Air conditioners need refrigerant to work. For most homeowners in and around the Indianapolis area, that’s the extent of our knowledge and awareness about the refrigeration/refrigerant chemical. We need gas in our cars. Air in our lungs. And refrigerant in our A/C units.

And thankfully that’s about all we need to know. Like the gas in our cars and the air in our lungs, it’s not imperative that we know how they work…just that they are indeed working.

The Signs of Low Refrigerant in Your A/C Unit

So how do you know when it’s not working? Or more specifically, how do you know when your refrigerant’s low?

The most obvious sign we see is a frozen evaporator coil, which is located inside your home in the blower cabinet. This coil subtracts heat from the air inside your house and transfers it outside your home. Without enough Freon running through the system, the coils cannot absorb enough heat from the air to cool your house. Eventually, moisture collects on the outside of the coil and freezes – restricting even more Freon flow through the system.

But there are other signs to pay attention to as well, such as:

  • Decreased air flow through your ductwork and grilles;
  • A constantly running A/C unit trying its best to reach the preferred temperature setting; and
  • A prolonged hissing sound – like that of air leaving a tire – heard near the blower cabinet.

The Remedies of Low Refrigerant in Your Air Conditioner

You might think a frozen evaporator coil would be normal or even a preferred phenomenon. I mean, the air conditioning unit is supposed to produce cold air, right? True. But low refrigerant levels mean you have a low charge and a low charge can push your air conditioner compressor to extreme measures – sometimes causing permanent damage.

If you notice any of the aforementioned signs, don’t try to add more refrigerant yourself. And don’t sit, wish and hope things get better. Unfortunately, they won’t. Turn off your air conditioning system and call a service technician who can remedy the problem.

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