Freon is a refrigerant. The material absorbs the heat your air conditioner produces. Then the refrigerant line leads the heated refrigerant to the outside air, where the heat can dissipate.
Without freon, your air conditioning system can’t regulate its temperature, and no freon at all would overheat your system.
Low levels of refrigerant can make your coils turn frosty because the refrigerant line’s internal pressure is fluctuating.
What can make your A/C’s freon run low?
Your air conditioner’s freon is in a closed loop – it will cool down or heat up as it moves throughout the air conditioning system.
It will drop or increase in pressure depending on the temperature. But the refrigerant shouldn’t ever leave the closed loop.
The most common cause for low freon is a leak somewhere in your line. If there is even a minuscule break or bend in the refrigerant line, the high pressure of the system will make it leak out over time.
These leaks can start from damage or erosion. Things like impact damage near your outdoor condenser unit, like from yard tools, can easily cause a leak.
Even problems during installation or manufacturing may lead to a problem in your refrigerant line.
However, the most common cause is eroding metal, as ccid can etch through the material and lower the level of freon still in your system.
While a refrigerant leak isn’t necessarily dangerous, it should never enter your home’s airflow.
Also, replacing the freon can get expensive, as older models of air conditioning units use a type of freon that has restricted production, and that makes it more expensive to replace.
3 Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs Freon
An AC technician is the only person who can really get to the problem of a refrigerant problem and give you answers.
They can test your system for low refrigerant and will have the equipment to find the source of a leak.
But there are a few easy-to-find signs that indicate your freon might be low.
1. Your air conditioner is blowing hot air when it shouldn’t
If your refrigerant is low, your system can’t cool down the air, so your vents will only blow room temperature air.
Depending on your air conditioning setup and the temperature in your attic, it might even blow hot air.
Low or leaking refrigerant isn’t the only problem that can cause hot air. A broken or incorrectly thermostat can do the same thing.
But if you know the thermostat isn’t the problem, you regularly change your filter, and your A/C worked fine in the winter, the refrigerant is probably the problem.
2. The unit’s coils are frosting over and you hear dripping
Your refrigerant lines are a closed system, but when the line has leaks and holes in it, the pressure doesn’t stay as high as it should.
The tiny holes leak your freon slowly, which is good news for your budget, but it also means that the holes won’t make the line’s pressure equalize with the outside world.
Low pressure makes the temperature really cold, and that coldness will make the evaporator coil frost over. However, that frost on the outside of the coil will eventually melt.
That’s probably what you hear when there’s dripping near your unit.
3. You can hear the refrigerant line hissing
Those refrigerant lines started as highly pressurized tubes, and when the freon starts leaking out, it can make a high, whining hiss.
But this sound comes from the actual holes in your refrigerant lines and you might not be able to hear it.
Low levels of freon and leaks aren’t something safe to try and repair on your own.