low freon symptoms

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

Chills Air Conditioning Expert Advice & News, Maintenance Leave a Comment

If you know anything about air conditioning, you know that a/c refrigerant (also known as Freon) is the lifeblood of your system. It circulates round and round, extracting heat and, just like your blood, it doesn’t get used up unless there is something wrong. There is absolutely no need to regularly “top up” on refrigerant, although this is a common scam used by unscrupulous AC repairmen.

And before we go any further, I’d like to clarify the terms we’ll be using in this blog. Freon is a brand name for a refrigerant that was the standard in home ac refrigerant until it was discovered that it is very harmful to the environment. It is now being phased out of use so if your AC system is more than ten years old we recommend that you read this blog on Freon replacement options. However, for the purposes of this blog we will use Freon to refer to all refrigerant types.

And back to the business at hand. As we said, Freon is the lifeblood of your system, so if it starts to leak, you’ll quickly notice something wrong. 

Here below are the 5 most common low Freon symptoms:

  • You Are Constantly Lowering the Thermostat
    If you need to constantly adjust your thermostat downwards to maintain your levelof comfort, your system isn’t working and the chances are it’s a Freon leak.
  • Higher Utility Bills
    If your system has sprung a leak, even a very small one, it will have to work harder to keep your space at the required thermostat settings. This means it will consume more power, which will be reflected immediately in your electricity bills. So, if your electricity costs have increased for no obvious reason, you might want to consider calling your AC maintanence man to check your system.
  • Vents Blowing Warm Air
    As we said, refrigerant circulates through your AC system, extracting the heat from the air. If the levels are lower than necessary, your system will not be able to remove the heat from the air and it will blow warm out of the vents.
  • Outside Unit Icing Up
    Since air conditioning is designed to keep things cold, you might not think a little ice appearing on your outside unit is a problem. It is. Ice on the outside unit is a sign that the evaporator coils are frozen, which can lead to a complete breakdown of the system and expensive repairs or replacement. Low refrigerant is one of the possible causes of Frozen evaporator coils, to find out the other possible causes, you can read this blog.
  • Strange Noises Coming From Your AC
    Freon for AC is a gas and when it is in your system it is pressurised. So, if it is leaking you might hear a strange hissing sound in your home. If the leak is bigger, the sound will be more like a gurgling or bubbling. Either way, you have an emergency on your hands and should call the repairman immediately. Freon ac is not only harmful to the environment, it is also harmful to human health. This is why you do not want it in your space and if you suspect a leak, keep the more vulnerable members of your family as far away from it as possible, preferably visiting relatives until it is fixed.

These are the five most common symptoms that you need a refrigerant charge. But remember, refrigerant doesn’t get used up. If your system needs a charge, you have a leak that needs to be fixed first. If your repairman sinmply tops up the Freon without dealing with the leak, it will continue to escape from the system, damaging your health, the environment and your wallet. So, if you think you are low on refrigerant, call us here at Chills Air Conditioning today and we’ll diagnose and treat the cause of the problem, not just the symptoms.

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