Does My AC Need More Refrigerant?

more refrigerantIf you’re wondering if your AC needs more refrigerant, then your system probably already isn’t working correctly.  Many times, when your air conditioning system isn’t working correctly, the problem is indeed a leak.  If that is the case, more refrigerant is just the first step in getting your problem fixed.

Before you add refrigerant to your system it’s important to make sure that your system is actually low on refrigerant.  Adding more refrigerant to a system that already has the correct amount of refrigerant in it can actually cause more problems.  Adding too much refrigerant to your air conditioning system can cause excessive pressures which can either trip your system off on a fault or even cause damage.  Also, having too much refrigerant in your system can put extra stress on your dryer and the compressor and can even thin out the oil that is in your system to keep things lubricated.

Unfortunately, your air conditioning system doesn’t have a dipstick to check the refrigerant level so it can actually be very difficult to find out if your system needs more refrigerant.  When your car was first built, the designers calculated the correct amount of refrigerant your system would need based on its design and capacity.  This capacity is calculated in pounds of refrigerant and usually written on a label under your hood.  The only way to accurately check and see if you’ve got the correct amount of refrigerant in your system is to completely evacuate all of the refrigerant from your system and weigh it.  Most mechanics will have a machine that can easily do that, but it’s also a relatively expensive maintenance item.

One way to estimate if you’ve got close to the correct amount of refrigerant in your air conditioning system is to measure the pressure in the low-pressure side of your system.  This is the pressure after the expansion valve and before the inlet of the compressor.  If your system is very low on refrigerant it can lower the pressure in this part of your air conditioning system.  Since the pressure here is relatively low (less than 60 psi) the gauges can be inexpensive to purchase so you can measure the pressures yourself.  Because of the way refrigerant expands into a gas at lower pressures, a low pressure here will only occur if your system is very low on refrigerant.  Also, this pressure cannot give you an accurate indication of the amount of refrigerant in your system and is just an estimation that it is low.

No matter how you chose to check how much refrigerant your system has in it, if you find that your system is low on refrigerant it’s important to add refrigerant so your air conditioning system can cool properly and isn’t being overworked.  If you had your system evacuated to check the weight of refrigerant you can often use that same equipment to refill your system with the exact amount of refrigerant it requires.  If you just checked the pressure to find a low level, you can use a single-use refrigerant can available at most local auto parts stores to add more refrigerant and get things working like normal again.

Once you’ve added more refrigerant, it’s important to make sure you don’t end up with a low refrigerant level again or you’ll be back where you started.  If you’ve got a low refrigerant level, then you’ve got a refrigerant leak somewhere in your air conditioning system.  If you’ve got a leak, you can easily seal it using Red Angel A/C Stop Leak.  Red Angel A/C Stop Leak is a chemical sealing agent you can add to your air conditioning system safely and easily.  Red Angel A/C Stop Leak will remain inert in the system acting as a lubricant until it reaches a leak point.  There, Red Angel will form a permanent seal stopping your leak and making sure your system stays filled with the correct amount of refrigerant.

You can purchase Red Angel A/C Stop Leak at any of our partnering local auto parts stores like:

  • AutoZone
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • Bennett Auto Supply
  • CarQuest Auto Parts
  • NAPA Auto Parts
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts
  • Pep Boys
  • Fast Track
  • Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
  • S&E Quick Lube Distributer
  • DYK Automotive
  • Fisher Auto Parts stores
  • Auto Plus Auto Parts stores
  • Hovis Auto & Truck Supply stores
  • Salvo Auto Parts
  • Advantage Auto Stores
  • Genuine Auto Parts stores
  • Bond Auto Parts stores
  • Tidewater Fleet Supply
  • Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts
  • Any Part Auto Parts
  • Consumer Auto Parts

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more_refrigerant.jpg – By Jovanmandic – Licensed by Getty Images – Original Link

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