Is Low Freon a Bad Thing?

The answer is: YES. But just how bad? And is it really Freon? That’s what the folks here at GAMA Air are going to explain to you and our other friends and neighbors in Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino and the surrounding area.

First of all, what is “Freon”? Refrigerant used for many years in air conditioners used the brand name of Freon. Over time the word turned into a common descriptor even for other brands of refrigerant, much the same way as “xerox” and “kleenex” are used generically regardless of the brand you use to make copies or blow your nose. As you may have learned reading our AC 101 series (click here for list of the lessons) refrigerant is how air conditioners get the heat out of your home and keep you cool. A central AC unit is designed to be most efficient when it runs within specific parameters, such as how much refrigerant it contains. So when the freon levels are out of the acceptable range then the efficiency of your cooling system begins to degrade. If your unit is over-charged or under-charged with refrigerant it will not cool your home effectively or efficiently.

Do you have a leak in your air conditioner? It is a very real problem that many homeowners have a Freon problem right now and not even know it. We’re getting into the fall season soon, but think about how your AC performed over the summer. Did it just barely keep up with the demand for cooling in your home? Now, don’t panic just because you suspect the freon may be low. It does not necessarily mean your central air is about to kick the bucket. But it is something to address. You will notice an increase on your energy bills, and could risk further damaging the system.

How can you tell? Here are the most common symptoms of a low Freon charge:

• Barely cool air or not cold at all: The air coming out of the vents in your home in the summer time should feel very cold. If the air feels cool, but not cold, the Freon levels in your air conditioner may be off.

• High energy bills: Ever increasing energy bills is another sign of refrigerant issues. When Freon levels are low, the unit must work much harder to transfer heat. Energy usage goes up trying to maintain the same comfort level and consequently your energy bills go up as well.

• A/C running constantly: Does your air conditioner kick off every hour or so, or does it run all the time? 24-hour operation is not normal and could indicate a low Freon charge in the system.

Even if your air conditioner is only 1-pound low on refrigerant it could be causing problems for your home comfort and your energy bills. If you haven’t had your system cleaned and inspected recently call the office of GAMA Air today at (310) 651-6936. Or you can use our online form to request a tune-up. We offer a system tune-up and safety check on your heating and air system that includes an assessment of the Freon levels in your air conditioner. If the refrigerant levels are low, our professional service technicians are equipped to bring your system up to charge on the spot!

Need help with a question you have? Visit our Ask an Expert page and get a quick answer from the resident expert here at GAMA Air.

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