- Can a Window Air Conditioner Be Recharged?
- How To Top Off or Add Refrigerant to a Window AC Unit
- Tools and Items Needed to Recharge a Window AC unit
- How To Recharge a Window Air Conditioner
- How To Add a Bullet Schrader Valve
- Window Air Conditioner Refrigerant Type
- Window Air Conditioner Refrigerant Pressure
- Recharging a Window AC Unit Tips
If you have a window air conditioner unit that is not working properly anymore, it may only need a refrigerant charge to get it working again.
Recharging the refrigerant in a window air conditioner is not done often, with most people buying a new unit when an old unit fails.
However, window air conditioners can be recharged with refrigerant and can be put back to work cooling a room or space.
Can a Window Air Conditioner Be Recharged?
Yes, like any HVAC unit, a window air conditioner can be recharged.
The correct refrigerant will be needed along with HVAC gauges.
The steps to recharge a window air conditioner unit are the same as any HVAC unit by adding in the correct amount of refrigerant.
Recharging a unit is not difficult, but if you have never worked with HVAC refrigerants, be sure to study the basics.
How To Top Off or Add Refrigerant to a Window AC Unit (Unofficial Method)
- Official Method: Empty the system and add refrigerant in by weight.
- Unofficial Method: Add refrigerant slowly until the unit starts to cool.
Since many window air conditioners have variable speed compressors adding in or topping off a unit can be difficult to get correct.
Small AC units with variable speed compressors can make using HVAC temperature charts unreliable.
For this reason, the official method to refill a unit is to drain the system and add in the correct amount of refrigerant by weight.
With that said, small amounts of refrigerant can be added to a system in small increments until the unit starts to cool.
While this is not the official way, it can work when done correctly.
The main thing to remember is if too much refrigerant is added to the unit will not work, so only add in small amounts in increments, in 5-7 minute intervals.
Another thing is the correct refrigerant will be needed since mixing refrigerants will have an unknown outcome and likely will not work.
Look at the name tag of the unit and it will display which refrigerant the system uses.
EBay has stopped allowing the sales of many refrigerants such as R410a, but there are many websites which will sell it.
Officially, an EPA 608 card is needed to use HVAC refrigerants, but they can be sold as long as it is for resale.
Many websites get around the EPA 608 card requirement by having the buyer sign a document saying it is for resale.
Also, most small AC units do not have a service port to connect gauges which is easy to fix by adding a low cost bullet valve.
Items Needed to Add Refrigerant to a Window AC Unit
- Bullet Valve (Schrader Valve)
- Recharge Hose or HVAC Gauges
- Correct Refrigerant Type
Example Bullet Piercing Valve on Amazon
Supco BPV21 Bullet Piercing Valve
Example Recharge hose and Bullet Valve Kit on Amazon
Aupoko A/C R134A Refrigerant Charging Hose Kit, Recharge Hose with Gauge, R13A Can Tap and Quick Couple, R410A Straight Swivel Adapter, Piercing Tap Valve Kits, 2PC 1/4’’ Adapters with Valve Core
Steps To Top Off or Add Refrigerant to a Window AC Unit (Unofficial Method)
- Attach a Bullet Schrader valve to the low-pressure line (Big Line).
- Connect the gauge blue low-pressure hose to the Schrader valve.
- Connect the gauge hose to the refrigerant bottle.
- Turn on the window air conditioner and let it run in cool mode.
- Turn the refrigerant valve on for 1-2 seconds and then off, to let in refrigerant.
- Let the unit run for roughly 4-5 minutes and see if it is cooling.
- If the unit is not cooling add in a small amount again and see if it starts to cool.
- Once the unit is cooling stop adding refrigerant and disconnect the hose.
- When the hose is removed refrigerant will come out, simply remove it as quickly as possible.
Tools and Items Needed to Recharge a Window Air Conditioner
- Bullet Valve (Schrader Valve)
- Correct Refrigerant Type
- Recharge Hose or HVAC Gauges
- Weight Scale
- Vacuum Pump
The main tools needed to charge a window air conditioner are a bullet valve, refrigerant, weight scale, and HVAC Gauges.
How To Recharge a Window Air Conditioner (Official Method)
- Attach a Bullet Schrader valve to the low-pressure line.
- Connect the HVAC gauge blue low-pressure line to the Schrader valve on the window AC unit.
- Attach the HVAC gauge yellow center hose to the vacuum pump.
- Turn on the vacuum pump, open the HVAC gauge blue gauge, and set the system into a negative pressure.
- Let the pump run for 15-20 minutes, then turn it off and let the unit sit for 10-20 minutes, and be sure it holds the negative pressure.
- Connect the gauges center yellow hose to the refrigerant tank.
- Turn the refrigerant tank valve on.
- Flip the box of refrigerant upside down so the liquid will flow into the unit instead of vapor.
- Place the refrigerant on the weight scale.
- The HVAC gauge blue low-pressure line should be connected to the Schrader valve on the window AC unit.
- Turn the HVAC blue gauge valve on slowly and let the correct amount of refrigerant in by weight.
- Once the correct amount has gone into the system, turn off the HVAC gauge blue valve.
- Turn the valve off on the refrigerant tank.
- With the refrigerant tank valve off, turn the HVAC blue gauge valve back on to let the unit pull in any refrigerant in the line.
- As quickly as possible, remove the line to the window unit (A small amount of refrigerant will come out; simply go as quickly as possible).
How To Add a Bullet Schrader Valve
Window air conditioners do not usually have a service port that is easily fixed with a low-cost bullet valve.
A bullet valve is simple to attach by using an Allen wrench to tighten the screws on it, which has a piercing valve that goes into the line.
It is usually attached to the refrigerant low-pressure line (big copper line).
Read Here for detailed Instructions on Installing a Service Port on a Window A/C unit.
Window Air Conditioner Refrigerant Type
Many old units will use R22, which is not manufactured anymore, and newer units usually use R410a.
There are many online videos and forums of people using R134a refrigerants to recharge window A/C units.
When adding refrigerants, they should never be mixed since the system was not designed for this and will not work correctly.
Also, the oils used in HVAC systems can vary and damage the compressor or other parts.
Many people online and on YouTube claim to have good success using R134a refrigerant in R22 and R410a systems which I wouldn’t recommend.
The reason they are using R134a is it is widely used in vehicle A/C systems with low-cost cans sold online and auto parts stores.
The refrigerant that was designed for the system should be added with no mixing of refrigerant.
Window Air Conditioner Refrigerant Pressure
Many new window A/C units have variable speed compressors, which can make it difficult to match to a temperature pressure chart.
This means each window A/C unit will need the correct pressure or it will not cool.
If a unit is low on refrigerant, the pressure will be lower, and the system will not work.
If a unit is overfilled, the pressure will be too high, and the system will not work.
For this reason, it is necessary to get the pressure correct when adding refrigerant so as not to overfill the system.
I would not go above 35-40 PSI on the low-pressure line before testing the unit and seeing if it starts cooling.
Starting at a lower pressure such as 30 PSI is best, and testing the unit for cooling.
If the unit is not cooling, slowly raise the pressure until it does start cooling.
HVAC gauges or a recharge hose with a pressure gauge, and a temperature pressure chart, will be needed to get the correct pressure.
Recharging a Window Air Conditioner Unit Tips
- Find and Fix Any Leak
- Install a Service Port (Schrader Valve)
- Recharge the Unit
The first step is to check for leaks. If a unit has a very slow leak over the course of a year or more, it will only need a boost.
A fast leak will need to be fixed and repaired before refilling it.
There are a few methods for finding a leak, from a visual inspection to filling a unit with Nitrogen and using soap to find the leak.
Refrigerant leak detectors can also be bought, which sniff out a refrigerant leak and will make a fast audible beep as it moves closer to it.
It is common for leaks to occur at joints which often require soldering them together again.
Small air conditioner units will not usually have a service port to hook up gauges.
Installing a service port is an easy task and requires soldering in a port or using a piercing valve kit.
A piercing valve is easy to install and the most common method to get a Schrader Valve on a unit.
Service ports are usually installed on the low-pressure line to add refrigerant, which is the larger diameter line.
After any leak is fixed and a service port has been installed, the unit is ready for the refrigerant.
HVAC gauges and the correct refrigerant is needed.
R410a can be bought at air conditioning supply stores or even online.
Also, be sure to watch your pressures on the gauges along with a temperature pressure chart to know what it should be.
The above are the basic steps involved in recharging a window air conditioning unit.
Keep in mind there will always be design differences between manufacturers.
Before the refrigerant can be added, a Schrader valve will need to be attached to the low-pressure line.
After attaching the valve, a gauge can be attached, and refrigerant is let into the system.
Be sure to keep in mind the pressure, as too much refrigerant will cause too much pressure, and the unit will not work correctly.
Too much refrigerant can be just as bad as too little refrigerant.
Also, be sure always to follow safety procedures as you would with any HVAC unit.