Can You Replace Your HVAC System’s Refrigerant Yourself?

Refrigerant, the coolant that helps your HVAC system turn hot air cold, rarely needs replacing. However, if you start to notice your system is continually running without making your home any cooler or have seen excessive condensation or ice build up on your unit, you may have a refrigerant leak that needs fixing.

With so many home projects appealing to the DIY enthusiast, you may wonder if replacing your HVAC system’s refrigerant is a task you can tackle on your own. But is it?

Can You DIY a Refrigerant Repair?

In short: no. While there are many things a savvy homeowner can DIY on their HVAC equipment, tampering with the refrigerant isn’t one of them. There are three main reasons:

  • First, refrigerants are heavily regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and a license is required to purchase and possess refrigerants.
  • Second, adding refrigerant incorrectly can destroy your HVAC’s compressor—a far more expensive repair than a refrigerant leak. Someone without HVAC-specific training is unlikely to know when to add gas or liquid, how to add it, and what to do to ensure the unit is functioning smoothly again.
  • Finally, refrigerant can be very dangerous—these closed-circuit systems operate at high pressure, and refrigerant may cause serious freeze burns.

What’s more, even if a homeowner is somehow able to access refrigerant and recharge their system without harming themselves, they’re unlikely to be able to add the correct amount of refrigerant. This isn’t something you can Google—each system has its own specifications and quirks. An incorrect charge will cause additional wear and tear on your HVAC system over time as it struggles to work to maximum efficiency. 


The refrigerant replacement process is a complicated one that requires a licensed HVAC professional. If you have an A/C unit that is freezing, not cooling enough, or otherwise acting up, save yourself from higher repair bills—and possibly even medical bills– and give North East Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing a call at (210) 658-0111. Our HVAC professionals have extensive experience in recharging HVAC units and can get to the bottom of your A/C issues.

Photo by Recha Oktaviani on Unsplash


Call: 210-658-0111