Can I add refrigerant myself?

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Old 08-15-13, 08:20 AM
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Can I add refrigerant myself?

Ok, I'm fully expecting to get bashed on this one b/c it's probably a dumb question. but I have no experience here so go easy on me

I have a central A/C unit with a leak somewhere. I've paid to have refrigerant added last summer, this past june, and just this week. Am hoping this latest top off can get me through the next 6 weeks but fear it may not. Am planning on getting a new one next spring. In the meantime, I'm wondering if I can add refrigerant myself? I'm guessing this has to be done by a qualified technician and thinking the stuff itself isn't available to the home buyer? But its costing me $400-$500 each time so figured I ask.
 
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Old 08-15-13, 08:25 AM
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You need to be EPA certified to (legally) work with refrigerant. See some of the "stickies" at the top of this forum for more information. Bottom line is you won't get any assistance here for trying to add refrigerant yourself.
 
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Old 08-15-13, 08:26 AM
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I'm wondering if I can add refrigerant myself? I'm guessing this has to be done by a qualified technician and thinking the stuff itself isn't available to the home buyer? But its costing me $400-$500 each time so figured I ask.
You are correct... You cannot... Do not even try or think about it...

A qualified tech should be able to find the leak so it will not cost you $... This is where you need to shop around for the right contractor.

Did the last contractor look for leaks? Even they say they cant find it that sounds like hogwash to me... I have worked with the HVAC guys and they were well equipped to find leaks....

Others will chime in..
 
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Old 08-15-13, 08:29 AM
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According to the EPA..... only a properly licensed technician can put freon into a charged system.
Most freons aren't sold to the public.

Needing as much freon as you've needed means a pretty good sized leak that should have been looked for....unless you already know what is bad.

You had it added last year because you were going to change it in the spring.
You added again this year so you can change it next spring.

It's funny..... everyone always posts that they're going to change their system next spring
 
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Old 08-15-13, 12:00 PM
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LOL. Thanks that's what I was thinking but had to ask (wife asked me to :-) )

Anyway, some feedback. PJMax, no its a little different. The leak was found last june/julyAt the time they said without looking for it and finding how big it is, no telling how long the top-off would last. So I rolled with it. It lasted until the following june/july. This year I brought someone new out to top if off and they explained it to me like this:

I have to pay someone to first find the leak. B/c they can be small and hard to find, and i'd pay hourly, it could take someone several hours to find it. then, once they find it, i'd have to decide if I wanted it fixed. the fix could be very expensive. so it could cost me several hundred dollars of time just to have someone find it. then, they may tell me it could cost $2,000 to fix it.

So I said just top it off ($400) and we'll see how it goes. Rather than pay to find it and only to decide its not worth it to fix it (instead put $$$ towards a new unit).
 
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Old 08-15-13, 12:49 PM
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Combining all your costs so far, another couple of top offs and you are well on your way to a new a/c and coil cost. Not knowing the age of your system, it might be time to replace or find a more qualified company for service. You aren't the first person to make it last "just one more year" and see the sticker shock that comes with what refrigerant costs and labor are.
 
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Old 08-15-13, 01:04 PM
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yep. without knowing at the time, how bad the leak was its a tough call to make. obivously the leak is worse.
 
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Old 08-15-13, 03:54 PM
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Here is a cheap way out. Go take the EPA test and get a certificate yourself. You may have to study for a week and take a couple of tests. they are not that hard. It costs you about $150-$250 depends on where you are..
 
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