How Often Should I Re-Charge My Air Conditioner?
One myth that has been passed around the general population is that air conditioners need a re-charge every once in a while, a lot like batteries in a flashlight. The fact is that it is simply a myth. Air conditioning systems contain a closed refrigerant loop. The system takes refrigerant, commonly known by a particular brand name, Freon, and basically cools it off outdoors by letting it release heat. The air conditioner then passes the refrigerant indoors to absorb heat before it gets passed back outside to release the heat again. The refrigerant acts just like the model trains people set up on a track around their Christmas Trees. The refrigerant simply goes around a loop continuously. If an air conditioning system is low on refrigerant, it means that it has a leak. It means that one of the railroad cars has fallen off the track because the track is broken. Simply adding more refrigerant without fixing the leak is just like buying a new railroad car to add to the track every time one falls off and is lost. Why not fix the track before buying a new railroad car?
Regardless of what the consensus is among the general population, as long as refrigerant keeps being added to the system every year, that means that refrigerant must be leaving the system every year. The system is leaking continuously. Getting that quick, cheap, yearly re-charge may seem like a good idea on the surface but in the long run, it will cost you a lot of money, and damage the environment.
If your air conditioning contractor has been giving you a “re-charge” periodically, you may want to call another contractor. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has given out pretty strict rules regarding the venting of refrigerants in to the atmosphere.
If you are worried about your current contractor and their practices, ask about whether or not they are EPA certified. Every contractor in the United States that works with refrigerants is required to hold that certification. Secondly, ask for their contractor’s license number. In California, you can take your contractor’s license number and verify it on the Contractor State License Board’s website. To check your Contractor’s name or license number, click here. Finally, you can check the Better Business Bureau’s website and other sites that take ratings. Even Google now allows consumers to rate their contractors.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. A little bit of research can go a long way in preventing unfair, and even environmentally hazardous, business practices. For all air conditioning and heating repairs and replacements, call Lee’s Air.