When your Orlando area air conditioner starts blowing warm air, don't automatically assume that it is low on refrigerant. Have your unit checked by an AC repair contractor.
When you do contact the company, avoid suggesting that your air conditioner “probably needs a refrigerant charge” to prevent any preconceived notions on the part of the contractor.
Here are a few common reasons your air conditioning system fails to cool properly:
1. It's possible that the problem could be caused by a dirty air filter, a faulty compressor, or dirty cooling coils. A correct diagnosis is possible only if the AC repair expert actually checks the unit.
2. It could be something simple, such a capacitor, which is a relatively inexpensive fix.
3. If the refrigerant in your AC needs to be recharged, it indicates a leak. So, unless the leak is fixed, any refrigerant added to the unit will soon leak out again and the same problem will resurface pretty soon.
Ideally, the contractor must look for a leak, and once it's discovered, evacuate the refrigerant, fix the leak, and recharge the system to factory specifications.
If your AC system is an older model, replacement may be the better, smarter solution for another reason: the high retail cost of R-22 coolant (Freon). R-22, a refrigerant commonly used in older air conditioners, is a Class II controlled substance (all hydrocholorofluorocarbons), which are currently being phased out beginning in 1994.
Starting in 2017, production of this ozone-depleting substance will be reduced by an additional 28%, with further increases slated annually. The retail price of Freon has consequently risen, and consumers are already feeling the pinch.
This development offers more reason to invest in a long-term AC replacement and considering an upgrade to a more efficient unit using the earth-friendly refrigerant replacement now in use, R-410a.
Many local utility providers offer generous rebates and credits on the purchase of high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. You can also look for manufacturer rebates and local contractor dealer rebates for even more cost savings.
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Michael Haines is a veteran A/C contractor and founder of the largest and oldest e-commerce site in the heating and air conditioning industry. His HVAC websites have served 10's of thousands of customers.