Safely checking the R22 levels in your air conditioning system to ensure they are normal and that there are no potential leaks in your unit.
Home air conditioning systems are filled with many inside parts that each play a key role in how your air conditioner performs to keep your home spaces cool or warm according to seasonal demands.
One important component of your air conditioner is the refrigerant or R22 which is critical for the air conditioning process. Ensuring that your R22 levels are good is part of knowing your unit is still in good working condition, but how can you check your AC unit’s R22?
Checking air conditioner R22 levels
The R22 refrigerant is important for the cooling process of an air conditioning system. R22 is a non-flammable gas that is compressed inside the air conditioning system and becomes a liquid that cools the air inside your home.
It is not recommended that you handle refrigerant on your own, as it is a harmful substance that can be dangerous if inhaled, however, if you notice that your air conditioner is no longer cooling your space effectively, and you suspect that the R22 level is low, you need to check this.
Can I check my R22 level in my air conditioner?
A reduction in refrigerant level can be the cause of issues for your air conditioner, one of them being that it will no longer be cooling properly.
Fortunately, you can check your R22 levels yourself with the right tools (a gauge set is the most important) to perform a refrigerant level check safely.
It is important to wear gloves when performing a refrigerant level check, as refrigerant can cause you to get frostbite.
Before you begin, turn off the unit at the thermostat and the circuit-breaker, then remove the valve caps of the unit and use an adjustable wrench, if necessary.
Attach the gauge manifold hoses to the pressure ports on the system; the low pressure (blue) hose connects to the larger pipe which is the suction line and the high-pressure hose (red) is connected to the smaller pipe, which is the liquid line.
Turn on the valves of each hose to get a pressure reading of the R22 refrigerant. Between 40 and 45 degrees is the normal amount of pressure on a low-pressure hose, while 110 to 115 degrees is normal for a high-pressure hose.
Then turn on the air conditioner and leave it on for at least 15 minutes to get stable pressure levels. Lower pressure levels indicate a refrigerant leak.
Indicators of a refrigerant problem
Air conditioners show users signs that indicate a potential problem with your refrigerant levels. Leakages are often the main culprit and where there is a leakage, your unit will show you signs of this.
Frost can be an indication of a leakage, it develops on the motor, tubes, and other parts of the unit. If your air conditioner starts making a hissing or bubbling sound, then there is likely a large refrigerant leakage.
The noise typically comes from the refrigerant line. Using a soap solution where you suspect a leak will reveal bubbles forming if there is one.
How to add R22 to your air conditioner
To add R22 to your air conditioner, you need the same tools as mentioned before and online retailer, Amazon, has gauge sets you can purchase. First you will need to screw on the gauge hoses and turn the unit on for at least 15 minutes.
Then you will open the refrigerant canister, followed by the motion of opening and closing the low-pressure valve repeatedly for four to five seconds until the unit reaches subcooling temperatures.
Monitor the temperature gauge as you continue doing this and allow the unit to run for about five minutes while checking the PSI and super-heat temperature with the thermometer. Once the unit is recharged, proceed by disconnecting the hoses.
Some of the gauge sets you can purchase from Amazon are:
|Gauge set brand||Description||Amazon Price|
|· Heavy-duty forged brass body for durability and endurance
· Free-floating piston type valves for less friction and internal wear and tear
· Grade 5 level high pressure hoses
· Suitable for R22 refrigerant readings
|· Simple but powerful
· Brass fitting tethered safety caps
· HVAC gauge reading for AC systems
· Ideal for R22 use
|· Ideal for DIY or professional home AC maintenance
· Features an explosion-proof hose
· Anti-collision and accurate pressure gauges
· Ideal for R22 use
How frequently do you need to add R22 to your air conditioner?
The refrigerant in your air conditioner is not supposed to be recharged as it should never run out or decrease. The only time that adding refrigerant is necessary is if there is a leakage of R22 causing the levels in the unit to drop.
This is why it is highly stressed that you check your unit routinely and have it inspected by a professional who can pick up such issues early before they escalate. There is no need to regularly add refrigerant to your air conditioner.