where you live and the type of central A/C unit you have. Finally, there is the cost of the refrigerant.
Freon is the refrigerant of choice, since the EPA has all but banned many other refrigerant options for air conditioners. The price for this refrigerant is inconsistent, given a multitude of factors, but usually it costs anywhere from sixty dollars a pound to close to one hundred dollars a pound, and given that most A/C units require a refill of five to ten pounds, you could be looking at a pretty hefty bill. However, as long as you do not have any leaks present in the system, that five to ten pound freon refill should last you several more summers or a couple of years if you run your A/C all year long.
For air conditioning repair, contact a company such as HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric.