Does your air conditioner struggle to produce cold air? Are you finding that you have to run your AC for hours on end, just to get your home to maybe drop a degree or two? Your AC might not be on its last legs and in need of replacement—it might just need a little boost. This is done in the form of an air conditioning recharge service. A recharge is a fairly common air conditioning service, particularly for older air conditioning systems that may have experienced some material losses or other problems over time and constant exposure to the elements.
What Is a Recharge?
To put it in abundantly simple terms, an AC recharge is a service that adds additional refrigerant to your air conditioning system. Your air conditioner is supposed to be a fully-closed circuit between your indoor and outdoor units. However, microscopic leaks and repeated increases and decreases in temperature can ultimately cause refrigerant to leak out or fade away. So long as the amount of refrigerant in your lines is enough to maintain a pressure level within operating parameters, a small amount of loss isn’t that big of a deal. However, losing as little as one to two pounds can be devastating to your AC’s performance and even cause tremendous, costly damage to your system.
A recharge is best done by an air conditioning professional, typically as a part of a tune-up and maintenance service. During a recharge, a technician uses a precision-tuned device that measures the pressure inside your AC’s refrigerant lines in order to determine how much refrigerant you need. Once your refrigerant levels are back at a safe and efficient level, you should notice an immediate and drastic improvement in your HVAC system’s performance.
How Much Does a Recharge Cost?
Recharge services can vary greatly in cost, as several different factors will influence the final price. For starters, the type of refrigerant you use is a big contributor to price. Modern refrigerants are generally fairly affordable, but older air conditioners that still run on R-22 refrigerant (also known as Freon) will pay a much higher price simply because of the fact that Freon is no longer being manufactured in or imported into the United States due to environmental regulations. As a result, Freon can run over $100 per pound, and the cost is only increasing further as it becomes harder and harder to find.
Second, how much refrigerant you need will influence your cost as well. If you only need a small amount of refrigerant to top up your system and keep it at peak efficiency, you probably won’t pay too much. If you need several pounds, you will absolutely pay more.
We always recommend getting a quote from our team to find out exactly how much your recharge service will cost.
Do I Need an AC Recharge?
How do you know when your air conditioner needs to be recharged? Unless you have extensive experience and training in air conditioning systems, it’s rather easy to misidentify problems and potentially think you have a bigger issue on your hands. While we always recommend a professional inspection to know for sure, there are a few signs that point to the need for an air conditioning recharge service.
- Excessive noise: A lack of pressure in your refrigerant lines means reduced pressure in your AC compressor. This causes the compressor to make a ton of extra noise, as it struggles to operate under reduced loads. This can ultimately cause your compressor to fail as well, so you should absolutely have your AC recharged as soon as possible if your outdoor AC unit is making a ton of strange noises.
- Lack of cold air: If your air conditioner seems to be struggling to produce cold air, the reason could be that you don’t have enough refrigerant in your lines. Refrigerant is what collects and carries the heat inside your home to the outdoors. Without a proper amount of refrigerant, air coming from your system will feel warmer, and may also feel like temperatures are fluctuating and changing (feeling warmer and then cooler and then warmer again, often within seconds).
- High energy bills: A refrigerant shortage means longer cooling cycles, and that sends energy bills through the roof. If your energy bills are high and your air conditioner is running constantly with little to no results to show for it, then you probably need to have your system recharged.
- Strange smells: Refrigerants often have a strange, unique smell that will be emitted when your lines have a leak. If your air conditioner smells funny (your outdoor unit, in particular), then you probably need to have your air conditioner recharged.