How much refrigerant does your home’s AC need? What happens if there’s not enough? Is it possible to have too much? Do you need to replace it regularly? Here’s how to know if your AC has the correct refrigerant level.
How Much Is Enough?
For every ton of cooling your unit produces, you should have between 2 and 4 pounds of refrigerant. Therefore, for a 3-ton unit, you’ll have between 6 and 12 pounds of coolant. The exact refrigerant level is something for your HVAC technician to determine. They’ll add the proper amount during installation, and ideally, you’ll never need to think about it again. That same refrigerant cycles through your system throughout its entire life span.
However, sometimes your refrigerant leaks. When that happens, you may hear a hissing noise from your indoor unit. This is accompanied by warmer air coming from your vents and longer cooling cycles — with higher energy bills in the process. Finally, the lack of refrigerant can cause your evaporator coil to freeze. If you notice these symptoms, call your HVAC technician to check your refrigerant levels.
How Much Is Too Much?
If someone without the proper training and experience tries to recharge your refrigerant, you may end up with too much. This results in excess pressure in the system, which can cause it to shut off during periods of excess heat.
You may also notice hot air coming from the vents. When your refrigerant is too high, some of it won’t be able to convert to gas, remaining perpetually a liquid instead. This prevents heat from venting outside like it’s supposed to. The excess liquid can also cause a high-pitched squealing noise and ultimately flow into your compressor, resulting in damage.
To avoid this, make sure you only let qualified HVAC professionals touch your refrigerant line. Your HVAC technician will check your refrigerant as part of your annual maintenance, but if you suspect you have a leak, call them immediately.
To ensure you have the optimum refrigerant level in your system, contact us at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. We keep Indianapolis homes comfortable and efficient.