How Long Does It Take For Freon To Settle In An Air Conditioner?

Freon is a very important fluid in your air conditioner. Its presence in the compressor enables the air conditioner to suck in cold air. All air conditioners have a compressor. The compressor sucks the cool air, compresses, and directs it to the AC. For this to happen, the freon must settle inside your compressor.

Freon takes 15 to 30 minutes to settle in an air conditioner. But, the minutes for freon to settle in your air conditioner vary with many factors. Some include the type and condition of the AC unit that you use. So, it is a good idea to give the freon in your air conditioning unit the most time to settle.

Why is it Important to Wait for Freon to Settle Before Turning your Air Conditioner On?

The air conditioner compressor needs freon to function while cooling your house. If you move your air conditioner, the freon moves to the sides of the device. This happens if you also turn the air conditioner to one side. Thus, switching on your AC unit too soon may damage the device after moving it.

The compressor will be working with less freon than what is ideal. This means that the compressor will not take in air and compress it before releasing the air to the AC unit. When this happens, your air conditioner will begin straining to cool your home.

Thus, you will begin to experience high temperatures. Also, the air conditioner will begin to overwork. Thus, wait until the freon settles before switching on your air conditioners.

What Happens If you Turn on the Air Conditioner on its Side?

If you turn air conditioners on their side, the refrigerant will settle on the side facing the ground. The refrigerant will then move to the cavities of your air conditioner. When the refrigerant finally settles on the sides of your air conditioners, it begins to seep through.

Refrigerant leakages will interfere with the way your AC unit functions while cooling your premises. You will need to drain all the refrigerant from the cavities to solve this problem. You will then have to drain the freon left on the sides of the air conditioner.

The oil in the system takes a long time to settle than freon. Generally speaking, you will have to wait for even 24 hours for the oil to settle if you turn the device on its side.

When Does the Freon Seep into the Icebox?

The freon in air conditioner units or any refrigeration appliance seeps into the icebox. This happens when it gets stuck on the side of the compressor. The freon gets to other components apart from the icebox inside your air conditioner. As a result, your air conditioner fails to work completely.

If freon seeps into the icebox of your air conditioner, you must remove it for the device to work again. Cleaning the freon from the internal components is a long and tiring process. Besides, you need to drain all the freon from the inner compressor for your device to work again.

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are popular cooling devices. They are used anywhere, including homes, shopping malls, and even offices. Every portable air conditioner contains a refrigerant.

Typically, the refrigerant in a portable air conditioner takes two to three minutes to settle. Unfortunately, this means you have to wait for three minutes every time you switch on your device.

Luckily, modern systems have delay timers. This device automatically delays the time that the air conditioning unit kicks in. Once the freon settles, the air conditioner begins to work.

The AC unit may experience serious damage if the freon does not settle. Permanently installed air conditioners do not need a delay timer. They can be used immediately.

When the refrigerant in your portable air conditioner runs low, you will have to recharge it. Portable air conditioners give certain signs when the refrigerant is running low. Here are some of the most common ones.

  • The air conditioner begins to produce hissing and bubbling noise. The noises are usually loud enough for anyone near it to hear.
  • Warm air begins to blow from the supply vents. This is usually one of the clearest signs that your AC needs a freon recharge. The AC unit emits warm air because of a problem in the cooling process.

Car Air Conditioners

Car air conditioners use a refrigerant that you have to recharge after a few years. If there is a leak somewhere along the refrigerant line, you will have to carry out freon charge regularly. This is because the freon will get depleted much faster than normal. Recharging the freon every few years is an easy process that you can do at your home garage.

There are no long wait times for you to start the car air conditioner, unlike air conditioners. Therefore, you can use the air conditioning system in your car immediately instead of waiting for the refrigerant to settle.

Modern cars no longer use freon as a refrigerant. The government does not allow car air conditioning systems to use freon in the US. However, most vehicles outside the US still use freon. Therefore, car manufacturers nowadays use a refrigerant called R-134. Nevertheless, R-134 does a similar job to freon or any other non-reactive refrigerants.

The Oil in your Air Conditioner

The oil in your AC unit takes a long time to settle. This is why you should ensure the system remains upright. Air conditioner oil settles after about 24 hours. This means that you have to wait for about a day for the oil to settle if you have turned or tilted the air conditioner.

If you have moved your AC unit and decide to start it before the oil settles, you may experience serious problems. This is because the oil would have settled on the sides of the compressor. If you start the air conditioner, the internal compressors will compress the settled oil in the same way it does to gas.

The oil in your air conditioner is not supposed to be compressed. If this happens, the connecting rod will get severely damaged. Therefore, it is important to wait for the oil to settle evenly. This prevents the system’s compressor from damaging the components of your AC unit.

What Other Precautionary Checks Should Be Done Before Using an Air Conditioner?

  1. Remember to tune up your air conditioner after a long winter period. Your air conditioning system may collect dust and other debris during such periods. Therefore, it is important to check every component and ensure that everything works perfectly.
  2. Regularly check and replace the air filters. Air filters trap contaminants that may be in the air. Unfortunately, the air filters get old and dirty after some time. When the filters are dirty, your air conditioning system will develop problems. The air will contain contaminants like dust and pollen. This applies to a permanently installed air conditioner as well as portable ones.

How Long Does It Take For Freon To Settle FAQs

Does Freon Work Immediately?

Freon does not work immediately. How long it does take for freon to settle and start working is usually a few minutes. Air conditioning systems have a delay timer that ensures it does not start working before the freon settles evenly. Thus, you have to wait for a few minutes before the system kicks in.

Do I Need to Let an Air Conditioner Settle?

You do not have to let an ac system settle. Every AC system has a delay timer. The delay timer automatically prevents the air conditioner from operating immediately. This is before the refrigerant is evenly settled. Thus, the delay allows the freon to settle and the unit to function perfectly.

Why does an Air conditioner need to Sit for 24 Hours after you Install or Move it?

An air conditioner needs to sit for 24 hours after you install or move it to allow the oil in the system to settle evenly. For the case of a refrigerant, you have to wait for a few minutes only for the freon to settle in an air conditioner.

How Long does it Take for AC to get Cold after Recharge?

It may take about 15 minutes for your car air conditioner to start getting cold after a recharge. The system will need recharging because the freon usually leaks slowly. If you have allowed the system to recharge for the appropriate time, you wait for just a few minutes.

How Long does it Take for Freon to Work in Car?

It may take up to 30 minutes for freon to work in a car. This is because you need to charge the system while the can is in an upright position. So wait until the sensor sees that the freon is at the predefined minimum amount to work properly.

How Long does Freon Last in the Window Air Conditioner?

Window units have copper lines that keep the freon safe for a long time. Ideally, the freon in your window unit should remain intact forever. However, a leak may occur somewhere along the lines. This will prompt you to recharge the freon in your window units to keep the heat away.

How Long Should an Air Conditioner Sit Before Turning it on?

An air conditioner should sit for about 30 minutes before turning on. This is important to allow the fluids to settle in proper places. Your air conditioning system will malfunction if you turn it on in less than 30 minutes after moving it.


Air conditioners or any other refrigeration appliance need a refrigerant to function properly. How long it takes for freon to settle in an air conditioner varies depending on the type of device.

You may have to wait for a few minutes while using a portable air conditioner. However, you can immediately use the air conditioner for a permanently installed unit.