Which Kind of Freon Does My Air Conditioner Need?

Jun 13, 2022

If you want your home to stay cool on the hottest days, your AC needs the right kind of freon at the right levels. While your AC’s freon should never need to be refilled when your AC is functioning as it should, leaks and other damage can sometimes reduce your freon levels, leading to poor cooling performance. When you’re having issues with your AC and suspect your freon levels are at fault, learn more about what Freon is and the kind your AC needs.

What Is Freon?

Freon is a brand name for an AC refrigerant, but the name has also become interchangeable with all types of AC refrigerants (similar to how Kleenex refers to tissues as well as the brand). Freon and other refrigerants are made out of a non-combustible gas designed to evaporate continuously. As the refrigerant evaporates, it will produce cold air that circulates throughout your HVAC system and cools your home.

What Kind of Refrigerant Does My AC Need?

Before 2010, most homes’ AC systems relied on R-22 refrigerant. Despite this widespread use, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned R-22’s import and use for new AC systems in 2010. As of 2020, the EPA has even banned its import and use for systems manufactured before 2010, only allowing R-22 to be used when it comes from recycled or stockpiled quantities. This R-22 ban is based on R-22’s negative effects on the environment, as it’s an ozone-depleting substance.

Due to the EPA’s ban on R-22 refrigerants, most air conditioning systems produced after 2010 use HCFC-22 as their refrigerant. Since this refrigerant is much more environmentally friendly than R-22 and new HVAC systems are designed to use it, your AC likely needs HCFC-22 if it was manufactured after 2010. Besides being more environmentally friendly, HCFC-22 also increases your system’s efficiency and reduces its noise while it runs.

If your AC was manufactured prior to 2010, it might not be compatible with HCFC-22. As a result, your AC might still need to use R-22 to work properly. When you don’t want to use R-22 for your old AC, you can also have any parts that aren’t compatible with HCFC-22 (e.g., an evaporator coil and line set) replaced with compatible ones. 

Keep in mind that an AC’s lifespan tends to be around 15 to 20 years. Since any AC manufactured before 2010 will be around or above the 15-year mark, you can save money and receive better cooling performance by having your entire AC unit replaced with a new one. Any new AC unit will use HCFC-22, meaning you won’t have to worry about R-22’s negative environmental effects or having to replace any non-compatible equipment.

What Should I Do If I Have Low AC Freon Levels?

No matter the type of refrigerant your AC uses, your refrigerant levels should stay consistent for the entire life of your system. However, wear and tear or other damages can cause an AC to leak freon, resulting in poor performance from your HVAC system. Some common signs of low AC refrigerant levels include:

  • Refrigerant lines making bubbling or hissing noises
  • Your home isn’t cool despite the AC running
  • Ice on your refrigerant lines
  • Increased energy bills

When you notice any of the above signs, it’s time to get your AC’s refrigerant levels checked. If an inspection reveals you have low refrigerant levels, an HVAC professional will need to repair your AC to prevent future leaks and =refill your AC’s refrigerant to the appropriate level.

Choose Newcomb and Company for Air Conditioning Freon Refills and Repairs in Raleigh

If your AC is low on refrigerant and you live in Raleigh, Wilmington, or the surrounding areas, Newcomb and Company can help. When you suspect your AC is leaking refrigerant, our team can inspect your system and find the source of the leak. Once we find the leak’s source, we’ll make any necessary AC repairs and refill your system’s refrigerant to ensure your AC can perform at its best. When you have an older, R-22-reliant AC system, we can replace it or design a custom system for you.

Find out more about our AC repair and replacement services today. If you have any questions or want to make an appointment, please contact us.


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