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How To Put Freon In An AC Unit: Everything You Need To Know

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for made purchases.

Air conditioners are used to cool the inside of buildings during hot weather. They are also used to heat the inside of buildings during cold weather.

There are two types of air conditioners: split systems and window units.

Split systems include an indoor coil and an outdoor condenser. Window units do not have an indoor coil. Either of these might use Freon and might need to be refilled from time to time.

You shouldn’t try to put Freon into your air conditioner without knowing what you’re doing, so here are some tips to help you out.

What Is Freon?

Most of us know about Freon because we’ve heard about the EPA (see also ‘What Does It Mean To Be EPA Certified?‘) banning it. But what do we really need this stuff for?

Air Conditioners were invented by scientists in the late 1800s. Before then, people didn’t have any cooling systems.

In the 1950s, the first air conditioners were introduced into homes. These early models used Freon as the refrigeration system.

Since then, Freon has become an environmental concern because it depletes the ozone layer. Because of this, the EPA banned CFCs in 1987.

Today, there are alternative ways to cool your home using different types of refrigerants. Some of these include R-22, R-410a, and R-134a.

You may want to consider replacing your old air conditioner with a newer model if it uses Freon.

CFCs were first synthesized in the 1980s, and were very dangerous and flammable. Another group created Freon, a non-flammable CFC.

It was patented by General Motors and DuPont. Freon is a colorless gas that is also known as R-22. Freon is used in refrigeration and air conditioning systems, and in aerosol cans.

A refrigeration system uses Freon to cool things down. There are many different types of Freon used in refrigerators.

The most common type is called R-22. Other types include R-12, R-134a, R-410A, and R-500.

Refrigerators usually have an identification plate on the outside of the unit. This plate may give some information about how safe the refrigerator is.

In addition, you can call the company who made the fridge to get more information about what types of Freon are used and how dangerous each type is.

Ozone depletion is an environmental problem caused by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), used as a propellant in aerosol cans and refrigerants.

CFCs were phased out in the 1990s due to concerns about damage to the stratospheric ozone layer. However, newer refrigerants such as hydrofluoroalkanes (HFA) do not deplete the ozone layer.

Freon Refills

There are many products that you can buy to help you refill your AC unit with Freon.

For example, the EZ Chill R-134a AC Recharge Kit with Leak Sealer Plus can provide you with a really easy way to refill at a low cost – and also comes with a handy needle gauge for you to know exactly how much you’re using.

It also includes a built-in leak sealer, making it a one-stop solution.

Or, for a complete kit, how about the REDTEK A/C Refrigerant Recharge Kit with Gauge and Leak Stop.

It’s a larger package than the other kit, with 2 refrigerant bottles, a bottle of leak sealer, and an oil analyzer – as well, of course, as all the instructions you need.

How To Put Freon In An AC Unit

You can add Freon in an AC Unit by using a refrigerant compressor. This is done by turning on the compressor and then opening the valve that allows the gas into the system.

Once the compressor is running, the temperature inside your house should drop.

Checks Before Starting

Air conditioning units often blow warm air because there is an issue with the refrigerant leaking out. Refrigerant leaks can be caused by damaged compressors or by physical damage to the unit.

A professional should address these problems before trying to fix them yourself.

A broken thermostat could be the culprit behind the warming temperatures.

A faulty thermostat could also be responsible for the low temperatures. A leak in an air conditioner causes the compressor to overheat and shut down.

Water accumulates around the furnace (see also ‘Furnace Pressure Switch Stuck Up? Common Causes And Troubleshooting‘)  because the coils are frozen.

Refrigerant prices have increased dramatically since R-22 is being phased out. Refrigerant is dangerous if you breathe it in or touch it.

Don’t use Freon without proper precautions. Make sure the outside temperature is over 55 degrees Fahrenheit before starting. Liquid Freon will seek the coldest area in your AC system.

Freon Leaks

Refrigerants should never escape unless there is a problem. Leaks happen when the system isn’t working properly. You need to check out the leaks before fixing the problem. Otherwise, you’ll be right back to square 1.

A routine maintenance schedule must be performed before charging your AC with more refrigerant.

Choose the correct refrigerant for your unit based on the age of your AC. If your AC leaks R-22, it’s important that you fix the leak as soon as possible.

Fixing the leak will prevent future problems. AC units are sealed tightly and refrigerant should never leak. Leaks may be caused by a loose connection or damaged gaskets.

Refilling refrigerant is a quick solution, but eventually this will cause damage to the unit.

Safety First

Freon isn’t a good thing for you to breathe in or expose yourself to. Make sure you wear goggles, gloves, long sleeve shirts, and respirators when working with chemicals.

If you have a medical condition or anything else that would cause you to feel unsafe about trying this, don’t take the risk and hire a professional.

HVAC technicians are more than happy to refill your ac unit with Freon. It’s by no means a nuisance for them.

Only proceed if you are the DIY type prepared to do all the necessary precautions, including any that may be outlined within the documentation that should come along with your Freon.

Refilling Freon is dangerous. You should only do this if you’re sure you know what you’re doing. Follow these simple steps to make sure your job is safe.

Refilling and recharging an air conditioner is a very dangerous task. Refrigerant should never be added or changed by someone who doesn’t know what he/she is doing.

A professional technician can save serious harm from happening.

How To Add Freon To Your AC Unit

How To Add Freon To Your AC Unit

Before you begin pumping Freon, turn off the power to your air conditioner.

Then, hook up your refrigerant gauge to the three valve connections on your AC. Only connect the left and right tubes. The center connection is where you’ll be connecting the refrigerant tanks.

Refrigerant tanks need to be hooked up to ACs periodically to ensure that the refrigerant levels are correct. This is done by opening the low pressure valve intermittently.

Doing this allows bursts of refrigerant to flow into the AC. Continue doing this until the low pressure gauge reads that the AC has reached the optimal level of subcooling.

Watch the gauge until you reach 10 degrees below the current temperature. Freon moves towards colder areas.

When the temperature outside is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the chemical gets “confused” from our point of view, and wants to go outside instead of staying inside.

Check the temperature. It should now be approximately 10 degrees below the current temperature.

After turning off the valve and disconnecting the gauge set, twist the knob on the refrigerant canister to stop refrigerants from going into the hose, then disconnect all the hoses and the gauges set from the air conditioner unit.

Perform an electronic leak test to make sure everything is working properly. You can buy an electronic leak detection tool at most home improvement stores or online.

Each detector is different, but in general, you just need to run it along the refrigeration components.

If you don’t feel confident doing this by yourself, have a certified heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technician come out to check the system for you.

It’s a very difficult and dangerous job, and some steps might be very hard to follow on your equipment. Getting it wrong can result in death.

Is Freon Being Banned?

In the 1970s, a researcher at UC Berkeley theorized that CFCs were damaging the ozone layer.

This led to years of research by the NAS, and eventually the US banned the use of CFSs in aerosol cans in 1987, when the Montreal Protocol was signed.Older refrigerators still release Freon into the air.

These refrigerators should be replaced by newer ones that do not contain Freon. Old refrigerators should be disposed of properly.

As of 2020, Freon is no longer available in the United States. You’ll need to buy new refrigerators if you want them to work.

The phaseout of Freon began around 1990. There is currently no more Freon being made. It used to be manufactured but now there is very little left. The price of Freon has gone up because there is not enough of it.

Do I Need To Replace My AC Unit If It Uses Freon?

You shouldn’t worry about replacing your air conditioner because there aren’t any laws preventing you from using R-22.

Your air conditioner could develop a leak, but you won’t need to replace it right away. You can get Freon if you want, but the cost will go up.

If you smell Freon, turn off the power immediately. The gas will continue to release until it reaches the lowest point in the system.

The amount of Freon in your home depends on how much was originally put in the system. If you’ve had your AC for a while, you may only need a small amount of Freon.

How Does Freon Work?

Refrigerants are cool! They are used in air conditioners to make sure that your room stays cold. Liquid refrigerants turn into a gas when they get hot.

When they get cold again, they transform back into a liquid. This cycle repeats until they’re ready to become a gas again.

There is a system of coils in your AC unit. These coils compress the Freon, absorb the heat from the outside and push it into the house. Then, the air gets pushed back out again. This keeps the inside warm and comfortable.

The refrigerant in an AC unit (see also our guide on dealing with a frozen AC unit) must be replaced every year or two because it gets old and breaks down over time.

When the chemicals used as coolants in air conditioning systems become too cold, they freeze into a solid form called ice.

This eventually causes problems because the swelling refrigerant then leaks out of the system and must be replaced.

Air conditioners use different types of refrigerants depending on how much heat they remove from the room. A refrigerant is needed to help move this heat away from the room.

Refrigerants also add to the efficiency of the unit by helping to prevent moisture buildup inside the unit.


Replacing or refilling the Freon in your AC unit is a difficult and dangerous job. Although you can do it yourself, it’s really best to get a professional to do it for you.

author avatar
Anthony Barnes
Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age


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