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When Is It Time to Recharge Air Conditioning Unit?

The only time most people pay close attention to their air conditioner is when it does not cool the house like normal. Central air conditioners provide continuous cooling of the home. The coolants or refrigerants included in the system are meant to last the lifetime of the A/C. This is what normally happens, but some issues, contaminants, accidental wear and tear and other damage can lead to air conditioning malfunction. It can cause the depletion of the amount of coolant in the system, in which case it will need a home air conditioning recharge.

A home air conditioning recharge does not mean that you are recharging the electrical feature of your system. Technically, this means that the coolant tank needs refilling. This is done when the coolant level is low or depleted due to cracks or leaks in some of the air conditioning system’s parts.

Depending on the problem, which should be fixed immediately to avoid further damage, home air conditioning recharge might also be needed. This is not always the case, but here are some ways and signs to determine when the coolant needs recharging.

Definition of recharging

Before we go into the details of when you should recharge your air conditioning unit, let us first define what recharging means. It actually means refilling rather than recharging, as the term is more applicable to the process that involves electricity, which does not happen refilling the unit.

An air conditioner uses a coolant or refrigerant that pulls the heat from the air. After the heat transfer, it goes to the compressor. When there is no refrigerant or the level is low, the transfer of heat will not happen.

Only an HVAC technician with professional certification is allowed to perform this maintenance service. It may sound simple, but the process is quite dangerous to your system and to you if it is done improperly. Anyone who performs air conditioner recharging without proper certification is breaking the law.

What you can do

There are some visual signs that indicate whether you air conditioning unit needs recharging. You have to go over each one to determine if the unit is actually low on refrigerant or there is something wrong with the mechanical parts.

Check the Thermostat

Recharge Air Conditioning Unit

The thermostat is the first to be checked if you think your A/C unit may be low on coolant and needs recharging. Bear in mind that the thermostat may only need a reset for the unit to start functioning as usual. Initially set the thermostat at about 85°. Wait for at least 30 minutes before adjusting it to 60°. Wait for the unit to run normally. If your house starts to get cool, it is a matter of resetting the thermostat. Also check if dust has accumulated in the thermostat unit. This can cause humidity to buildup, which can lead to components being stuck up. If the cooling result is not desirable, it is time to call an A/C technician. For quality and prompt service, get in touch with Fischer Heating and Air Conditioning.

Check the Vents

Remove the dust, wipe off the humidity from the vents and thermostat unit and reset it. If you continue to get warm instead of cold air, it is a sign that a home air conditioning recharge is required. Wait for at least 15 minutes after you have turned on the central air conditioning unit. Sometimes it’s just residual air that is why it’s warm. But if the system still blows warm air after some time, it’s a sure sign that a coolant recharge is the solution.

Look for a Buildup of Frost

Recharge Air Conditioning UnitAir conditioning coolant is a type of gas. Items can freeze when they come in contact with the coolant. When you suspect that there are leaks, you can check connectors, pipes and hoses to see if you can spot frost buildup. You can also look at other parts, such as fan motors and other tubes.

When you have already checked the thermostat and noticed that it still blows warm air, it could be because there is no more coolant in the tank. It’s time to call a trusted air conditioning technician when some of the air conditioner’s parts are frozen. These are signs indicating a need for home air conditioning recharge as there is a crack, hole or a small break somewhere in the system and the coolant is escaping.

A central air conditioning system is a durable piece of equipment. However, like any other mechanical appliance, it still needs regular inspection and maintenance. You should also check the outdoor units, the vents and filters for accumulated dirt and dust that can adversely affect the performance of the A/C. Regular cleaning can save you from costly repairs.

Inspecting your home

You can do some minor maintenance tasks while some would require professional attention. It is a good idea to know the difference between what you can do and what should be done by a professional. It can help you save time, money and keep you from causing damage to your air conditioning system.

Check the fan

Aside from checking the air temperature from the air vents and checking the thermostat, look at the fan as well. It should start automatically as soon as you turn on your air conditioner. If it does not start, the motor could be the problem. If this happens, turn off the unit and call a technician. Never place your hands inside to touch the fan to avoid an accident.

Check the filters

Your air conditioning may also malfunction if the air filters are clogged. You can change the filters yourself or have a technician replace the filters for you. This could be the reason why your system is not functioning as expected.

Need for professional services

Be sure to call a professional to do the recharging of your air conditioning unit. They are trained and licensed to handle the refrigerant and perform the recharging service.

Under normal circumstances, the unit should not lose its refrigerant and should actually last longer than the air conditioner. Damage to the air conditioning unit is often the cause of leaks. If it’s due to poor manufacturing it is possible to request for a replacement, if it is still brand new or still under warranty. If it is beyond the warranty period, or more than five years old, something else is causing the leak.

If the leak is small, a recharge of the refrigerant is a better option, as it is more affordable than replacing your system. Soldering the hole before the recharging is usually the way to repair the leak.

If after your visual inspection and basic maintenance, the unit does not work as usual, call a professional. If you’re certain that the coolant is the problem and a home air conditioning recharge is necessary, call Fischer Heating and Air Conditioning at 206-202-9499 or 425-406-3050. Our qualified and licensed technicians always provide prompt service. We will only recharge your system after we have made a thorough inspection. We will then provide you with options and a cost estimate for the job. Only professionals trained and licensed to handle gaseous materials can do the recharging. The home air conditioning recharge should be done properly to avoid pricey mistakes.

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