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Old 06-02-2010, 06:48 AM   #1
diogenes
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Default Can a homeowner recharge a window AC unit?

Honest, I did search for a post about this with no luck. So here is my question:

I've got a window unit that isn't all that old and which is not performing like it used to. I've added coolant to an automotive AC system before, but I've never even pulled the case off a window AC unit to see what is in there for connections, etc.

Can a DIYer recharge a window unit economically? If so, what would I need to have to do it?
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:05 AM   #2
FANTASY FACTORY
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Default Re: Can a homeowner recharge a window AC unit?

A typical window unit does NOT have service valves, you will have to istall a pinch valve.
and be very judicious with the can. window units are very sensitive to critical charge.
Not impossible, but impractical.

PS, make sure the cond, and evap are CLEAN and the cap bulb is in contact with evap coil,

Last edited by FANTASY FACTORY; 06-02-2010 at 08:11 AM. Reason: spell check
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: Can a homeowner recharge a window AC unit?

Yeah most window units are sealed, so if it's low on charge, then it's got a leak and refilling it would be a waste of time.

It's more likely just dirty or something else is wrong. check how clean the coils are - you can clean them with a vacuum cleaner or a hose if you're careful about not getting the electronics wet. Sometimes the compressors overheat and shut down, and sometimes the thermal switches on them go bad.

You are not supposed to work on AC units unless you are licensed, and have the proper equipment. Of course getting an EPA 608 license isn't all that hard.
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Old 06-02-2010, 09:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: Can a homeowner recharge a window AC unit?

X3 - not really economical. They are basically use and toss units. The problem now is that you can't toss the damn things, they have to be evac'ed and tagged and such or the scrap yards won't touch 'em.
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Can a homeowner recharge a window AC unit?

Thanks for the replies, guys. I'll pull it out and see what I can find along the cleaning lines. If I can't get it running better, I'll have to see if I can't get a new one on sale somewhere.
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Old 06-02-2010, 04:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Can a homeowner recharge a window AC unit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Falcon67 View Post
X3 - not really economical. They are basically use and toss units. The problem now is that you can't toss the damn things, they have to be evac'ed and tagged and such or the scrap yards won't touch 'em.
I agree. They aren't worth fixing. If the unit has leaked some freon, putting in more just buys you a very short time and it will be low again. New 5k btu window units are available under $100. New 10K units are available under $200. How much messing around is it worth to you?
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Can a homeowner recharge a window AC unit?

Double Post.

Last edited by lsrx101; 06-02-2010 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: Can a homeowner recharge a window AC unit?

Like others have said, if the refrigerant has leaked, toss it. Most often, though, the coils are dirty causing poor heat transfer and poor performance. If the compressor runs and you can hear it load down in the first few seconds of running, that is the likely problem.
I usually just remove the cover, or pull the unit from the case, and blast coils with a garden hose then blow it dry with compressed air. I then let it sit for a day or so to dry the electrical. If it is an electronically controlled unit, you obviously need to prevent soaking the electronics, but water generally won't hurt them as long as you let it dry thoroughly.

If you do have to replace it, be very wary of the cheap units. They cool ok but the build quality is horrible! I just bought a ~$90, 5K BTU unit for my GF from Wally World and was absolutely appalled. (Haier brand) I don't see it lasting more than a season or two. The lowest priced 7-10K BTU units are just as bad.
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Can a homeowner recharge a window AC unit?

Our 12K window unit got to where it was running but wasn't cooling much. Took the cover off it & the back was coated with bugs, cottonwood, dust, etc. Cleaned that by spraying it off & removed handfulls of bugs & gunk & it started cooling again. You can also get a can of coil clean at hardware stores & try that. All the crud was on the inside of the coils. What I did after that was to put 2 layers of window screen around the outside which did a good job of keeping stuff out but needs to be cleaned occasionally.
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