What is Refrigerant and How Do You Know if You Have a Leak?

how to check the refrigerant level of an AC What is air conditioner refrigerant?

Want to know how to check the refrigerant level of an AC? We have the answers. Refrigerant is the substance that is contained in the copper coils of an AC unit. It switches between liquid and gaseous states and in the process cools and dehumidifies the air. For decades, the most common refrigerant was R-22. However, this refrigerant has ozone-depleting properties and is therefore extremely harmful if it leaks out of the AC unit. Right now, R-22 is being phased out and gradually replaced with ozone-friendly alternatives, such as R-410A, which doesn’t contain chlorine.

When to recharge AC refrigerant?

Your AC is a closed, sealed system that doesn’t use up the refrigerant. You absolutely don’t have to top it off with refrigerant just because some time has passed since you bought your system.

At the time the equipment was originally installed, it should have been charged with the correct amount of refrigerant. However, off-season installation in cold weather may be a factor in achieving correct values. Action Air offers complimentary checkup and adjustment if necessary for your system after it has had time to perform.

Once the system has been adequately charged, maintenance is recommended to monitor its performance.

If more than one pound of refrigerant is required to meet the correct level, most likely there is a leak. Instead of dumping more costly pounds of refrigerant into the system, put your money towards finding the source of the leak.

How to check AC refrigerant levels?

If it takes significantly longer to cool your home and you suspect your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, then the first thing to do is go to your outdoor condenser unit. Find two copper lines that go into the unit and put your hand on the larger, probably insulated, line. If the line is sweating and if it is cool to the touch, chances are your AC has enough refrigerant.

Next is to check the tubing of your unit. Inspect the lines for kinks, holes and hissing or gurgling sounds.

Of course, the easiest and most reliable thing to do is to have a professional inspect the unit for leaks. There have been many instances when homeowners thought that they have a leaky refrigerant problem, when in fact their outdoor unit was just dirty, or their ducts were blocked, etc.

What should you do if it is leaking?

Your AC refrigerant has to recharged, but it’s also essential to locate the leak(s) and solve the problem. It’s highly unlikely that you can do this on your own, without a professional. Remember, you cannot solve the problem by simply adding a pound or two of refrigerant. If an AC technician tries to sell you the recharge without tackling the leak source, that’s a clear indicator of un-professionalism.

How to prevent refrigerant leaks?

Keep pets away from the outdoor unit. You can put up a fence around to prevent your dogs or cats from urinating on the unit. Dog’s urine is highly acidic, which can damage the coils. The fence should give the unit at least 2ft space all around, so the unit can function without problem.

Adjust sprinklers so they don’t directly hit the unit. This will cause premature corrosion of the coils.

Have your unit inspected annually by a reputable and reliable air conditioning in San Diego. Inspections will ensure any and all problems are nipped in the bud, saving you the money and stress during the summer heat.

Air conditioning in San Diego is our specialty!

Action Air Conditioning, Heating & Solar has been serving the San Diego area since 1975. For more than 42 years, we have managed to maintain and improve our high standards and service. Fully committed to serving the communities with knowledge, professionalism and respect, Action Air has earned the trust of thousands of San Diegans. Reach out to us today for any kind of AC installation, service or repair you need!

What You Risk If You Put Off Your Vista Air Conditioning Maintenance

Regular Vista air conditioning maintenance Are you guilty of ignoring your AC maintenance reminder? Whereas we all know that life is hectic and paced like a treadmill, putting off your Vista air conditioning maintenance (or anywhere in San Diego and South Cali, for that matter) can come back to bite you. Californian summer is not a time when you’d like to go without air conditioning for a few days. Bear in mind that 90% of all system breakdowns are put down to the lack of maintenance. So, why risk your comfort and home budget? Having your AC professionally maintained has never been easier – get in touch with Action Air Conditioning & Heating of San Diego. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. And here are some things that can go wrong if your AC goes unattended.

Continue reading “What You Risk If You Put Off Your Vista Air Conditioning Maintenance”

How Often Should I Change My HVAC System’s Air Filter?

Changing your HVAC’s air filter is the most important self-maintenance you can do to keep your HVAC system running smoothly, extend the lifespan of your cooling/heating system, save on utility bills, and keep your home’s air quality healthy.

But how do you know when and how often you should be replacing your HVAC system’s air filter?

Well, there are several factors that can affect how often an air filter needs changed, some of those are:

  • Home’s location
  • Number of people in household
  • Climate
  • Type of HVAC/filter
  • Quality of your city’s air/pollution

You should check and/or change your HVAC’s air filter at least twice a month if any of these conditions apply to your home:

  • In a consistently humid climate
  • Have pets
  • Persons living in the house with respiratory problems or allergies
  • Frequently use a fireplace
  • Run your AC 6+ months out of the year
  • Live in a windy or fire prone area

For homes with these conditions, it is best to have a continual supply of filters. Action Air offers cost efficient packs and will help you determine which type of air filters are best for your HVAC system to insure maximum air quality and savings.

Action Air Tip: Even if your filter is not dirty, be sure to check for dampness, mold or moisture, especially if you live in a humid climate. Immediately change your air filter if you see any signs of moisture as it can lead to mold and result in health problems.

If your home does not have pets, is a single occupant home, and has quality outdoor air, your air filter can go as long as 3 months before needing to be replaced. However, you should always check your air filter at least once a month, especially during the months where your AC is consistently running.

If your HVAC air filter seems to get dirty quickly – even after you just changed it – try a different type of air filter. There are more types of air filter than you may think, including:

Depending on your HVAC system and home’s conditions, a specific type of air filter could prove to be more efficient – even if the price of the filter is more upfront, it could last much longer than economy panels. Call 800 400-4152 or contact our comfort specialists online to help you decide which type of air filter is best for your HVAC system.