Refrigerant Repair: When to fix your freon leak
Signs You May Have a Freon Leak
If your air conditioner is blowing air that is less cool than you’d like, or the AC is blowing warm air all together, there is a chance that you could have a refrigerant leak in your AC system. Keep in mind, though, this issue could also be caused by other simple problems like needing to change your furnace filter.
A professional HVAC contractor can use an AC leak detector to determine if you have an AC refrigerant leak in your system. However, sealing that hole with a product like AC Leak Freeze is not a permanent fix.
Why is this not a long-term solution? More than likely you’ll develop another Freon leak in the future as your system weakens from the first leak.
Adding Refrigerant/”Charging” Your Air Conditioner
Adding refrigerant to your air conditioner is a short term, and sometimes expensive, solution and will not fix the problem forever. If there is a Freon leak in your air conditioner, in most instances it will eventually leak out again and will need to be recharged. The only time this is not the case is if the leak is due to a loose part that can be tightened. This is usually the case when the leak is occurring on a newly installed system. In most other instances, this is not typically the situation, but can be a possibility for certain small air conditioner refrigerant leak problems as well.
How Long Will My AC Charge Last?
If you do choose to go with the option to repair the Freon or refrigerant leak in your air conditioning system, there is no way to tell how long this recharge will provide you with cool air. Quality Comfort does not provide a warranty for charging refrigerant for this reason, although all of our other repairs come with a lifetime guarantee.
R22 Refrigerant Phased Out in 2020
Depending on the age of your system, your air conditioner needs a R22 or R410A type of refrigerant (or what you may know as “Freon.”) R22 stopped being produced in 2010 and is extremely expensive, as much as 3 times the cost of R410A. The stock of R22 was slated to last until around 2020. While some stock is still available, it can be hard to come by. R410A refrigerant is the standard for all air conditioners made after 2010 and is much more affordable and better for the environment. The use of CFCs in R22, which are harmful to the environment, is one of a few reasons why the government mandated a halt to its production.
When it’s Best to Repair A Refrigerant Leak or Replace Your AC
It all comes down to cost and what you are comfortable with on whether you should proceed with an air conditioner replacement or a refrigerant repair. With older systems, the cost to repair the Freon leak is going to be high due to the cost of refrigerant. With newer systems, this will be less expensive. The other factor that must be taken into consideration is what type of leak you had. Is this something that could only be repaired with Leak Freeze or was it as simple as tightening a part? If you have a refrigerant repair with a leak sealant, you can probably assume this won’t last more than one season and you’ll need yet another charge soon. However, you may decide it’s more cost effective for you to continue sealing the leak and recharging for a period of time if the charge seems to be lasting an entire cooling season and you’re using a newer, less expensive refrigerant.
If your system is older and uses R22 and Leak Freeze and adding more refrigerant are your only options for repair, it may be time to consider an AC replacement. The cost for repairs could be up to 1/3 the price of your new HVAC installation, so replacing your air conditioner with a fully-functioning, higher-efficiency model would save hundreds in future repair costs as well as energy bills.
Choose an honest AC service professional and rely on them to recommend the best course of action for your home and budget as well as provide you with all the information and options available to you.