Asked on Feb 28, 2012

How often should a Heat Pump HVAC unit need to be recharged with freon?

Eamon C
by Eamon C
I have a Trane heat pump and air conditioner which is 12 years old. Every year or so it needs a few pounds added. Is it nomal to continually need to be recharged?
  12 answers
  • Hi Eamon, How often you need to refill largely depends on how often the system runs. The more it runs, the more often you will have to refill it. If you have a leak as well, you'll have to refill it more often. Have you checked for any leaks in the system? At 12 years old, it could probably be due for a servicing as seals wear out. Replacing any worn seals would help keep the system running more efficiently as well as save you some money in the long run.
  • Clay B Clay B on Feb 29, 2012
    If it needs recharging, you have a leak to fix first. You should get it serviced/checked at least once per year, helps prevent costly repairs later.
  • Never, its a sealed system much like your refrigerator in the kitchen. In fact its best that they do not even put gauges on them once installed and properly charged. As every time they install their equipment onto your system they are introducing air and contaminates into the system. Effectively reducing the life span of the system.
  • Plumber26 Plumber26 on Apr 03, 2012
    Woodbridge is right.... unless there is a leak, you shouldn't have to add refridgerant.... the HVAC company who is adding should know better unless they're just trying to sell you refridgerant. most times it's as simple as a bad schrader valve (like the one on your car) or could be a leaky coil... someone needs to do a leak search to find/fix source of problem
  • Jay Taylor Jay Taylor on Jan 27, 2015
    I agree with some of the points mentioned earlier in the comments ahead of mine. The amount of maintenance depends on the hours of usage of the air conditioner. Even if you are not using it in some of the months of then year you should get regular maintenance to ensure that it is in top performing state all through the year. Read the blog for detailed info.
  • When I taught HVAC in the 80's we had factory installed equipment placed in the classroom that allowed us, the instructor's to introduce " faults in the equipment. for trouble shooting practice. One of the groups that I taught were 3rd year journeyman that were from the local union. So one would think they would have some experience in understand the correct operation of a system. I introduced a fault where the condenser fan was under speed. so not enough air was blowing over the condensing coil. This causes the pressures in the system to change. Every one of them except one pair of guys can up with the charge was incorrect in the system when there was nothing at all with it. The story is, its not uncommon to have a professional come in and attempt to adjust your charge on a system. As their equipment may be calibrated different than the last guy, the testing equipment may be off, the filter may be dirty. There are dozens of reason why that may trigger the reason why they want to add or remove the gas. I always tell my clients that checking the charge is the last thing I would want to do on a system. The proper method of service is just that. Service it. Clean, change filters, verify air movement, amp pressures on motors. This all needs to be done before you can even think of adjusting the charge on the system. Because if anything is out of adjustment or dirty, the charge will change. Like an auto, you do not put more gas in the tank, if the tires are flat. It might make the motor run longer but your still wasting energy trying to push the car down the road on the rims. Fix the tires and the fuel will last much longer.
  • Debbie Loar Lupton Debbie Loar Lupton on Feb 22, 2015
    I have had mine for 23 years and have never had to do this. I am knocking on wood because now that I actually wrote that down with my luck something will happen :)
  • Betty Johnson Betty Johnson on Sep 11, 2015
    I've never heard of putting more Freon in an HVAC system. That's not normal as far as I know. Then again, I'm not an expert on these things. Still, having it worked on every year sounds excessive.
  • GUSS GUSS on Dec 07, 2017


  • William William on Dec 07, 2017

    I agree with Woodbridge 1000%! Never needs a recharge or addition unless there is a leak. Totally sealed system. You have a leak that needs to be located and repaired. 11+ years in HVAC.

    • Lisa Lisa on Oct 30, 2019

      Sir, our Trane outside unit has a cracked copper pipe and all the Freon spilled out. Our AC people want $1,800 to repair and refill. Is this a normal charge? Thank you

  • C**34225148 C**34225148 on Oct 13, 2018

    Is it ok if turn my heat on if my freon is low

  • William William on Oct 30, 2019

    Lisa, don't know where you live but $1800 is highway robbery. You could get a new unit for about that price. Get at least three quotes (should be free). Should not cost more that $500.