Does My HVAC Need Freon?

air conditioner ac unit on wall

Picture this: one day, as you’re driving along I-215 the air in your car or truck suddenly starts blowing out hot air. You’re already uncomfortable, which is why you had the air conditioning on in the first place. When you take it to the mechanic, they let you know you are low on freon. They quickly repair it, and you go about your way. Then, when you get home, your central air is acting the same way. “Great!”, you think to yourself, “Does my HVAC need freon too?”

Maybe. Let’s look at why this may or may not be the case.

What is freon?
Freon is sort of like Kleenex. Generically, we think of a Kleenex as any kind of tissue for our nose, though the brand Kleenex may not necessarily appreciate the generic nature of its name.

Likewise, Freon is actually a registered trademark owned by the Chemours Company. However, like Kleenex, we also think of air conditioning refrigerant as freon generically.

Freon is a chemical, usually referred to as R-12 or R-22. Both types of freon have been phased out of all new constructions, whether vehicular or HVAC-related. So why do we still talk about “needing freon” in our assets?

Because it’s like Kleenex. We use different kinds of refrigerant today, but as a society, we’ve collectively dubbed them as the generic term freon.

Why do cars run out of freon?
Cars run on gasoline. Does that mean that their cooling systems also “run on freon”, using it up over time?

In a word, no. Like oil, today’s freon in your car’s air conditioner is continuously recycled. Yet from time to time your vehicle’s freon will need to be recharged. Some experts say this is only the case if there is a leak. If you have to add freon to your car or truck every six months, it’s indicative of a leaking hose that can (and most likely will) lead to larger problems down the road.

Does my home air conditioner need to be recharged?
So what does this mean for your home air conditioner? Within general operating parameters, you will never need to recharge your home’s AC unit. On the other hand, if there is a leak, you will eventually run out of freon.

As with your car, this can lead to larger problems. Other leaks can occur within your HVAC. Your blower will only shoot out warm, uncomfortable air.

Worth noting too is that, if you have a leak and your system still uses the older R-22, you won’t be able to get a recharge but will need to update it with a newer solution.

Plus, this is a great time to inspect your overall HVAC for other problems with as your air filters, thermostat issues, and even your breakers. It could be as simple as that, meaning your HVAC may have all of the freon it needs to keep your home cool.

Fixing leaks with Beehive and Air
The answer to “Does my HVAC need freon?” is not a simple yes or no answer. As long as your system is functioning properly, you will never need to recharge your home’s air conditioning unit.

However, if there is a leak, you will eventually run out of refrigerant necessitating a repair. If you think there might be a leak with your air conditioning, or the system simply isn’t working as expected, let us know right away. We’ll schedule a time to perform an inspection, let you know what we find out, and make recommendations on how to fix the issue.


Ready to get started? Then send us a note HERE or call our office at 801-980-0903. We look forward to helping get your AC back up and running ASAP.

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