Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

What Is the Optimal Refrigerant Level for Your HVAC System?

Do you have enough refrigerant in your AC? Maybe there’s too much! How can you tell? What’s the optimum refrigerant level to have, and what happens if you have the wrong amount? Here’s what you need to know.

Too Little Refrigerant

Your system needs between 2 and 4 pounds of refrigerant for every ton of cooling it produces. That means that for a 3-ton AC unit, you’ll have anywhere from 6 to 12 pounds of R-410A. How often should you replace it? Ideally, never. The coolant flows in a cycle through your AC, from liquid to gas and back to liquid, but the total amount remains the same. The only time you’d need to replace it is if there was a leak.

There are several signs your refrigerant is leaking. You may notice that the air coming from your vents feels warm or that cooling cycles take longer than they used to. Your home’s humidity also may be unusually high. This is typically accompanied by a hissing sound coming from your unit. Additionally, if your evaporator coil freezes, this can indicate a drop in pressure caused by low refrigerant.

Too Much Refrigerant

If you suspect your refrigerant level is low, don’t try to replace it yourself. If someone untrained and inexperienced tries to mess with your refrigerant line, it can result in all sorts of problems, such as too much refrigerant.

When your refrigerant level is low, the system won’t be able to switch fully from liquid to gas, with some coolant remaining permanently in its liquid state. Not only does this make the cooling cycle less efficient, the excess refrigerant can flow into your compressor, causing serious damage.

Signs of too much refrigerant in your system include squealing or whining noises coming from the unit due to an excess of liquid. It can also cause uneven pressure levels and frequent shutdowns. To avoid these issues, only use a qualified HVAC technician to recharge your refrigerant.

To ensure your system has the correct refrigerant level to function efficiently, contact us at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company. We keep Yuma homes comfortable all year long.