An air conditioner requires a certain amount of refrigerant in order to be able to remove heat from the air and force chilled air into your home. If your air conditioning unit does not have enough refrigerant, you will need to contact a reputable HVAC services company to add more—adding refrigerant to your A/C is not something that you should try to do by yourself. Some signs that your air conditioning unit is in need of more refrigerant include:
Higher than Normal Electric Bills
If your air conditioning unit is low on refrigerant, it can run for a long time but will not be able to chill the air enough to bring the temperature in your home down to the temperature on your thermostat. Since your A/C unit will be working harder and running longer, you may have a higher than normal electric bill despite the fact that your home does not feel colder. If you receive an unusually large electric bill in the summer, compare your electricity usage to previous summers. In the event that you discover that your electric usage is much higher than it has been in the past, it is good idea to contact an HVAC services company to check out the refrigerant level in your A/C.
Lack of Cold Air
When your air conditioning unit is low on coolant, you will probably notice that the air coming out of your vents is not completely cold like it should be. If this happens, try resetting your thermostat and changing your air filter first. In the event that the lack of cold air is not fixed by resetting the thermostat or changing the air filter, there is a good chance that there is a problem with the amount of refrigerant in your air conditioning unit.
Ice on the Outside of the Air Conditioning Unit
As refrigerant levels get low, the pressure inside the evaporator coil of your air conditioning unit drops, which creates much lower temperatures. Condensation in the air can then freeze, creating ice on the outside of the unit. If you notice any kind of ice or frost on your air conditioning unit, it will almost always mean that it needs more refrigerant.
As a homeowner, it is a good idea to regularly inspect your outdoor air conditioning unit. In the event that you notice puddles of liquid around the unit, it is important to promptly call an HVAC services company. The liquid could be condensation, but there is also a chance that it could be refrigerant. The refrigerant in your A/C is toxic, so avoid touching any liquid leaking from your A/C unit.