Here are two examples where someone may be trying charge you for refrigerant that you might not need:
1) Technician says you need more refrigerant, without checking A/C unit
An air conditioning technician may recommend adding refrigerant when they are told that the air conditioner is blowing hot-air, without checking to see if that’s the case.
This may have some undesirable consequences for you:
What else could the problem be? There are several possible issues that could cause your air conditioner to stop blowing cold air, including:
2) Technician tells you that your A/C “used up” the refrigerant
Refrigerant isn’t like gas in a car; it does not get “used up”. Refrigerant flows between the inside and outside units, going from a liquid to gas, over and over again. The refrigerant remains in a self-contained system. If you are low on refrigerant, then there is most likely a leak in your system, allowing the refrigerant to escape.
If there’s no mention of finding a leak, then that could mean a couple things:
If it is a major leak on the condenser or evaporator coil, repairing your A/C may be expensive. And if the air conditioner is old, then replacing your air conditioner may be the most cost effective option.
Air conditioning systems use refrigerants to cool the air for your home, either R-22 or R-410A.
What does all of this mean to you? The cost of adding refrigerant to you’re a/c system has increased, whether you use R-22 or R-410A. Pricing of R-22 averages over $100 per pound and R-410A averages over $60 per pound.
Things to keep in mind when considering repairs or adding refrigerant and your system uses R-22:
What is condensate? It is the moisture in the air that is condensed as the air moves over the A/C evaporator coil. The condensed water accumulates in the drain pan and is then delivered to the exterior of the home through the condensate drain line.
An A/C system for a home can accumulate 5 to 20 gallons of condensate water per day, equating to more than 300 gallons per month in the summer.
Why is cleaning your AC condensate drain lines important? It’s getting warmer, and you need to be ready to beat the heat by ensuring that your unit is ready to handle the job. Condensate drain lines need to be cleaned periodically to keep the flow of water unobstructed. If the line isn't properly cleaned, algae and mold can grow inside and clog the drain, causing elevated humidity, musty odors and water damage inside your home. Some drain lines can require cleaning up to four times per year, depending on how the house was piped.
All A/C systems are required to have a high-water alarm switch installed in the drain pan of your air conditioning system. These devices shut down the A/C to prevent water overflowing from the unit and alerts the homeowner the drain line needs to be cleaned. Additional moisture sensors can be installed around the drain pan for additional protection.
Basic Protection - Acquiring a license in a specific field demonstrates that the person has at least a minimal level of competence in that field. That doesn’t mean that a licensed contractor will be the absolute best, but it does show that the person working on your home has more experience than that gained from simply watching YouTube and TLC programs and thinking they can do that type of skilled work. Would you hire a doctor or lawyer that was unlicensed?
Protecting Property Values - Many home projects require permits to complete the work, but unlicensed contractors may not (and often cannot) always apply and obtain permits. This could be very detrimental to the homeowner. When selling a home, specific facts must be disclosed to the buyers. Unpermitted work, especially if it’s not to code, could impact the value of the property and failing to disclose information could lead to liability of the seller. In addition, since an unlicensed contractor rarely has liability insurance or a bond, if any work needs to be re-done, the costs falls on the homeowner.
Injury Protection - An unlicensed contractor may not have worker’s compensation insurance, and if hired by a homeowner, the homeowner then becomes the employer and is responsible for any injuries or accidents that occur on their property.
Protection from Damage to Third Parties - Not only does hiring an unlicensed contractor come with risks to the homeowner’s property and injury to workers, but can also make the homeowner liable for the contractor’s negligence. If a contractor’s negligence damages a neighboring property or injures a passerby, that may result in the homeowner being responsible for the contractor’s actions while employed.
Florida has strict contracting laws and a contractor’s license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DPBR) is required for any of the following work:
Verify your contractor’s license with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DPBR) before you hire them!
Some maintenance issues can be resolved by a professional with a service call. But there are some issues that are indicators that it is time to replace your entire system. Here are a few:
Age - The lifespan of most air conditioning units is 10-15 years. This lifespan is reduced the closer to salt water that you live. If your unit is within this age range or older, it is time to start planning for a replacement.
System Always Seems to be Running – Is your unit running too long (or all the time) without actually cooling your home? Have you had a noticeable, unexplained increase of your utility bills?
Too Many Costly Repairs - As your air conditioning systems ages, various components of the physical unit begin to breakdown, which may require frequent service calls. Over time, repairs bills can add up and what started out as a small problem can grow to a larger one. If your air conditioning seems to be breaking down too often, it may be time to replace your system.
What does your filter look like? A dirty filter restricts the air flow to your HVAC systems air handler. This restricted air flow puts additional strain on the air handler fan motor and could, over time, burn out the motor and cause your system to overheat and ultimately fail. Filter replacement is a small price to pay to prevent AC repairs and to extend to life of one of the biggest financial investments in your home.
Reasons to Change You Filter:
Energy Efficiency. A dirty AC air filter makes your fan motor work harder and consume more energy. One of the easiest and quickest ways to reduce your energy bill is to replace your air filter.
Family Health. A dirty AC air filter reduces the air quality in your home. Poor home air quality can aggravate allergies and asthma, particularly children’s allergies. Change your filter for your family’s health.
Prevent Costly AC Repair. A dirty AC air filter makes your heating and air-conditioning systems and your ducts get dirty faster. This can lead to costly cleaning expenses or to a need to replace your units sooner than you expected.
Go Green. A dirty AC air filter increases your carbon footprint. Changing your filter reduces the amount of energy your home consumes. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to be environmentally responsible.
You should change your filter once a month to avoid these problems. Also, your air conditioner also needs an annual tuneup to keep everything clean and make sure your filter is in good shape.