When Should You Top Up Air Con Gas?

What do you do when your office air conditioner won’t work as expected? Obviously, you could call your contractor for repair but most air conditioner issues are trivial and we can fix them without an expert’s help. More often than not, gas leaks are the biggest culprit. Luckily, most of them can be fixed with a pressure gauge. You will avoid paying exorbitant repair rates but then again, you’ll need a lot of time on your hands. I bet that you know you can’t have your time and money. Choose one. Here are the few things you should know before doing a do-it-yourself air con gas top up for office.

1. Air con gas is never used up

Most office air conditioners use Freon or Puron as the cooling agents. These are the refrigerants that cool the air that will be delivered to your office. In “normal” circumstances these gases are never used throughout the lifespan of your cooling unit. However, leaks do occur and this hypothetical situation is quite rare. These gases escape through leaky pipes. Before you know it, the storage container doesn’t have any gas in it.

2. Fix the fix before topping up the gas.

Look out for the hole/damaged area. Start b6 inspecting the storage container for signs of physical damage. Look at the connecting pipes too. Keep your eyes sharp and you may hear a “hissing” sound. Then take care of the leak. Don’t refill the gas without sealing the leak. It’s pointless. Leaks can occur in the metallic parts and the rubber ones too. Sometimes it’s wiser to replace the leaky parts entirely instead of patching them up. You’ll be the judge.

3. How Do leaks affect the unit’s efficiency?

Yes. They negatively affect your unit’s cooling capacity. The compressor will have to work twice as hard to compensate for this and if it doesn’t overheat and fail, your monthly energy bill will quadruple. If there’s no sufficient gas flow to the evaporator coils, they will be inefficient too. These gases may be harmful to the surrounding too – especially the sewage and drainage systems.

4. The gases used in air con gas top up for office

Earlier, they were using Freon. Thanks to advancements in technology we now have two other cheaper (and more efficient) alternatives. However, Freon is still in use by most contractors. Some office air conditioners use R22 even though its use is being discouraged. This gas is one of the harmful chlorohydrocarbons (CFCs) that deplete the ozone layer. Its slowly being replaced by R410.

However, R22 is more efficient in cooling as it also absorbs the moisture that condenses on the cooler parts of the air conditioning. This helps in keeping the unit moisture free possibly having a positive impact on its lifespan. Perhaps this is why contractors are hesitant to work with R410 (commonly branded as Puron) even though it’s more economical.

How do you know that your air conditioner needs a gas top-up?

1. Your office gets uncomfortably hot

Check the room temperature. This is the lazy man’s way of doing things. Do you suspect that the air con isn’t cooling air efficiently? This is the first indication that you need an air con gas top up for office units. Of course, there are other factors that could be preventing your unit from working efficiently but a low gas level is usually the most common culprit. Act in time and you’ll have fewer parts to repair (or replace when you’re too late).
In most office setups, they have several air conditioning units for different offices. If you notice that your office is hotter than the others, then something is definitely worth with your cooling unit.

2. Water leakages

You may see moisture formation on your air con. However, this isn’t as obvious and it often goes undetected. This is an indication that you need to have the air con gas refilled. This is usually a simple task and you never have to seek professional help. Fix it yourself and you’ll gain respect among your department members. I mean, these practical skills are getting rarer as modernization does its thing.

How to top up the gas on your own

Again, these air conditioner contractors will never tell you that you can refill the gas on your own. Of course, they are businessmen and they need to pay bills too. Can you inflate a car tire? Then you’re qualified for this procedure. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself for gaining these practical skills.

First, get a pressure gauge and measure the refrigerant levels. Don’t spend money buying an “air conditioner” pressure gauge. No such thing exists. They’re just normal pressure gauges branded this way and they charge a fortune for them. Typical air conditioner pressures range between 87 PSI and 91 at room temperature.

Then, confirm what gas your unit uses. You should never use R22 gas on an R410 gas or the other way around. These gases can never be interchanged. If this isn’t indicated on the gas tank, go check your installer’s documentation. Air conditioner technicians are required by regulations to indicate what type of tank they are using.

Practical tips to avoid re-gassing regularly

1. Replace the filters at least four times in a year

If you have asthmatic co-workers, you will need to replace them after shorter time spans. These filters keep dust and other physical matter from reaching your cooling equipment. Imagine what would happen to the air con when the intake valves get clogged. This physical matter causes wear and tear to the air conditioner’s internal components and this may end up with expensive air con gas leaks. Remember to change (or clean up) these filters and you’ll stay longer without re-gassing.

2. Never turn down the thermostat

Contrary to popular belief, this won’t cool your office faster. However, it will force the cooling unit to work twice as hard resulting in wear and tear. I’m sure you know that this negatively affects your unit’s lifespan. Quick reminder: ACs have their own regulatory mechanisms. This is why you see them turn on and off regularly. Just like refrigerators, they only work when its necessary.