The 3 Most Common Home Refrigerant (Freon®) Questions You Have — Answered!

The 3 Most Common Home Refrigerant (Freon®) Questions You Have — Answered!

Rheem Air Conditioners

Living in a dry, hot desert is fun, isn’t it? Luckily, we in the Phoenix area have our central air conditioner units to keep us nice and cold. But without refrigerant, you air conditioner is just a big machine that blows hot air. That’s why many homeowners, in order to keep their air conditioner units working properly, have a variety of questions about refrigerant (or Freon®, as they call it.)

So, we decided to help people out by answering the three most common questions we hear about your home air conditioner’s refrigerant.

“How do I check for low levels of refrigerant for my air conditioning unit?”

The only real way to know if your air conditioner is low on refrigerant is to have a professional air conditioner technician test it. Because chances are you don’t have specialty air conditioning gauges (called a manifold gauge set) just lying around your house, so it’s best left to the professionals.

Other than straight testing it, there are some obvious signs that you’re low on refrigerant:

  • Supply ducts (the vents blowing out the air) are blowing hot air even though your air conditioner is running and your thermostat is set to “cool”
  • Supply ducts blow hot air only when it’s hot outside, but returns to normal when it’s cool outside (this is a sign that you’re partially low on refrigerant but not super low)
  • Air conditioner runs constantly
  • Ice quickly builds up on the inside unit of your split conditioner system.
  • Higher electric bills than usual due to the the air conditioner running so much
  • Water forms on the floor by your furnace due to condensation on the inside unit of your air conditioner.

Have you noticed these symptoms and want a refrigerant charge? Contact us online to schedule an appointment time.

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

Needing to add refrigerant isn’t like adding gas in a car. Your air conditioner does not consume refrigerant, so adding it should be rare.

If you need to add refrigerant to your air conditioner, it’s leaking somewhere. That means you need to call a professional air conditioner technician to find the leaks and fix them.

“How much does a refrigerant charge cost?”

Well, it depends on a few things:

  • How many pounds of Freon your system needs– The less your systems currently has in it, the more it’s going to cost to refill it. Most central air conditioning units hold 4 to 6 pounds depending on it’s cooling capacity/tonnage.
  • What time of the year it is– Prices go up in summer because demand for it is higher.
  • Your local climate– Warmer climates like the Phoenix area have higher demand for refrigerant, so the price is higher.

Refrigerant charges cost $80-$115 a pound on average.

Now, before you start throwing stones, let me explain why it’s so expensive.

It costs so much because the most common central air refrigerant, R-22 (commonly referred to as Freon), is being phased out by the EPA because it contains ozone-depleting substances.

“Phased out” means there’s less supply. And since R-22 is still in high demand, that means the price artificially rises (darn you economic forces!).

Ask us your refrigerant questions

These are just a few questions we hear people ask, but it’s certainly not all of them. I’m sure you have a few of you own. if you do, feel free to ask our experts for help.

If your system needs refrigerant, schedule an appointment time online.