Freon is the liquid refrigerant used in refrigerators and air conditioners, whether in homes or cars. Freon is a trademarked name for a substance that contributes to keeping these cooling units cold. A refrigerator that couldn’t sustain chilling food may need freon, but that is not always the case. It’s not enough to learn how to add freon to a refrigerator. It needs careful study if the unit’s problem is freon or leakage in one of its parts. More importantly, manufacturers advise against adding Freon as a DIY project. This refrigerant is highly toxic, and a tad too much or a tad too little would be damaging for a refrigerator.
Checking the Refrigerator’s Condition
The safest and wisest move then is to entrust the work of adding Freon to a trained, accredited, and well-equipped refrigerator technician. This article then is only for walking through and familiarizing with the process of adding freon and is not meant to be an instructional DIY guide.
Before adding freon, a technician diagnoses the refrigerator’s cooling problem. He does the following checks:
He Checks the Condenser for Heat
If the condenser is cool to the touch while the refrigerator is still running while not cooling, it may be a Freon problem. But it could also be that the condenser needs repair, or there must be a clogged pathway somewhere.
He Listens for Freon
The technician proceeds to listen for Freon’s presence or absence after unplugging the refrigerator and turning the temperature off. If he hears a gurgling sound of liquid when he presses his ear on the fridge, then there is the presence of Freon. Not hearing any liquid sound may mean there is no more Freon there, or the condenser, fan, defroster, compressor, or other fridge parts may need repair.
He Checks for Frost
The technician now surveys the freezer and closes in on the evaporator. Turning the refrigerator and temperature settings back on, he observes the evaporator if it could develop frost after a few minutes. If it could not, then perhaps it’s a Freon problem or a clog somewhere.
Tools to Use
If the technician rules out everything and diagnoses the refrigerator’s problem as a case of depleted Freon, then he can proceed. Apart from knowing how to add Freon to a refrigerator safely, a technician knows what equipment and tools to use. These are the following:
- A bullet piercing valve
- A Freon recharge hose and Freon ) refrigerant gauge
- Freon itself, the type recommended by the refrigerator’s manufacturer and proven safe to use on the unit
- Air conditioner convention adapter valve from r12 to r134a
- Multi-bit screwdriver without a bit
Steps on How to Add Freon to a Refrigerator
Now that you know the tools professionals use, here are the steps on how to add freon to a refrigerator.
- To start adding freon, the technician ensures that the fridge is empty of food and other contents. He then unplugs the refrigerator from the power supply and unscrews the removable panel at the unit’s back. Then, he locates the compressor tank. There should be a refrigerant tube by the compressor.
- This time, the technician attaches the bullet piercing valve onto the compressor, right where the Freon line is, and not in any other pipe found in the tank. To be sure, the technician refers to the unit’s manual. It’s crucial not to puncture and feed the pipes that are not for Freon. Otherwise, it would be a botched job.
- Having the valve in place, the technician will start adding Freon. The valve also has to be the right size to match the Freon tubes and piping system.
- Next, the technician securely attaches the conversion valve to access the piercing valve where the Freon is to be poured in. It is very crucial to pour in the right amount of Freon, no more, no less. The refrigerant gauge should be checked to take note of the levels and amount of refrigerant needed. It can never be emphasized enough that there is a need to revert to the manual constantly.
- When adding the Freon, it is important to pour it in trickles to only the right amount that is piped in. After ensuring that the correct Freon levels are reached, it is time to close the access on the bullet piercing valve and detach the other valve and gauge.
- Finally, the first removed panel to expose the compressor tank should be screwed back in place. This time, the refrigerator can be plugged and switched back on to see if it is cooling and frosting properly.
It is most necessary to reiterate that learning how to add freon to a refrigerator does not give one the license to add himself. Remember that a refrigerator is always built with the right amount of freon that it requires for its whole life span. If a lack of Freon is observed, it may mean that this refrigerant has been leaking out due to damaged parts. This leak usually occurs if sharp objects puncture the aluminum evaporator coil found in the freezer. Thus it is not advised to remove the hardened ice from the freezer using ice picks, knives, chisels, or anything pointed that can disrupt the normal functioning. Find out more about appliance maintenance.