To fill up the air conditioner in the car by yourself

Filling of auto conditioner with one’s own hands

Today, all modern cars are equipped with a system for cooling and maintaining the microclimate in the cabin. Depending on a class it can be a simple air conditioner or full-fledged climatic installation with possibility to control temperature, humidity and air cleaning in automatic mode. Regardless of the set of functions, any system uses freon-based refrigerant, which is consumed in the process of operation. Therefore, for smooth operation it is necessary to monitor its level and fill the cooler in time.

The structure of the cooling device consists of two closed circuits: high and low pressure. The main mechanisms and nodes located on the circuit lines:

  • Compressor-pressurizes air from a low-pressure area into a condenser with a fan, creating high pressure by compressing freon;
  • Condenser provides transformation of coolant into liquid low-temperature condition;
  • Dehumidifier. separates excess moisture;
  • expansion valve. converts the pressure difference;
  • Evaporator. removes heat from the air by means of a duct.

Coolant goes through three cycles, working on the principle of heat exchange of different states of the substance, during which the necessary amount is released to cool the air. All the lines of the system are under vacuum. any damage of the joints seals and gaskets leads to gas leakage. Natural Freon consumption is 10 to 25% per year. this depends on the operating temperature conditions. Minimal level of refrigerant must not fall below 50% of normal level.

Important! The efficiency of the air conditioner and the life of the components are directly related to the quantity of refrigerant in the system. it is recommended to top up the air conditioner at least once every three years.

The principle of operation of the automobile cooler

It is impossible to properly service a car air conditioner without knowing its structure and principle of operation. The climate control unit includes the following elements and units:

  • external heat exchanger (condenser), installed near the radiator of the engine cooling system;
  • internal heat exchanger (evaporator) installed in the cabin air duct;
  • fins of both heat exchangers are forced blown by fans;
  • The compressor, which creates the necessary pressure in the refrigerant circuit, is driven by a belt drive from the crankshaft;
  • expansion valve, gas dryer;
  • connecting freon lines made of copper tubes.

Key point! The principle of operation of any air conditioner is based on ability of the refrigerant to evaporate at subzero temperatures. During evaporation, freon quickly removes a great deal of heat from the air, significantly reducing its temperature.

In order to properly charge the car air conditioner, you need to imagine the work cycle of the climate system:

  • In the liquid state, the refrigerant enters the evaporator through which the fan drives the hot air. Freon evaporates, takes heat from the flow and goes on to the compressor.
  • Inside the blower, the gas is compressed and moves into the outdoor heat exchanger. The boiling point of the pressurized substance increases so that the freon in the external radiator condenses and releases the accumulated heat to the outside air.
  • After flowing through the dryer and expansion valve the refrigerant pressure drops again. The gas moves again to the internal heat exchanger to evaporate and go through the cycle all over again.

Filling up a car air conditioner

Air conditioner of a car. is a device that creates and maintains a selected climate inside a car. This equipment, as well as all others, needs to be serviced in time. To keep it in working order it is necessary from time to time to refill air conditioner of a car, to clean air conditioning mechanism and other processes that prevent its failure in future. The owners of a car, who use an air conditioner regularly, have probably more than once applied to service stations to have it serviced, paying for it certain sums of money But it is possible to save money on this, doing it yourself. We are going to discuss about it within the framework of this material.

  • How the air conditioner works in the car
  • Time of filling up a car air conditioner
  • Type of freon in a car air conditioner
  • What are the norms for charging with freon
  • What means are necessary for charging a car air conditioner
  • Principle of charging air conditioner in a car by oneself
  • A way to prolong term of air conditioner work
fill, conditioner, yourself

Scheme of air conditioner activity in your car

Scheme of air conditioner activity in a car

Before one starts to charge air conditioner in a car independently, it would be good to disassemble the device and know the principle of its functioning, to make the process successful. The mechanism consists of three main parts:

Procedure of air conditioning is approximately as follows:

  • The freon circulates in a closed circuit and goes through all three parts.
  • The compressor compresses the gas and increases its temperature.
  • Then the refrigerant (already warmed and under pressure) flows into the condenser, where it is cooled and condenses (turns into a liquid).
  • Then freon enters the circuit with a high pressure and goes to the expansion valve, where it is atomized and penetrates into the evaporator.
  • The evaporator is where the cooling process takes place, because the refrigerant evaporates there, as a result of which thermal energy is released from the air mass and it becomes cold.
  • Closing the circle freon goes back to the compressor (as a cold gas) on the low pressure side and here the procedure happens again.

Frequency of charging the air conditioner in a car

In the course of operation of a car air conditioner there is a small leakage of freon. In normal values, the loss during one year is about 15 percent. So once every 3 years, when there is no circuit depressurization, it is necessary to add refrigerant to the air conditioner in the car. And if a car is old, so there is more leakage, therefore it needs to be charged once a year, but the methodology of charging is the same.

If there is a big freon leak, it is not necessary to fill up a conditioner, it is necessary to find a damaged place first of all and to solve a problem (it is done only on HUNDRED with ultraviolet).

If the freon leak is more than normal, it could be damage:

  • or tubes of a conditioner’s system have lost their tightness because of mechanical effect or rust;
  • Or the condenser itself has started corroding.

Kinds of the Refrigerant which are used in the conditioners of a car

In the past, when you fill up the air conditioner, you use R-12 freon, which contains fluorine, because it is very productive, but harmful. In ’92 it was banned and R-134a refrigerant appeared. That is why automobile owners of cars with air conditioner, which were produced before ’92, have a possibility to use a manual freezer. You either have to do the filling yourself or change to a new type of freon. Even though they function on R-12, but the service stations have banned charging gas with m chlorine and fluorine. Therefore new models of automobiles with air conditioners fill up with freon R-134а. Besides, one can find out on the table, having opened a hood, what kind of freon is in conditioner of a certain system. it is difficult to mix up, because filling connectors are different (in a tube under R-134a it is higher and with essential diametrical section). On a sticker under a cowl there are also norms of refilling of freon in a conditioner of the automobile.

Freon volume in a car air conditioner

Before charging air-conditioning equipment with your own hands, it would be good to define correctly how much freon volume is in a car conditioner in order to calculate how many cylinders can be bought for charging. You can find the information about charging freon into the air conditioner, as mentioned above, on the hood, where there is a table with the type of refrigerant and its volume in the mechanism.

If for some reasons there is no plate, you can find out what volume is necessary also from auto dealers or read in the instruction manual of your car. It is normal to fill up 600-900 grams of freon for a domestic automobile. But credibility in principle does not play a big role here, because you are refilling the system, not filling a conditioner yourself. They charge a conditioner of a car either at production stage or after repair, while all gas leaves, and if a planned service is ahead, you can only top up a freon up to the normal value, if it begins to function with full capacity. But with such partial refilling of air conditioner equipment of a car, you do not know how much freon is left. That is why one should fill up a conditioner in a car with pressure, which is shown on a pressure gauge. Therefore, when reliable numbers are not known and it is not possible to find out the volume of freon in the air-conditioning equipment of a car, it is necessary to follow the arrow of the device.

Since in conditions of a garage one cannot know a reliable volume of a refrigerant, it is much easier to find out, what volume of freon is necessary for charging of air-conditioning equipment, according to the values shown by a pressure gauge.

Filling up the oil substance when filling up the air conditioner

In the table of volume of freon in automobile conditioner equipment they constantly indicate numbers and charging values of lubricant, but almost nobody knows how to refill it and what for. Some owners of automobiles at filling up a conditioner recommend to add oil substance all the time. But also, when there is much grease, it often leads to pistons’ compressor failure, because the oil substance, penetrating through equipment with the refrigerant in the form of gas, leaves a fouling on nodes. What to do in this case?

Filling the air conditioner of the car with your own hands

In order to fill up the air conditioner in the car near to the house without going to the service, you need to buy tetrafluoroethane R-134a, which motorists call freon. To fill the system with the refrigerant of the passenger car 0,5 kg of freon will be enough.

In order to know precisely what refrigerant is suitable for your car, and also how much freon is required, it is necessary to study the service-book of your car. In addition, this data is on the plate located in the underhood space.

Follow a few simple steps to refill the air conditioner in the car:

  • Pumping out the rests of freon from the system. If you visit auto service for fulfillment of this manipulation, where the modern station of charging of the conditioners is established, the pumping out of the used freon will take place automatically. After that, it will be weighed and the old oil will be removed.
  • Vacuuming of the system. You can not skip this step. Vacuuming is necessary to remove air and moisture from the system. It will take 10-30 minutes to achieve the vacuum of the necessary depth; it all depends on how powerful the equipment is and what class of equipment is used. You can’t evacuate in a couple of minutes.
  • Check system tightness. It is necessary to find the leak if there is one. If the evacuation isn’t done properly, you won’t be able to detect a leak in the leak test. As a result the system will not work properly.
  • Filling up the oil. For functioning of air conditioner in the system it is filled with about 15 g of oil. It is necessary for lubrication of elements of the compressor. Often oil is used with tracer (dyeing agent) so that a leak can be detected immediately.
  • Loading Freon. This step is the last and the easiest to perform. For charging of air conditioner in a car it is required 0,5 kg of a refrigerant, of course, if you have a passenger car.

When all actions will be executed, we start the engine, we switch on air conditioner system, the air blowing is maximal. Let’s bring revolutions of the engine up to 2500-3000 rpm, then let’s see how the air conditioner functions:

  • Pressure in low and high pressure ports should be normal after the air conditioner compressor is on. It is important that the low pressure manometer reads 2 bars and the high pressure manometer reads 15-18 bars.
  • Feel with the palm of your hand the tube of low pressure circuit to determine its temperature. It should not be warm or hot.
  • Make sure that cool air is coming from the deflectors in the interior of the car, and the air conditioner must be turned off from time to time.

If you do not notice any abnormalities, it means that the air conditioner in the car was charged correctly, and you can comfortably drive the car.

Necessary equipment for charging

In order to charge the air conditioner in the car, you need to have equipment such as:

  • Hose with pressure gauge for connecting to main line.
  • Cylinder with freon of proper type.
  • Adapter with stopcock to connect station to the system.

There are also ready-made kits available in auto stores for drivers who want to do the filling.

Instructions for refilling

Regardless of what kind of car you have and what the air conditioning system looks like, a general manual can be used for all cases. Although the systems look and work differently, they have one thing in common: the principle of operation and the device. That’s why you don’t have to look for a manual to service a particular car’s air conditioner. If you have decided to fill up your air conditioner by yourself, try not to deviate from the given recommendations and strictly follow the instructions.

  • Remove any dirt that is on the protective cap and the adjoining part of the low pressure line. Only after that you can open it safely, without fear of debris entering the system.
  • Assemble the equipment and put the hose on the refueling nozzle. If the refrigerant cylinder is supplied with instructions for its use, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Freon comes in different cylinders, so they may differ slightly from each other.
  • When charging car air conditioners, you should start the engine and keep the rpm at 1500. The support of revolutions is necessary for pumping freon through all lines of an air conditioner. Here it is better to use help of one more person, or to fix a pedal in a necessary position so that revolutions do not fall and do not increase.
  • Now it is possible to switch on air recirculation with the help of corresponding buttons or regulators on your conditioner. The equipment is switched on at its maximum values.
  • Open the valve of low pressure line. At the same time the refrigerant bottle itself is turned upside down. Gradually the valve of the bottle is opened. In parallel, the engine continues to run, and the escaping refrigerant begins to fill the system.
  • While freon goes out from a cylinder and penetrates into an air conditioner, it is necessary to follow the indices of a pressure gauge at the same time. Make sure that the value in the low pressure line does not exceed 285 kPa. Optimally it should be at 275 kPa. If you exceed these figures, it will lead to a breakdown of the compressor.
  • To make sure the system is primed correctly look at the window of the filter-drier. If there are no bubbles and you see a clear and transparent fluid, you are doing it right.
  • When there will be cold air in the passenger compartment (its temperature will be from 5 to 8 degrees Celsius) and the hose near the low pressure connector will become as cold as ice, the process can be terminated. Close the bottle, disconnect all contacts.

If you do everything correctly and following the instructions you will not see anything complicated in manually filling up your automobile conditioner. Therefore, refer to the manuals, carefully read the recommendations of freon manufacturers, and do not forget about safety standards. If there are problems, when something does not work and gets out of control, it is better to stop the work and send the car to specialists.

Five advices how and what to fill up a car conditioner and to avoid a breach

In this article we share experience how to prepare a car for summer without getting on a bad freon and not to spoil a climatic system.

Let’s begin with the fact that it would be more correct to call it “refrigerant” what we call “freon”. Refrigerants are special hydrocarbons that change from liquid to gaseous state at temperatures below zero. In the process of evaporation they take heat from what they are in contact with, and turning into a liquid, on the contrary, they heat. The ability of these substances to cool, people have learned how to use in refrigerators, and later in air conditioners, including automobiles.

DIY Service Car AC Easy

Up to the 90s, cars were filled with inexpensive refrigerant R12. But 30 years ago, it was banned from harming the ozone layer. Nowadays, the air conditioning systems of automobiles are filled with R134a, which is less harmful for ozone.

It cools your car a little bit worse than it cools, but, according to manufacturers’ phrases, it is practically non-toxic, if you do not try to set it on fire. Otherwise, the refrigerant turns into poisonous hydrogen fluoride. Today it is the most common freon for cars.

Finally, in 2014, a new generation refrigerant R1234yf began production. Working with it requires an extremely careful attitude to the dosage, and the gas itself is very flammable. This refrigerant is positioned as the most ecological, but it is not very popular.

There are a lot of other refrigerants. But they are intended for charging domestic or industrial air conditioners or refrigerators. And they’re not suitable for injection into automobiles! First of all they lack special compressor oil, necessary for lubrication of air conditioning systems of cars.

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Refrigerant cylinders are differentiated by colors and labeling. Freon for auto air conditioners is usually filled in containers and their shades

Advice If they are going to charge air conditioner in a car, for example, from a pink bottle, close a hood and drive away from such masters without looking back!

The most common refrigerant is R134a. It is exactly what is offered to car owners at the majority of service stations in Kazakhstan, from big to small, or even by the roadsides or in garages. It would seem that if the same gas is charged everywhere, what’s the problem? Pump in and cool down! The smaller and simpler the aesthetics, the cheaper it is? But there are some shady schemes in this area too. And, by charging the air conditioning system with leftovers, you can:

  • In the best case, you will have to re-fill the coolant after a few months;
  • “Load up” on costly repairs or replacement of air conditioner units in the worst case scenario.

How to understand what they are trying to pump into your car?

“We always take Belgian refrigerant. It is of higher quality. Chinese loses its cooling capacity within six months. And the Belgian one has been working quietly for several years”, masters share the details.

But also the service life of Belgian and other European refrigerants greatly depends on the age of a car and the condition of the air conditioning system. Debris builds up inside over time: chips, etc. д. And even installing a new compressor in this case will not solve the problem. the whole system must be cleaned. It is necessary to remove and wash the evaporator, radiator, filter and all the valves. You can tell if there is trash floating around in the tubes when you dump the exhausted refrigerant.

“The gas will be dark, it will be noticeable!”. the craftsmen say.

Before charging with fresh freon check also operability of the compressor. These gauges can tell if the unit is alive or not anymore

Yes, it is forbidden to bleed gas into the environment, but very few people in Kazakhstan observe the ban, because the equipment is expensive! Only large services are able to evacuate freon from air conditioners into a separate container. On the other hand, the old used Freon is not Freon at all. But how such waste gas affects the ozone is unknown.

The marking on the bottle tells you which refrigerant you are going to put in. It necessarily indicates its brand (in our case it is “134a”), plant and

Advice If you find debris in the system, only flushing can help.

“It’s hard to say exactly at what age the cars have problems with the air conditioner. Sometimes, cars come to service and the system does not work any more. This problem is often encountered by owners of Russian-made cars, for instance, LADA. Sometimes the refrigerant doesn’t even have time to work for half a year”, says the service technician, sharing his experience. Usually, when the gas is bled out, you can feel a peculiar smell. And what goes out from the nozzles of Russian cars has no smell. Very often there is not even a drop of oil in them. the system is dry. It turns out that either the freon from the factory is decaying very quickly or there is underfilling, or the cars are filled with unknown things.

By the way, craftsmen call Chinese refrigerants “unknown” as well. They cost half as much as the European ones, and the weight of a typical cylinder is the same. 13.6 kg.

Freon of Chinese production is offered in some small service stations, and also by different craftsmen. People buy the cheapness, but later they end up with a lot of money.

There’s nothing complicated about charging a car air conditioner. It really can be done by yourself if you have the proper equipment and freon. There are a lot of videos in the Network where it is in detail told in what sequence the charge is made, and the basic peculiarities of the process are specified. It is necessary to understand that different automobiles use different systems of air conditioning, therefore the process can slightly differ for different cars. But in general it looks exactly as described above.

Taking into account that it is necessary to refill the freon every year on more or less old cars (and even on some new ones), at the end the owner of the car can save a lot of money, and the equipment bought once will pay for itself many times.

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