Know How to Test the Refrigerant Levels in Your HVAC Unit

PrRefrigerant Levels in Your HVAC Unitoper refrigerant levels in your central air conditioner are critical to optimum AC cooling performance. It also has a significant effect on your monthly electricity bill.If refrigerant levels are too low, the cooling process will be less efficient and the unit will run longer cycles, consuming excess electricity and also incurring system wear and tear. Ice will form on the indoor evaporator coil, blocking airflow. Eventually, the system may automatically shut down.

Can You Test Your Own AC Refrigerant Levels?

HVAC technicians who remove or install air conditioning refrigerant must be certified, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, section 602.  Here are some of the factors involved in testing the refrigerant level:

  • Low refrigerant is almost always the result of leakage somewhere in the system. Therefore, a digital refrigerant-leakage detector should be utilized to check the entire system for leaks, including both coils and all refrigerant lines.
  • Because refrigerant is classified as a toxic substance, required safety equipment includes a respirator, safety glasses, thick gloves, and a heavy, long-sleeve shirt.
  • Your central AC may already incorporate gauges that display refrigerant pressure. The gauges may be located inside the outdoor unit that houses the compressor and the condenser coil.
  • If gauges are not present, AC manifold gauges must be connected to proper ports of the low-pressure and high-pressure sides of the system.

A More Professional Approach to Refrigerant Levels

DIY diagnosis and repair of central air conditioners is not recommended. If you suspect you have a low level of refrigerant in your AC, the best recommendation is to contact a qualified HVAC contractor for an inspection and repair by an EPA-certified HVAC technician.

A qualified technician has all the equipment required to comply with Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The standard procedure includes checking the refrigerant level, identifying and repairing any leaks, then safely restoring the refrigerant level to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Ask Paitson Bros. for more advice if you suspect your air conditioner may have a low refrigerant level. Since 1922, we’ve been ready with qualified, certified service personnel to handle all aspects of cooling and heating.

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