What is an Aircon Regas and When Do You Need It?
Whenever an aircon regas is mentioned, most people think about their car’s air conditioning. But your home system may need regassing too.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to have your home air conditioner regassed, but there are some clear signs that your system may be in need of regassing. There are also pretty good reasons to get that job done urgently.
When your air conditioning system is not running at the level you’re accustomed to, don’t assume it needs replacing. It might simply be in need of a regas and service.
It’s worth examining when an aircon regas needs to be done and why. We’ll also take a look at what to expect from a full service with an air conditioning technician.
What is an Aircon Regas?
An aircon regas is simply the process of replacing the refrigerant in your air conditioner.
This involves removing existing refrigerant from the air conditioner – which is called evacuating the system – and replacing it with a fresh supply. In other words, the refrigerant is never just “topped up”, it is always replaced entirely.
This becomes necessary because refrigerant can leak out over a period of time, which effectively causes the system to lose its cooling power. The leak is likely to occur where the copper pipe connections are sealed mechanically.
If your air conditioner is relatively new, leaking gas could be a fault caused by the original installation. If you have an older system, this could be a sign of general wear and tear or poor maintenance. It may also be a sign that the air conditioner needs replacing.
Why Do I Need an Aircon Regas?
There are a few telltale signs your air conditioning system may be in need of regassing and, perhaps, some other general maintenance.
If there is a gas leak in your system, the signs will be:
- Air conditioner blowing warm air
- Hissing or bubbling coming from the external copper pipe
- A buildup of ice on the air conditioner pipes
- Air conditioner working less efficiently than usual
Aside from warm air coming out of your air vents, these signs aren’t easy to spot. However, if you get your air conditioning system checked regularly, a professional HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) technician will notice these signs and take appropriate action.
What to Expect from an AC Regassing
If you have your HVAC system serviced annually, you’ll probably never have to call a technician specifically for this reason. Regular maintenance will keep your AC working efficiently and effectively.
However, if your system does need regassing, the air conditioning specialist will carry out the following checks:
- Complete leak detection of your system
- Find and repair the refrigerant leak
- Ensure the circuit is sealed and test for the leak again
- Evacuate your system and regas the AC
When the coolant is low, it means your system has to work harder to do the job of cooling your home. That means it works less efficiently and costs you more to run.
Can I Do It Myself?
Some people choose to take the DIY approach when it comes to their car’s air conditioning, but don’t think about doing that with a domestic air conditioner. This is mainly because there’s a risk of a fluorocarbon refrigerant being leaked.
A Refrigerant Handling License must be held by anyone dealing with refrigerant or doing any work on refrigeration or air conditioning equipment, so it’s not only a recommendation to leave it to the professionals, it’s also a legal requirement.
What’s the Difference with My Car?
You are likely to have your car’s air conditioning regassed regularly, but your home’s system may never need the service done. So, what’s the difference?
The big difference is in the materials that are used. Pipes, seals and other parts used in your car’s AC system are often rubber or plastic. These components receive a lot of wear and tear because you use the system while your car is on the move. This causes them to become more porous and refrigerant leaks through.
Your home’s system is, of course, more settled. The pipes are also copper and much stronger than rubber or plastic. While there is some wear and tear over a number of years, there’s a lot more stability for your home system’s coolant.
Refrigerant R22 is Being Phased Out
A commonly used refrigerant called R22 (aka Freon) is being phased out for environmental reasons. This may never affect your air conditioning system, especially if you have a newer model, but it’s worth noting if you’ve got an older system.
R22, which used to be the main refrigerant used in air conditioning systems, has been classified as an ozone depleting substance. These days it can only be used in older units but all R22 imports will be banned from 2030.
Fortunately, less than 17% of air conditioning systems in Australia use R22. New systems use more environmentally friendly refrigerants and people with older systems will be advised to upgrade over coming years.
While you may never need to have your unit regassed, the best advice is to get your home’s air conditioning system serviced annually. A fully qualified professional will detect small problems – which is how a refrigerant leak starts – and remedy them before they become big problems. That’ll keep your system blowing cool air when you need it.
Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.