How To Recharge a Window Air Conditioner Unit

By | May 30, 2020

How To Recharge a Window Air Conditioner Unit Basics
Recharging the refrigerant on a window air conditioner is not something done often with most people buying a new unit when an old unit fails.

Windows air conditioners can however be recharged with refrigerant and be put back to work cooling a room or space.
How To Recharge a Window Air Conditioner
Recharging a unit is not difficult but if you have never worked with HVAC refrigerant be sure to study the basics.

There are two methods for recharging a window air conditioner, the low-cost backyard quick method used by many homeowners, or the tech method which is more involved but recommended.

The backyard low-cost method is the most used way to recharge a window A/C unit if it is low on refrigerant but not recommended.

Below are the steps for both types of recharging methods.

Parts Needed

  • Bullet Valve (Schrader Valve)
  • Refrigerant Usually R410a
  • Recharge Hose or HVAC Gauges

Backyard Method To Recharge a Window Air Conditioner (Not Recommended)

  1. Attach a Bullet Valve Schrader Valve to the low-pressure line.
  2. How To Recharge a Window Air Conditioner Unit Step 1

  3. Attach the refrigerant can to the hose.
  4. How To Recharge a Window Air Conditioner Unit Step 2

  5. Attach the recharge hose to the Schrader Valve.
  6. How To Recharge a Window Air Conditioner Unit Step 3

  7. Open the valve on the recharge hose which will add refrigerant to the system.

Adding a Bullet Valve Schrader Valve
How To Recharge a Window Air Conditioner Unit Overview 1
A bullet valve is a quick and easy way to add a recharging port to an A/C unit.

Window air conditioners do not usually have a service port which is easily fixed with a low-cost bullet valve.
How To Recharge a Window Air Conditioner Unit Overview 2
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.

A recharge hose or HVAC gauges will be needed also be needed.
 
Bullet Piercing Valve on Amazon
Supco BPV21 Bullet Piercing Valve

 
Read Here for Instructions on Installing a Service Port on a Window A/C unit.
 
Refrigerant Type
How To Recharge a Window Air Conditioner Unit Overview 3
The type of refrigerant the system uses should be labeled on the unit.

Many old units will use R22 which is not manufactured anymore and newer units usually using R410a.

There are many online videos and forums of people using R134a refrigerant to recharge window A/C units.

When adding refrigerant they should never be mixed since the system was not designed for this.

Also, the oils used in HVAC systems can vary and damaged the compressor or other parts.

Many people online and 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.

Refrigerant Pressure

Each HVAC system will have different pressures which will change depending on the temperature.

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 as to not 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 age will be needed.

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

 




 
How To Recharge a Window Air Conditioner Unit (Recommend Method)

  1. Find and Fix Any Leak
  2. 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.

    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.

    Read Here For More information on Refrigerant Leak Detectors.

    It is common for leaks to occur at joints which often require soldering them together again.
     

  3. Install a Service Port (Schrader Valve)
  4. 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.
     
    Bullet Piercing Valve on Amazon
    Supco BPV21 Bullet Piercing Valve

     
    Read Here for Instructions on Installing a Service Port on a Window A/C unit.
     

  5. Recharge the Unit
  6. After any leak is fixed and a service port has been installed the unit is ready for refrigerant.

    HVAC gauges and the correct refrigerant is needed.

    Most units today will use R410a but be sure to read the service tag on the unit to be sure.
    Recharge a Window Air Conditioner Unit

    R410a can be bought at air conditioning supply stores or even online on eBay.

R410a Refrigerant on eBay
 
Hook up your gauges to the service port and the refrigerant tank.
How To Recharge a Window Air Conditioner Unit
Be sure to know what the PSI should be at before starting. Do not overfill the unit.

Also be sure to watch your pressures on the gauges along with a temperature pressure chart to know what it should be.
Recharge a Window Air Conditioner Unit HOW TO
 
Summary
The above are the basic steps involved in recharging a window air conditioning unit.

Keep in mind there will always be design differences between manufactures.

Also be sure to always follow safety procedures as you would with any HVAC unit.



 




 

7 thoughts on “How To Recharge a Window Air Conditioner Unit

  1. Jeff Gedgaud

    Both of your methods seem to be the same, whats the difference?

    Reply
    1. Don

      One method refills without checking and fixing the unit and possibly the wrong refrigerant. The other method checks and fixes any leaks along with the correct refrigerant.

      Reply
  2. Sidney

    I appreciate that help on educating us on the windows units. I have a large Fedders air conditioner which I am sure don’t need recharging and wasn’t used that much since purchasing it new. One day I got ready to turn it on after it had been idle all Winter the unit was not blowing air like it did previously. I assume the fan is not blowing either because the blower is not turning. I thank you for the information and I hope to be getting one of the four units working again. I am sure two of them, and maybe three are out of coolant.

    Reply
  3. Mark Glover

    I have a question for you I have a GE unit blows great cold air after about 10 minutes all of a sudden it stops blowing and the green mode light starts flashing you let it set about 5 minutes or so green light goes solid and starts like nothing wrong but keeps cycling back and forth. What is causing it to shut off and that annoying light is telling me?

    Reply
  4. Esco

    Thanks for your excellent explanation on servicing window AC’s. I appreciated how you got right to the meat of information, and stayed on-point with each topic you covered. I can’t wait to yank out my 5 year-old Panasonic through-wall unit and regain its lost cooling ability.

    Reply
  5. Doug

    Great information about how to recharge a window AC unit. How to Find the leak and fixing it plus the pierce adapter all great information for the DIY types. I’ll get a certified refrigeration technician on the task based on the expertise required.

    Reply

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