How to add R22 to a central air conditioner?

How R22 can be added to your central air conditioning system safely, what the costs of R22 are, and the signs to look for when freon is needed.


An air conditioning system has different components in it that make it operate well, and all of these components need to be maintained and regularly checked to keep an air conditioner working at its best.

One of these important components is known as freon, also known as R22 refrigerant. There will be times when R22 needs to be refilled into your air conditioner. So, if you have a central air conditioning unit, is it possible to add additional R22? Let us find out.

Adding R22 to central air conditioners

It is not recommended that you fiddle with the inside of your air conditioner as this can be dangerous, especially when handling something like freon. You will, however, find that some people insist on repairing their own air conditioners.

The addition of R22 to a central air conditioner will require the expertise of a professional HVAC technician, as the gas can be toxic if you do not know how to handle it, if you inhale it, or if there is a leak somewhere.

How to add R22 to a central air conditioner?

R22 is a non-flammable gas that is compressed inside the air conditioner to become a liquid and help cool down the air inside your home or space.

To successfully add R22 to a central air conditioning system, there are crucial steps to follow. You first have to switch off the unit completely at the thermostat and circuit breaker.

Then you must remove the valve caps of the outside unit located on the lower bottom of the unit, screw on the manifold hoses and turn the AC unit back on, and wait 10 to 15 minutes for the gauges to read.

Thereafter, you must open the canister to attach the third refrigerant hose and open the canister pressure valve at four to five second intervals repeatedly.

Finally, monitor the temperature gauge as you release R22 and allow the unit to run for three to five minutes.

The costs of R2

The cost of adding R22 to your central air conditioning unit will depend on your location. A refill can cost you anywhere between $100 and $300, and the prices of freon vary from $90 to $170 per pound.

A contractor will include the cost of freon in the total amount you have to pay. If you have hired a contractor for the job, they will include additional services to be sure your air conditioner is working properly.

Amazon has some Freon kits one can purchase for adding R22 to your air conditioner, such as the FANOVO kit for $23.99.

How often should freon be added?

The addition of R22 to your central air conditioner should not be something that is necessary regularly. The only reason you may need to add freon to your central air conditioner is if you have detected a leak.

An air conditioner does not use refrigerant like in the same way that a car uses gas, meaning that it does not need to be refilled by a certain amount or run out in the same way that gas does.

So, if you suspect that the refrigerant in your unit is low, it is best to check with a technician what the problem may be.

Signs your AC unit has a freon issue

To be able to tell if an air conditioner needs freon, you must look for the signs. If a unit starts taking too long to cool your home, this can point to a refrigerant leak in the system.

If your central unit starts blowing warmer air, it may be a sign of a refrigerant leak too. If your unit starts making a hissing sound, then it is likely there is a large refrigerant leakage in your system, and when this happens, it can potentially be poisonous to your household.

Final thoughts

The components of an air conditioner are very delicate and if you own an AC unit, it is important that you pay attention to everything that happens with your cooling system so that you can quickly identify when something is not working properly. R22 is a component that needs to be monitored in your unit.

Different issues can arise related to R22. These issues can cause dangerous freon leakages that can be poisonous and potentially harmful. When this happens, freon needs to be added to a unit following the right steps to safely do this. Having a technician perform a freon addition is recommended for safety purposes.

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