A Comprehensive Guide on How to Check Refrigerant Levels in AC

Air conditioners are super important in our homes, keeping our rooms comfy. The thing that makes them work is called refrigerant. It’s the stuff inside the AC that helps cool the air.

When the refrigerant level is low, your AC might struggle to cool your space, leading to discomfort and higher energy bills.

So, it’s crucial to ensure the refrigerant level is correct. Several signs indicate low refrigerant levels, such as hissing or bubbling noises and warm air blowing from your AC.

Read also: Why Is My AC Spitting Out Water?

How to Check Refrigerant Level in AC

Before checking and fixing the refrigerant level, it’s essential to understand the steps involved.

● Identify the Refrigerant Type

Every AC has a specific type of refrigerant. To find out which one your AC uses, look for the unit’s plate type.

This plate will have much information, but you’re looking for something like “R407C” or another code. That’s the name of the refrigerant. Knowing this is crucial because using the right type can keep things going smoothly.

● Gauge the Pressure

The refrigerant moves around inside the AC under specific pressures. Most AC systems have gauges that show the pressure.

There are usually two readings: suction (or low) and discharge (or high) pressure. Also, you might find this info in the manual or documentation that came with the unit if your AC doesn’t have these gauges.

how to check refrigerant level in ac

● Determine Condensation and Evaporation Temperatures

Every refrigerant has its specific temperatures where these changes happen. You can find these temperatures using a tool called the refrigerant slider.

For evaporation, you’ll set the slider to ‘dew,’ and for condensation, you’ll set it to ‘bubble.’ It will give you the temperatures you need.

● Measure Refrigerant Temperatures

Now, it’s time to see what’s happening inside your AC. Measure the refrigerant temperature in two places using a digital thermometer.

They are the suction pipe (before it goes into the compressor) and the discharge pipe (right before the expansion valve). These readings tell you how hot or cold the refrigerant is at these points.

Read also: AC Compressor Rattling Noise?

● Calculate Refrigerant Level

You can evaluate the refrigerant’s status level from the measurements you’ve taken. Calculate superheating by finding the difference between the suction pipe’s temperature and the evaporation point.

For subcooling, determine the gap between the discharge pipe’s temperature and where condensation occurs. If the results hover near 10K for superheating and 5K for subcooling, your system is likely operating efficiently.

How Do I Add Refrigerant to My Air Conditioner?

The next step is to know what to do if the levels aren’t correct. Let’s add refrigerant to ensure your AC is back in top shape.

● Turn off the AC

Safety first! Always turn it off before you do anything with your AC, especially when dealing with refrigerants. It ensures the system is stable and prevents unexpected issues or accidents. It’s like making sure the stove is off before you clean it.

● Recharge the Refrigerant

Recharging isn’t just pouring in some refrigerant. It’s a careful process of adding the right amount of the correct type of refrigerant.

Too much or too little can cause problems, so being precise is essential. Remember the type plate you checked earlier? That’s where you’ll find the type of refrigerant your AC needs.

● Contact a Technician

Adding refrigerant to an AC is best left to the pros. They have the tools, knowledge, and experience to do it safely and correctly. If you need clarification on anything or the levels are way off, it’s a good idea to call a technician.

Understanding how to check the refrigerant level in an air conditioner is crucial for maintaining a comfortable indoor environment. Regularly monitoring and addressing refrigerant issues can ensure your AC’s longevity, optimal performance, and energy efficiency.

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AirconMag is an experienced author and Air Conditioner expert. With years of practical experience in the field authored several informative articles on various aspects of AC unit, including installation, maintenance, and repair