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AC Freon Check Process: How We Determine Low Levels


HVAC Technician charging an air conditioner


At Nicholson Mechanical Contractors, we frequently encounter a common issue during the summer: low refrigerant levels in air conditioners. Refrigerant, also known as freon, plays a crucial role in absorbing heat from your home and releasing it outside. When your AC lacks sufficient refrigerant, a range of problems arises, and your home becomes uncomfortable on hot days. It's important to note that air conditioners do not consume freon; low levels indicate the presence of a leak that needs to be addressed.


Indications of Low Freon Levels: While a professional technician is required to provide a definitive diagnosis, there are several signs that suggest low freon levels could be a problem in your home.

  1. High electricity bills: If your family is spending more than usual to maintain a comfortable indoor environment, it could be a red flag. Insufficient freon causes your AC to operate less efficiently, resulting in increased energy consumption as it struggles to meet cooling demands. This can lead to higher expenses.

  2. Accumulation of ice on the refrigerant line or evaporator coil: Low freon levels result in decreased pressure within your air conditioning system, causing the AC's temperature to drop. Consequently, ice may form on the evaporator coil. If you observe ice buildup, it's advisable to turn off your system using the thermostat before the arrival of our Nicholson Mechanical Contractors technician. This allows the ice to melt, facilitating access to all the necessary components.

  3. Prolonged cooling time: Refrigerant plays a vital role in helping your air conditioner absorb and eliminate heat from your home. Insufficient refrigerant leads to longer cooling cycles as the AC struggles to remove the same amount of heat.

  4. Warm air blowing from the vents: If you place your hand near any of the air vents in your home and feel warm air instead of cool air, something is amiss. Insufficient refrigerant might be the cause, preventing your air conditioner from effectively producing cool air.

  5. High humidity and sticky air: While cooling the air is one function of your AC, its primary role is to remove humidity from the air, thus aiding in cooling your home. If you notice increased humidity and a muggy feeling in your house, it's likely that your freon levels are low, impeding your air conditioner's ability to extract moisture from the air.

How Nicholson Mechanical Contractors Checks Refrigerant/Freon Levels: Determining refrigerant levels is a complex process that goes beyond simply reading a gauge on your AC unit. Before commencing the evaluation, our technicians inspect several factors. They ensure proper airflow in your home by examining filters, blower wheels, and indoor coils for cleanliness. Additionally, they assess the static pressure within the system and calculate the size of your duct system. Our technicians also consider the metering device in your air conditioner and measure indoor humidity, outdoor humidity, and outdoor ambient temperature using a psychrometer. Armed with this information, they apply a specialized formula to determine the appropriate superheat for your AC based on the type of metering device in use. They then connect gauges to your AC, measuring pressures and temperatures to complete the necessary calculations and ascertain whether your system has sufficient freon.


Simplified Solution: Schedule a Check'n'Wash with Us! Rather than worrying about the complexity of these procedures, why not schedule a Check'n'Wash with Nicholson Mechanical Contractors? We will assess your freon levels and ensure that every step is meticulously followed, not taking any shortcuts. Our goal is to ensure your AC is truly prepared for the summer. Furthermore, while inspecting your system, we will also clean your outdoor unit to enhance its cooling performance and efficiency.

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