How Long Does It Take To Recharge An Air Conditioner?

Liz Yang

Having an air conditioning system at home or in the car is terrific. Regardless of your AC type, they all take advantage of refrigerant to cool the air. However, refrigerant can leak out, and your AC may need a recharge at some point.

How long does it take to recharge an air conditioner? On average, it will take 30 minutes to an hour to recharge your air conditioner. Before you begin, remember to check the refrigerant level and repair any leaks.

There are more timing issues to be aware of when recharging an air conditioner, and you can learn a lot more by continuing to read.

Why does your AC need a recharge?

Technically, air conditioners do not require recharging because the refrigerant remains intact. It will circulate between coils, lines, and the compressor but will not leave these components.

However, things can go wrong, and the refrigerant may leak out after a while. This is mainly due to the metal corrosion and tears and wears in our daily lives. Extreme temperatures and vibrations can also play a role. 

Relatively speaking, home air conditioning is not as prone to refrigerant leaks as car AC. You can expect to recharge your AC every three years or more frequently.

When your AC is low on refrigerant, it will lower the energy efficiency and affect the performance of your machine. With time, it can damage the compressor and our environment. 

If you have an old machine, it may use  R-22 Freon as the coolant. However, ACs manufactured after 2010 are more likely to use R-410A, which is more environmentally friendly.

Does your air conditioner need a recharge?

How to decide if your machine needs a recharge? Your air conditioner will show some signs when it is low on refrigerant. These signs include:

Higher utility bills: when an AC lacks refrigerant, it has to work harder to cool the room, which results in impressive numbers on your electricity bills.

Blow out warm air: put your hand close to the vent. If your AC is blowing warm air, there is a high likelihood that 

Frozen coils:  Low refrigerant will also cause coils to freeze, which can make your AC not able to produce cold air.

Hissing sound: when leaks get substantial, they can make a hissing sound. 

On top of that, you can take measures to examine the Freon level by yourself before hiring a professional, like the soap test and calculating the subcooling and superheating.

How long will it take to recharge an air conditioner?

In general, it is not advisable to recharge an AC on your own because it is hazardous. Since you need to pay for the labor cost, you may wonder how long an air conditioner recharge will take. 

Even if you decide to recharge, it is important to know how much time you will spend doing so.

In general, recharging an air conditioner will take between 30 and 60 minutes. It consists of two steps: removing the old gas and refilling it with the new refrigerant. Temperature and pressure readings are also included.

Recharging a car’s air conditioner is a little easier, and many people prefer to do it themselves. Most vehicles may take as little as 10 to 20 minutes.

How long it takes for AC refrigerant to settle?

How Long It Takes For AC Refrigerant To Settle

Once the recharging is done, allowing the AC refrigerant to settle is better. It will make sure your air conditioning unit will function well.

Unlike the coil in the compressor, it will only take a few minutes for AC refrigerant to settle. Window AC and split AC will take longer than car AC.

How long will it take for the AC to start blowing cold air after a recharge?

You can restart your air conditioner to see if it works again as long as the refrigerant (Freon) is settled. That means it will only take a few minutes to resume blowing cold air.

If this does not occur, it is possible that something is wrong with the compressor, fan, or that the filter is clogged.

Furthermore, if the leaks are not repaired before charging, your machine may continue to blow warm air.

Final thoughts

If you attempt to recharge your air conditioner, you should have an idea of how long it will take.

While charging an air conditioner is dangerous and should only be done by a certified HVAC professional, it only takes 30 minutes to an hour. Recharging a car’s air conditioner can take as little as 10 to 20 minutes.

Leaks should be repaired before recharging. Otherwise, the problem will manifest itself very soon.

Liz Yang is the founder of Airsmartly. She has been working at home for a few years and realizes that the performance of the HVAC system plays such an important role in our life. She has tested a lot of products in person, like humidifiers, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and ACs, and wants to share tips about using or troubleshooting these products with you. Her uncle is an HVAC expert with over 30 years of experience in the field, and often offers assistance when she is unsure how to handle a situation. He is also in charge of reviewing the articles on this site.

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