Are you struggling to keep your home cool due to constant AC issues? Call Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing at (918) 393-4577 to get the air conditioning services you need to keep comfortable year-round.
If you have an older air conditioning system, you may be wondering, “Can old air conditioners be recharged?”
Without your air conditioner, your home would be a lot more uncomfortable during Tulsa’s intense summers. Even if you have a good air conditioner, you need to make sure it’s in tip-top shape and ready to keep you and your family cool when the outdoor heat rolls around.
So can you recharge an old air conditioner? When is it best to cut your losses and just install a new unit?
As Tulsa’s AC installation company, Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can answer your pressing questions. Here’s what you need to know.
What Does it Mean to Recharge an AC?
So what does it even mean to recharge an air conditioner?
Basically, when you recharge your air conditioner, you’re changing or refilling its refrigerant, a liquid that turns warm air into cool, air-conditioned air.
As air enters your air conditioning system, the refrigerant extracts the heat, turning it into cooler air, which it then releases back into your home to help lower the indoor temperature. Maintaining a sufficient level of refrigerant is very important for your air conditioner to not only keep your home cool but to operate efficiently.
A common problem that homeowners experience is refrigerant leaks. This is an especially problematic issue because it does more than prevent your air conditioner from doing its job. Refrigerant is also toxic, making refrigerant leak repairs an emergency situation.
When this happens, or you notice that your air conditioner doesn’t have enough refrigerant in the system, you need to recharge your air conditioner. To be more specific, you need a professional to do it for you.
The R22 Freon Ban
Air conditioners can use more than one type of refrigerant. But one that the government no longer permits is R22 Freon, or HCFC-22.
While R22 Freon was once the go-to refrigerant for air conditioning systems in the United States, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has banned it. But why?
The primary reason is that R22 is a significant contributor to ozone depletion. As you probably already know, the ozone has the important job of absorbing the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, protecting us on Earth from harm.
While all types of refrigerant are harmful to some level, R22 Freon is especially toxic. So much so that it can actually help deplete the ozone, which is harmful to the entire environment.
Sales for R22 stopped in 2010 due to government regulation, so any air conditioner made after that year does not use this type of refrigerant.
As of 2020, it is illegal to make R22. However, you can use recycled or reclaimed refrigerant if your air conditioner still runs on R22 Freon.
So can old air conditioners be recharged using R22? While, technically, the answer is yes, R22 Freon is slowly depleting and will soon be completely unavailable. So if you want to recharge your cooling system with R22, it will be a lot more challenging for your HVAC technician.
Is It Smarter to Recharge an Old Air Conditioner or Just Replace it?
Although we all have different definitions of “old,” HVAC professionals consider air conditioners over ten years old outdated. But just because you have an older system doesn’t mean that it’s best to just replace it when it gives you trouble.
With proper maintenance, air conditioners can last over 15 years. So if your system is ten years old and just now giving you trouble, you could potentially get away with recharging it. However, in most cases, it’s best to just replace it, especially if you have a refrigerant leak.
The best way to determine what you should do is by calling an HVAC professional. They can review the pros and cons of each option with you and help you find the most cost-effective solution.
When Should You Recharge Your Air Conditioner?
Not sure if you need to recharge your air conditioner?
As complex systems, AC units consist of several mechanical and electrical parts that work together to keep your home cool. As such, a lot of different things can go wrong. So how do you know if the problem is refrigerant-related?
Here are a few signs telling you that you need to recharge your cooling system:
- Your energy bills are on the rise, even without a significant change in usage: Without enough refrigerant, your AC unit will draw more power to cool your home, leading to rising energy costs.
- Your AC compressor is running constantly: A constantly running AC compressor means your system is overworking, which is often due to a refrigerant leak.
- There’s frost on the evaporator coils: Ice-covered evaporator coils are a common sign of a refrigerant leak.
- Your air conditioner blows warm air instead of cool: You clearly have a problem if your AC blows warm instead of cool air. A lot of the time, this is due to insufficient refrigerant.
- You hear a hissing noise coming from the unit: Is your unit making weird noises? It could be telling you that it needs to be recharged.
How to Recharge Your Air Conditioner
Can old air conditioners be recharged without professional help? In short: no.
If you’re looking to recharge your air conditioner, the first and most important thing to do is call a professional. Refrigerant is extremely toxic, so trying to handle it on your own puts yourself and anyone else in your home in danger.
Instead of risking personal and property damage, let trained and experienced HVAC professionals handle it for you.
However, there are a few things you can do when you need to recharge your air conditioner:
- First, turn off the air conditioner and wait for the HVAC technician to arrive. If the leak occurs during summer, it’s an emergency service, so the technician should get to you rather quickly.
- Consider replacing the unit. As we previously mentioned, it may be smarter to replace your air conditioner if it’s over ten years old, especially if it’s now leaking refrigerant.
By hiring an AC technician that knows what they’re doing, you can rest easy knowing that your home’s indoor comfort and family’s safety are in the hands of an experienced professional. They can tell you whether it’s smarter to repair the system or replace it.
We’re Your Go-To Local AC Experts
Dealing with air conditioning problems? Not sure how to restore your home’s cooling? We’ve got you covered.
At Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we’ve seen and done it all when it comes to air conditioning problems. We know that these complex systems can have a lot of different problems. That’s why we pride ourselves on having highly trained, certified, and insured technicians that can quickly diagnose the issue and provide a prompt solution.
So can old air conditioners be recharged? Yes, but that’s not always the best solution.
If you have a refrigerant leak, call our technicians for immediate service. We’ll inspect your system, find the source of the leak, and help you determine the best course of action. If you want to prolong the life of your HVAC system or install a brand-new and more energy-efficient unit, call Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing at (918) 393-4577 to schedule a service. Let us help you restore your home’s cool air and keep your indoors comfortable year-round.