How to Replace Freon in a Leaking Cooling Unit

This post is a transcription of a video where M&M Cellar Systems cooling expert, Mario Morales, explains how he replaced Freon in a leaking wine cellar cooling system in Irvine, California.

Replacing Freon After Sealing a Leak in a Cooling Unit

Okay. So, what we’re going to be doing now that we’re back here by the condensing unit of the equipment. We’re going to be adding the refrigerant that we earlier recovered from the system, and we’re going to put it back into the system. Again, this is a clean cylinder. I use a clean cylinder. Whenever you remove a refrigerant from the equipment, make sure you don’t mix the refrigerant or when you remove the Freon from a burned out condensing or compressing, because that would add also contaminants into the system. We don’t want to do that. We want to make sure that the tank we use is only for clean refrigerant so that when we recover, we’re able to reuse it again.


I will go ahead and open this valve up again. We’ll bleed the holes off a little bit. There goes our refrigerant. What we’re going to be doing is we’re going to be injecting it into the system. And there I heard the pressure switch click back on. And what I’m doing is I’m looking at my pressures, my gauges. At the same time there’s a cyclize on this condensing unit. Cyclize is basically what lets us view the flow refrigerant inside and also the level. We always want to charge up the equipment to a full cyclize. That’s what we like to see. Okay so now that we’ve given it some time to run, my Freon level is staying good. My pressure’s good. I’m going to remove the gauges. And we’re going to be adding the stop leak which comes in a can.

Sealing the Freon Leak

So will you use the whole can?

Yes, we will use the whole can. So we’veused this before and it’s worked pretty well. Right now, what we’re doing is we’re clearing the Freon that I have in the gauges and the hoses so that I get as little as possible refrigerant when I open up the gauges.

Leaking, you mean? As little as possible leaking?

Yes. You know, less possibilities of clearing more of the Freon into the atmosphere.

Yeah. You do not want to be personally responsible for the heating the planet.

Right. If there’s something I can do, I will do that. And this is my part of that.

Most guys won’t do that. They just close all the valves because this is actually okay with the law. This is what we call minimal venting. It’s whatever’s trapped in the lines, there’s nothing we can do with that. But before that, we’ve also… the gauges that we use or the hoses that we use on our gauges have ports that as soon as you disconnect it from the system, it doesn’t leak out. It stays in the line. Low lost fittings is what we call them.

See. So nothing comes out.

So now we’re going to take our can of stop leak. Comes with these holes here. These access holes towards the system.

You got to make sure you get the right hose. You have to make sure your assistant gets you the right hose.

Yes. I’m not going to screw all the way down right now because we want to get some Freon going through first. And then seal the holes connection here in the can. So that we get Freon here in the can and no air is in the hose. It won’t go into the system.

This is connected on the lower side of the system. This section. Service point. I got Freon. Now I tighten up my can on here under the connection on the hole. This is like a piercing valve that’s going to pierce through the can and open up to the flow of the substance to seal the system. So we go in. When applying this, you hold the can upside down so that the content inside is just absorbed into the system. And I open up this valve.

Is that it? Is it gone that quick?

It’s really quick. Now it’s going into the system.

How long are going to leave it?

It’ll be a few seconds. It won’t be that long. Maybe 20 to 30 seconds. It goes pretty quick. Right now it’s empty. So now, we close this. The reason why we close the valve back up is in case there’s very little gas in there we don’t leak them out right now.

And that’s it. That’s now in the system. This is the can. It’s now an empty can. We will put our calves back into the system or let it run that way. And follow up within a month.

Common Mistakes People Commit with their Cellar Cooling Unit

What’s your perception of what’s the most common mistake that people make when they put in the cooling system that you see in a wine cellar?

For one, not hiring the right person to do it – the professional to do it.

Who do they get to do it then?

Well, for the most part, whenever I run into customers that have or have had ongoing problems with their equipment, whether it’s not getting down to temperature, or it’s just not working or performing right – not cooling correctly. It’s always been issues where an air conditioning guy over a refrigeration person installed it. For the most part, when a refrigeration person installs it, they’re good, and they have more of a background of the equipment that was installed.

So what kinds of mistake does a cooling guy make? What can they do wrong?

Sizing it. Sizing the equipment.


That’s one of the number one things. Not getting maybe sometimes the right feedback from the builder or the person building the wine cellar. So all these installation, R values, the lighting, how much heat load is it going to have to be able to keep up with the demand of the heat. The system is unable to keep up with that demand, we are going to have problems with temperature. One.

Secondly, I think it’s more of the equipment. A lot of the air conditioning contractors will install the equipment, but when it comes to troubleshooting, because they’re not familiar with the components, they lack that knowledge. They won’t be able to troubleshoot it properly. It ends up costing the customer more than it should. When a refrigeration person does it, because we’re very familiar with the equipment. It’s very close to walk-in refrigerators and freezers as far as equipment goes. Components are alike as well. They‘re not going to have problems diagnosing and sizing it accordingly.

You can also watch the full video here:

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