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Question DetailsAsked on 6/26/2016

Can I put car freon (the can) in my central home unit?

We just had someone last summer come out and put freon air runs..outside fan blows..the hit and cold copper tubes connected to ??( one gets hot and one gets cold) well hot gets hot but cold doesn't.. Any ideas on what problem could be? Getting hot in Alabama

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4 Answers


NO - car gas is probably R-12 or R-134, not R-22 or R-410a - different gases, different lubricants in the gas, plus how would you control the pressure you put in the system ? Plus as I recallthe connections are intentionally different to prevent this. Plus illegal for you to do this even if it would work.

The copper tubes are the evaporator coil (the ones in the central air ducting, right ?). The warmer tube is the incoming high-pressure line, the return tube (cold one usually) takes the expanded low-pressure gas back to the dryer and compressor to be re-compressed. If the evaporator coil is not getting cold and the compressor is running could be any number of things - bad control (TXV) valve, failed condensor/consensor fan (the big coil and fan outside that cools the compressed air before it goes to the evaporator), or a leak causing low pressure - this is the most common cause probably.

If someone came out and recharged the system last summer, assuming a significant amount of gas was needed (more than a pound or two), and he did not search for and fix a leak (unless this system had run a lot of years without any recharge, because small amounts do commonly leak off) he did not do you any favors - just throwing money away on recharging a system with any substantial leak. Should have run a pressure test and leak detection tracing if a significant amount of gas had leaked off.

Find a well-rated and reviewed Heating and A/C contractor (your Search the List category) who will test your system for a leak and fix it BEFORE refilling your system, or you will be wasting hundreds of $ in gas refill/recharging fees for maybe a year or less of additional service from the unit. Plus when the gas pressure drops off, because the gas carries the lubricating oil with it, low pressure can mean premature compressor wear or total premature failure - for a thousand or two replacement cost, or with an older unit commonly total unit replacement in lieu of dumping good money into an aged-out unit (say if over about 15-20 years old depending on brand quality).

(More previous questions on the economics of repair versus replace in the Home > HVAC link in Browse Projects, at lower left.)

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


Last summer it was obvious.. We saw the ice froze over. This time no ice..the system is less than 15 yes old.and up until last summer never had any problems with it.

Answered 3 years ago by KristyCheat78


Also I remember the day it quit... It was really cold in house about 5ish..a.m. So I bumped thermostat up..hasnt worked since

Answered 3 years ago by KristyCheat78


if you have an evaporator coil leak, it is common for it to freeze up quite well iced over - because the rapid expansion of the gas as it escapes from the evaporator causes supercooling of the evaporator below its normal operating temperature - same as a spray can of paint or deodorant or whipped cream or whatever can form frost on the outside if it is rapidly discharged. Can also cause excessive cooling of the house at that time as the fanblows over the ice, which is colder than the normal surface temp at the evaporator. Of course, if that happens it has to be quite rapid loss of the refrigerant gas to do that, and the system willnot cool noticeably after that - and would be noticeable onluy for maybe an hour or two as it is losing gas and immediately afterwards, because as soon as the gas is all gone the ice would melt off in fairly quick order - hours at most.

Note - you should shut off the power to the A/C unit, because if it has lost fluid or is for other reasons running at the wrong pressure it can damage the compressor and make the unit uneconomic to fix for sure.

I would find a reliable, good-reputation Heating and A/C contractor to investigate, initially check if it is due to loss of refirgerant, then find the leak BEFORE refilling the system with the expensive refrigerant. Commonly the leak detection is done with nitrogen gas - cheap, easy to use for large leaks - or using a liquid dye additive to detect smaller leaks. For small, slow leaks it is commonly recharged with refrigerant and a handheld gas leak detector that detects the gas is used, or a dye is added.

NOte if the leak is in the evaporator they generally cannot be fixed - replacement commonly $1000+ for units out of warranty, so you commonly get into the decision whether to repair or replace even if a new replacement evaporator is available.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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