Does your AC really need gas charging?


Time and again we are faced with a gas charging request by customers.  Somehow and for some reason it is been made to believe or ingrained in  our minds that if there is a low cooling issue then a gas charging or top up is the mandate. As service professionals, we are somehow amused and baffled at the same time that the customer arrives at this conclusion even before a technician has checked and made an analysis. Also same is the case when a technician has visited your home to attend to your service request and tells you that your AC requires a gas top up or gas charging.  Here’s some information to have you well -equipped with the term gas charging or top up.

Scene 1) Technician says you need more refrigerant/gas without checking the AC unit

Imagine this scenario: You’re unwell, go to the Doctor and narrate your symptoms. The Doctor looks you up and down and says, “OK, all you need is surgery!” No tests, just a quick solution.

Sounds silly, but that is what some AC technicians will do. They will hear the “symptoms” (air conditioner is blowing hot air) and recommend a refrigerant charge without actually checking to see if that’s the case.

This may have some consequences for you:

  1. The technician will completely miss the real problem (meaning you still won’t have any cool air and you wasted your money).
  2. The technician may overcharge your system, causing expensive damage to your air conditioner.

What else could the problem be?

There are several issues that could cause your AC to be blowing hot air, including:

  • Compressor issues
  • Dirty air filters
  • Dirty outside condenser unit
  • A remote which has been accidentally set on “heat” mode instead of “cool”
  • A remote that has been set to run on “fan”mode only

A technician needs to use special equipment’s /gauge to check the refrigerant levels before recommending that your AC needs a refrigerant charge.

OK, so the technician has actually checked the refrigerant levels but you still may be getting ripped off if…

Scene 2) Technician mentions your AC “used up” the refrigerant/gas

Refrigerant isn’t like gas in a car; it’s not “used up”. Refrigerant flows between the indoor and outdoor units going from a liquid and a gas over and over again in what’s called a “self contained system”.

If you’re actually low on refrigerant, then there’s most likely a leak somewhere in your system where the refrigerant is escaping.

If there’s no mention of finding a leak, then that means a couple things:

  1. You don’t really need refrigerant and the technician is pulling your leg
  2. You do need refrigerant, but any refrigerant that’s added will leak out, only offering a temporary fix, meaning you’ll be paying for more refrigerant soon enough (how soon depends on how big the leak is).

What a technician should do in case of low refrigerant/ gas ?

  1. Check the cooling system’s refrigerant levels with a gauge
  2. If the reading reflects low then the technician searches for a leak (this may take some time)
  3. Once found, then all the refrigerant is evacuated using a refrigerant recovery system, so not to expel the polluting gasses freely into the air
  4. Technician fixes the leak
  5. Technician fills the system with refrigerant levels that meet manufacturer’s specifications

If it’s a major leak on a condenser or evaporator coil, repairing your AC may be expensive. And if the air conditioner is old, then replacing your air conditioner may be the most cost efficient option.

Do you think you need a gas charging, and you live in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai or Thane ? Call Starranty on 9769 069 069 🙂

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