Here’s how to tell if your AC needs Freon

As you feel the heat and humidity of the Mississippi summer, you’ll be grateful that your air conditioner is keeping your home cool from the Southern heat. Make sure that your air conditioner is ready for the summer ahead by scheduling an AC tune-up from the team at Southern Air. One common question we get from homeowners: “How do I tell if my AC needs Freon?” In this article, we’ll review what Freon is, what is actually used, and how to know if your air conditioner needs a recharge.

To schedule your AC tune-up here in McComb and Southwest Mississippi, contact our team today.

Schedule an AC tune-up with Southern Air, and our technician can tell if your AC needs Freon.

Schedule an AC tune-up with Southern Air, and our technician can tell if your AC needs Freon.

What is “Freon,” anyway?

For decades, homeowners have been hearing about “Freon” refrigerant. So much so that “Freon”—a trademark for a brand-name refrigerant known in the industry as R-22—has stuck with the public.

Using “Freon” is actually a misnomer, since R-22—the refrigerant used for decades in home AC systems—is actually on its way out. If your older air conditioner still uses Freon, you’ll have to start paying more and more for it, since it hasn’t been manufactured since 2010 due to environmental concerns. Its replacement, R-410A, is better for the environment and most air conditioners purchased and installed after 2010 use this new type of refrigerant.

Still, even with R-410A now widely in use, most people will still continue to call it “Freon.”

How do I know if I need more refrigerant?

Your Southern Air technician will check the levels of R-22 or R-410A when we perform our AC tune-up on your air conditioner. However, here are some other symptoms of low refrigerant levels:

#1. Warm air blowing through the vent

The most obvious sign is that you will no longer feel cold air coming out of the vents, as refrigerant is what cools the air down. Because your house never gets cooler, your thermostat may show the indoor temperature as never going down to what you have the AC set at.

#2. Your utility bill keeps increasing

Low coolant levels will make your AC run longer and work harder. Your utility bill is likely to increase much more than is normal, so be sure to check the usage and cost each month to see if they spike. A higher bill can also be from a different issue, but either way, you want it fixed.

#3. Frost building up on the unit

The only reason why Freon would be low is due to a leak from a puncture, corrosion, a factory defect, or poor installation. You can tell there is a leak when there is frost on the unit’s parts. Other signs include the following:

  • Tiny bubbles in the evaporator coils
  • A hissing sound
  • A bad odor coming out

Freon (either R-22 or R-410A) can be dangerous to inhale, especially if it enters your home, so call Southern Air immediately if you smell something foul.

Can you recharge Freon on your own?

DIY skills are a popular way these days to save money and learn new skills. However, certain projects require the work of professionals, and refilling (or recharging) refrigerant is one of them.

As mentioned before, the substance can be harmful. Also, it not only takes adding more coolant but also finding and repairing the leak, as well as checking for any other issues. For example, leaks often cause damage to the compressor.

Insufficient or incorrect repairs will only lead to trouble again down the road. Instead, if you suspect you have a refrigerant leak, call Southern Air for AC repairs here in McComb.