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How Do You Recharge AC?

working HVAC system outside houseDIY or call a professional?

Or should you recharge your air conditioning? The task of ac coolant recharge takes specific tools and knowledge to use those tools. It takes understanding to know what type of ac coolant recharge to use and how much to use, or to tell if an air conditioner even needs any coolant. What is ac coolant anyway?

When you hear somebody say they had their air conditioning recharged, it is the same as having it refilled.  Air conditioning coolant is a refrigerant that makes an air conditioner blow cold by pulling heat out of the system. Once the heat is removed, the air goes through the compressor and blows cold into your home. If the refrigerant is low or non-existent, then it could be your system needs an ac coolant recharge.

The refrigerant charging for ac is in a can that is under high pressure, making a hazardous product to handle. If not installed correctly, the can could explode and/or the air conditioner system that is being refilled can be damaged.  Because of the danger to humans, equipment, and the environment, AC coolant is governed by the Environmental Protection Administration. To purchase and use this product, you must be trained, certified, and licensed.

How do I know if my AC is low on refrigerant?

When ac coolant recharge is needed, you’re paying for it with a rising electric bill. When an air conditioning unit needs ac coolant recharge, the whole system is not working correctly, and it is working hard trying to do its job of cooling your home. By ignoring the need to have ac coolant recharge to your system, you’re also damaging the system.

Here are seven indications that your system needs an ac coolant recharge:

  1. Your home isn’t cooling off as quickly as it once did. With summer temperatures in Texas, air conditioners are often in overdrive, trying to keep up with demand. When it isn’t keeping your home cool, it probably needs a refrigerant and recharge, which must be done by a certified and licensed HVAC technician.
  2. Vents are blowing warm air. When you turn on the air conditioner or lower the thermostat to cool the house, and warm air, maybe hot air, blows from the vents, your system could have several issues going on, but in most cases, it needs an ac coolant recharge.
  3. The thermostat never drops to the desired temperature setting. When you set the thermostat to 75, but the temperature in your house never gets that cool, your system could have other issues, but the most common problem is usually the need for an ac coolant recharge.
  4. A high electric bill. Yes, every summer, the electric bills go up higher than usual, your HVAC unit likely needs an ac coolant recharge.
  5. Ice on the AC lines. Your air conditioning system has metal lines that carry the coolant through the system so that it cools your home. If you notice ice on these copper lines or the coils inside the unit, it needs an ac coolant recharge.  
  6. Water standing around the HVAC system heater. When that ice melts off those copper lines and coils, it will puddle at the furnace part of the HVAC system. If you see water there, summer or winter, you need to call a professional HVAC service immediately and turn the system off.
  7. Hearing bubbling or hissing noises. When an HVAC system has a low level of refrigerant, often, it is because it has a recharge refrigerant leak somewhere, which is creating a bubbling or hissing noise.  
working HVAC system outside house

Can you recharge your home AC yourself?

As we stated earlier in this piece, the Environmental Protection Agency has governmental control over the product that provides the AC coolant recharge. It has to be installed correctly because of the high pressure of the refrigerant itself and the HVAC system where it is installed.

Mechanically speaking, a homeowner with a DIY skill probably could do the procedure if they have access to the equipment and refrigerant. However, it would be hazardous if the recharging isn’t done correctly, and it would be against the law.

Do you charge AC on the high or low side?

AC coolant recharge is done on the LOW side with the hose tool that you’ll need to have the proper fitting. The fitting will be found on the suction line going to the compressor. The HIGH side fitting is found on the line that goes between the compressor and the condenser.

What side do you add refrigerant?

Okay, so you still want to do your own ac coolant recharge. It is understandable when you’re on a tight budget, trying to circumvent the cost of a professional HVAC technician. It is with extreme caution that we share this DIY information with you, and we want to reiterate that for safety’s sake, for you, your family, the HVAC system, and your home, rethink this and consider having it done by a certified, trained professional.

You will add the ac coolant recharge on the system’s LOW-PRESSURE SIDE. When you purchase the coolant and tools, there will be a hose tool that is designed specifically to hook to the low side. The high side is a different size and shape and will not work on the low side. If the refrigerant will not recharge, stop what you’re doing and call a professional HVAC technician. There could be something wrong with your HVAC system other than needing ac coolant recharge, or there could be something wrong with the can of coolant you have.

Can AC recharge in cold weather?

Yes, it is recommended to have your HVAC system checked twice a year, once in the spring before the summer heat arrives, and once in the fall before winter arrives. In the fall, if the cold weather comes sooner than anticipated, your HVAC technician should be able to proceed with the inspection and ac coolant recharge if it is needed.  The equipment and tools they have to enable them to get an accurate reading on the HVAC system regardless of the weather.

 Summertime in Texas is hot, and some years, like this year, it gets hotter sooner, and it gets hot quick. Making sure your air conditioning is working is essential not only for comfort but for the sake of not burning up your HVAC system also.  If it needs ac coolant recharge and you keep running it, you’ll find yourself having to replace the entire unit.  Always call a certified, licensed technician is the best thing you can do, even if it does cost a little more money than you want to spend. Keep your home cool with quality air conditioner recharge, call (817) 398-8887 today.