How Often Does a Central Air Conditioner Need More Refrigerant?

Is your air conditioner not cooling like it once did or your cooling costs going up? Many people may chalk this up to their AC unit’s age and it needing more refrigerant. However, your central air conditioner should never need more refrigerant. Unlike fuel oil or gas that you furnace consumes to heat your home, your air conditioner does not use up the refrigerant. So, if you need refrigerant added, the most likely cause is a leak.

The purpose of refrigerant is to absorb the heat from the air in your home and then transfer it outside. During this process, the refrigerant goes from being a liquid to a gas and then back to a liquid again. While this cycle will repeat itself an innumerable number of times, it does not diminish or weaken the refrigerant in any way. Moreover, your central air conditioner’s refrigerant resides in a closed and sealed system. This means should never escape.

As a consumer, it is important that you know this fact about your air conditioner’s refrigerant. There are many air conditioner repair technicians who will come to your home, notice the refrigerant is low, and just add more. In a very short amount of time, you are again experiencing warm air blowing from your air conditioner. The repair technician can then charge you again to come out and top off your refrigerant.

That said, a refrigerant leak repair is typically very expensive. So, it is important to take the time to truly consider whether to repair or replace your AC unit. In many instances, the best choice is to replace your old unit with a new, more efficient air conditioner. A technician will check the refrigerant level during an annual checkup and will advise you of a possible leak.

Do you still have questions? What haven’t we covered yet that is important to you? If you would like to talk about your central air conditioner, or a related topic, please contact us.