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Common Questions About Refrigerant For Home Air Conditioners—Answered!

June 27, 2013

People in the Sarasota, Florida area need their air conditioners working almost year round to escape the overly humid heat.

That’s why many of them have so many questions about refrigerant, the lifeblood of an air conditioner’s cooling system.

Here are the most common questions we hear about refrigerant and our answers to them.

“How can I tell if I need more refrigerant in my home’s air conditioner?”

Here are telltale signs that your air conditioner is low on refrigerant:

  • Supply ducts are blowing hot air even when your air conditioner is running and your thermostat is set to “cool”
  • Water accumulates on the floor by your furnace due to condensation.
  • House takes forever to cool off
  • Air conditioner runs much longer than usual
  • Ice quickly builds up on evaporator coils (the inside unit of a split air conditioner system)
  • High electric bills (because the air conditioner runs so much)

Of course, the only way to know for sure whether your AC needs more refrigerant is to test it. But you likely don’t have specialty air conditioning gauges just lying around your house. A trusted air conditioning company like Cool Today will make sure your system has the right level of refrigerant during a routine AC tune-up.

“How often should I have to replace refrigerant in my home’s air conditioner?”

Needing to add refrigerant to your air conditioner should be rare. Refrigerant isn’t like gas in a car; refrigerant is not consumed when you use your air conditioner.

So, if you need to add refrigerant to your air conditioner, it’s leaking the refrigerant somewhere. And if it’s leaking, then you need a professional air conditioner contractor to check for leaks and fix those before adding more refrigerant.

Most maintenance plans offered by air conditioner contractors include an annual check-up that includes checking your system for leaks.

“How much does it cost to add refrigerant in a home’s air conditioner?”

This depends on a variety of factors:

  • How many pounds of refrigerant your system needs (most units hold 4 to 6 lbs depending on the cooling capacity, or tonnage, of the unit)
  • What time of the year it is (prices go up in summer since demand is higher)
  • How much are suppliers charging?
  • Your local climate (warmer climates like the Sarasota area have higher demand for refrigerant)

On average, refrigerant costs $60-$85 a pound. Refrigerant costs so much because it contains ozone-depleting substances and is therefore being phased out by the EPA. That means there’s less supply of it to go around while it’s still in high demand, raising the prices.

Got questions? We have answers

If you have any other questions about the refrigerant in your air conditioner, ask one of our experts for help.

If your system needs refrigerant or you want a refrigerant leak check, schedule an appointment time online.

Cool Today provides award-winning air conditioning service to Sarasota, Florida and the surrounding cities and counties.

Posted in: Troubleshooting

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