Friday, August 3, 2012

Charging 134a Freon On Residential Refrigerators.

Charging 134a freon  on residential  refrigerators.

If you own a refrigerator built after 1995 chances are it uses 134a coolant. Here at On-Time Appliance we use the large 30# cans but this is not piratical for the average person who owns a refrigerator.  I have found though 134a is 134a the only difference is the "Stop Leak" additive they add to the can. I have never tried this so I do not know if it works in refrigerators. It might end up restricting your sealed system. For the bold ones who have tried, leave a comment and I will update this article.
134a is suppose to be the Environmentally friendly coolant. It is more than the older R12 but it is still freon so be careful. Those of us with the E.P. A. License have to recover and be accountable for the freon we recover and use. This is an expense  added to the bill which unfortunately in many cases the owner disposes of the refrigerator (adding to the land fills). With this article I hope to show it is fairly easy to add coolant with out all the extra equipment and still have a reliable refrigerator.

After you  checked all other possibilities  and determined that your refrigerator has a coolant leak ( I say coolant because freon is a brand name like Kleenex is to tissue)

Supco Piercing Valve

You must first Tap the process tube on your compressor. The best way is to solder a valve onto the process tube of the compressor. But they have a non soldier piercing valve that works very well. Simply follow the enclosed instructions. The only tip I would give would be to tighten the screws until they are very firm to prevent leaks.

Enviro-Safe R12/R22 Can Tap with Gauge - R-134a Can to R-12/R-22 Port

Now that you have your compressor taped your ready to check and to recharge your system. Screw the hose onto the piercing valve and and open it. (Follow the enclosed instructions that came with the valve.) Make sure your gauge is turned off. If your not sure which way that is it will become obvious to you when you open the piercing valve. If you here gas escaping just turn the gauge's valve the other way.

Notice the " 0 " Scale on the gauge, to the right is green ( negative or in a vacuum ) to the left is black. Disregard the Blue graphs they are not needed here. We want to see 3-5 lbs. If you are low on freon it will be negative. If the gauge is 10 or above your compressor is defective or you have a restriction in your sealed system. If that is the case you must call a Appliance Repair Company to repair your refrigerator.

OK your gauge shows negative so lets put some coolant in. 

  1. Attach your hose to your can of coolant and pierce the can. Now you need to blow the air from your gauges. If you bought the gauges shown here the small amount air that will enter your system should not pose a problem. If your using longer hoses do not skip this next step.
  2. Close off the piercing valve installed on the compressor and loosen the hose connected to it. Open the can of coolant. Now slightly open the valve on your gauge until you hear gas escaping the loosen hose by the piercing valve, quickly tighten the hose and turn the valve off at your gauge.
  3. Open the piercing valve. Now your ready to recharge your system with 134a. Hold the can upright (most blended coolants need to charge with the can upside down, in its liquid state. This requires a different charging method.) and open the valve on your gauge. Let the coolant flow for about 10 seconds then turn off the valve at the gauge, check you pressure. Remember we are looking for 3-5 lbs. You will have to do this multiple times. Increase or decrease the amount of time you have your gauge valve open to tweak the pressure into place.
 After 10 -15 min check and adjust the pressure if needed. Tighten the piercing valve on the compressor and remove the charging hose.
Lat time I checked the prices to do this job was $34.00 if you buy everything you need from Amazon. You still have a leak in your system so every so often you might need to put a little more coolant in depending on the size of your leak. I have seen refrigerators last several years before another recharge is needed.
If you find the coolant leaks out quickly, check to be sure your piercing valve is good and tight. You might have to use some "Stop Leak". But that's for another Article.
 Leave your questions and comment below. We answer them all. Thanks from On-Time appliance.