How Can I Tell If I Need More Freon in My Home Air Conditioner?

If your air conditioning system isn’t keeping up or is failing to keep your home or business comfortable, you may be low on Freon.

What is Freon?

Freon is the life-blood of your air conditioning system. Without it, or without the correct amount, your system cannot operate properly.

Freon has become a sort of synonym for air conditioning refrigerant, just as many people say Kleenex rather than “facial tissue” and Band-Aid rather than “adhesive bandage.”

The original form of Freon, called R22 in the industry, has now been banned by the EPA and is being phased out because it produces harmful chlorofluorocarbons, which destroys earth’s ozone; most homeowners refer to any type of refrigerant as “Freon.”

Myth: AC Freon is “used up” and needs to be regularly replaced

Regardless of whether you call it Freon, refrigerant, R22, Puron or R410A, it is never “used up.” The refrigerant is simply re-circulated through your air conditioner and used over and over.

That means the only time you’ll need to replace the Freon in your air conditioner is if there is a leak somewhere in the refrigerant circuit.

So, how can I tell if I need more refrigerant (or Freon)?

Since your air conditioner never uses up refrigerant, you’ll only need more if your system has sprung a leak. Unfortunately, the only way to truly know if your AC is low on Freon is to test it using specialized gauges.

Some symptoms include poor cooling and high humidity, longer than normal run times as well as and icing of the evaporator coil.

But because most Atlanta-area homeowners do not own and do not know how to use these gauges, you’re usually best off having a trusted air conditioning company come check your AC’s refrigerant level.

Tip: This test is usually part of an air conditioning tune-up. So if you think you might need more Freon or refrigerant in your AC, schedule a tune-up. This service is usually only a little more than a service charge and will have the added benefit of giving you a complete picture of the health of your AC system.

Have another Freon-related question? Ask one of our experts.

Think you might need more refrigerant in your AC system? Schedule an air conditioning tune-up online.

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