Portable air conditioners operate with freon, but it is recommended that you do not handle freon yourself, instead it should be attended to by certified technicians.
The main reason people opt to have a portable air conditioner in their homes is for their portability and knowing they can easily move the unit with them to any other room in the house from which they can safely vent it.
Just like other types of air conditioners, your portable unit also comes with a key component for running the air conditioner which is the refrigerant or freon, but in the case where your unit has a refrigerant leak, can freon be added to your portable air conditioner?
Portable air conditioners and freon
The refrigerant in air conditioners plays an important role in the cooling process of all air conditioning and in some units such as central units. The refrigerant needs to be recharged if issues such as a refrigerant leak arise.
Typically, the refrigerant never needs to be recharged, but in the case where a leak is detected, it is necessary. People who own portable air conditioners need to know if their units operate with refrigerant and whether it needs recharging if there is a leak.
Do portable air conditioners need freon?
Portable air conditioners work by extracting hot air from a room into the unit where the motor then cools the air and releases it back into the room. The warm air and excess moisture in the unit is then sent through the venting hose and out the window.
The main purpose of a portable air conditioner is to take the heat from a room and release it outdoors in order for cooler air to fill the room.
For portable unit owners who may wonder whether their unit has refrigerant in it like other air conditioners, the answer is yes. Your portable air conditioner does have refrigerant and it is used to cool the air in the room or space.
In order for an air conditioner’s cooling process to work it needs to have refrigerant, a compressor to compress the refrigerant, as well as a fan to move and circulate cool air in the room.
Without refrigerant, your portable unit would probably not work or could even malfunction, leading to other complications.
In the event that one notices their portable unit is not cooling as it should or that the evaporator coil is frozen, a refrigerant leak is likely the problem.
When it comes to portable units, recharging the unit with freon is not simple and it is often not even advisable. The leak needs to be repaired by a certified HVAC technician.
Why you should never refill refrigerants
Portable AC units have a design that does not make it necessary for the refrigerant to be constantly refilled.
The refrigerant should always remain constant in air conditioning units, but if it is running low, it will almost always be the result of a refrigerant leak.
The leak needs to be repaired by a qualified technician or you may need to purchase a whole new unit to avoid fiddling with the unit’s refrigerant.
Why you cannot refill freon yourself
It is strictly advised that you never attempt to refill your unit’s freon yourself. This can prove to be a difficult task from the onset, as getting your hands on freon is not possible to begin with.
You will not be allowed to purchase refrigerant from anywhere as it is a controlled product that only certified technicians can buy for refilling air conditioning systems. There are also other reasons why the handling of freon is restricted.
What is freon made of?
Freon is an agent made of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These chemicals are hazardous to the atmosphere and are a key contributor to the degradation of the ozone layer.
Many air conditioner manufacturers no longer produce these chemicals and they are no longer in the market.
Newer portable air conditioners use modern refrigerants that are said to be safer for the atmosphere, but are not safe for homeowners to handle. So regardless of the type of refrigerant, it is still not advised that you handle it.