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Repair & Maintenance

What You Need to Know about Recharging Your Home’s AC Unit

Here is everything you need to know about recharging your AC unit. As temperatures start to rise, so will the need for your AC unit, make sure it is in top shape and ready to go.

Recharging your AC

With a yearly A/C tune-up each spring and regular filter changes, your A/C should function properly and keep your home cool and comfortable all summer long. But if warm or room-temperature air is coming out of your vents, something’s wrong. It could be that your HVAC unit needs an A/C recharge.

When you hear someone talking about recharging an A/C unit, they’re talking about adding more refrigerant to the unit and ensuring the refrigerant is properly pressurized within the refrigerant system. If you need Freon for your air conditioner, you’ll need to contact a professional heating and cooling technician – under EPA regulations, only a certified professional can recharge your home’s HVAC system.

Here’s what you need to know about recharging your A/C unit:

How Often Do You Need an A/C Recharge?

The refrigerant systems within A/C units are sealed. This means that home A/C units are designed not to need a recharge, unless a leak develops in the refrigerant system. When you have your yearly A/C tune-up, the technician will check to make sure that your unit’s refrigerant levels and refrigerant pressure are adequate and that the refrigerant system is leak-free. If your unit’s refrigerant system does spring a link, that leak will need to be repaired, and the refrigerant system will need to be refilled.

Most of the time, when an A/C unit is leaking refrigerant, it will blow warm air. That’s because the refrigerant is no longer there to cool the air passing through your unit. But it won’t go from cool to warm overnight like it might in the case of, say, a broken thermostat. It will slowly get warmer over time as your unit’s refrigerant leaks out, so you’ll notice your unit’s effectiveness diminishing over weeks or months.

Another sign that your refrigerant is leaking is the buildup of ice or frost in or on the unit. That’s because the refrigerant gas cools everything it touches to the point of freezing – that’s how it cools outside air to pump into your home. When you look inside your unit, it’s normal to see some frosty-looking coiled pipes. Those are your condenser coils, a primary part of the refrigerant system. If everything inside your unit looks frozen, or you’re seeing frost on the outside of the unit, it could be the result of a leak.

Outside AC recharge

A/C Recharge Cost

The cost of recharging your home air conditioner depends on the cause of the leak. Usually, buying Freon for an A/C and having a professional refill your refrigerant system will cost about $100 to $150.

If you need an A/C recharge, there’s a chance your unit also needs work to repair the cause of refrigerant leak, which can mean an added expense. Your American Home Shield® Home Warranty may help offset the cost of these repairs.

Repair or Replace?

Should you repair your A/C unit or replace it altogether? A unit that is 15 or 20 years old and leaking refrigerant may need to be replaced because, even if it is repaired, it is reaching the end of its lifespan, and something else will most likely go wrong with it soon. If your unit was newer, but the leak is the result of poor manufacturing, replacement may also be a good option. For most newer units, however, repair may be a good option. Whether or not you replace or repair your unit will depend on what parts need to be replaced, the size of the refrigerant leak, and the labor involved.

If your A/C unit is blowing hot air, it may need a recharge, but that’s not always the case. Your unit may need a good, professional cleaning, a new filter or a new thermostat instead of a refrigerant refill. When your A/C breaks down, your home warranty from American Home Shield can help defray the expensive costs to repair or replace your covered components. If your A/C is no longer working the way it should, call American Home Shield today to take advantage of your home warranty coverage. With help from our professional, experienced contractor network, your home can be on the road to recovery - cool and comfortable again.

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