How Can I Recover Refrigerant Without A Machine

How Can I Recover Refrigerant without A Machine?

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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There are various reasons as to why one would want to recover refrigerant. It doesn't matter whether your system is overcharged, or you if you perhaps on removing it - doing it right is always important. If you don’t have the right skills, you probably don't have the right resources for recovering refrigerant.

Thus, we take a look at the common question, “how can I recover refrigerant without a machine.”

Well, there are various things you can do for this process. You have to enlist the help of a certified technician, and be aware that this process can release harmful gases in the air. So, you have to get a bit technical when it comes to conducting this process. 

Below is the comprehensive how to guide to help you:

The first thing to consider if you want to recover refrigerant for a given HVAC system is to ensure you have the right tools. It may include tools such as manifold gauge, or get a recovery tank.

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Also, ensure that you remove the recovery tanks and place them in vacuum. Or, you could get an inline filter, and place in the input section of your recover tank. If you plan on using the same refrigerant, you won’t have to remove it from the tank.

Then, engage the following key steps:

  • Start by noting the recovery capacity of the given cylinder.
  • Proceed to fasten the lower section of the gauge line from the manifold section of the gauge. You will then have to connect it to the secuton of the fridge or AC system you want to recover.
  • Then, calculate ¾ of the cylinders capacity. A good example would be 30lbs x ¾ = 21.5lbs. Never fill a refrigerant cylinder above the ¾ level.
  • The next step is to faster the low section of the gauge line from the manifold of the refrigerant gauge. Connect it to the suction connection of the AC system that you want to recover.
  • Remove a small amount of refrigerant from each line by using the center line, and then draw it out using the cylinder connection. Doing so, will remove any impurities from gauge manifold, and hoses of the system.
  • The calibrate the cylinder on the scale. Ensure its at zero on the display of the refrigerant scale.
  • Activate the system, and open the valve arrangement sitting between the cylinder and liquid line. Doing this right will start pumping refrigerant into the cylinder compressor section of your given system.
  • Keep track of the pressure gauge and never allow the system to surpass the pressure of the cylinder.
  • Keep track of the suction pressure on the gauge manifold. Never let it drop to 0 psig. If it does get to this level, then you have removed all the refrigerant out of the system using this approach.
  • Detach the refrigerant cylinder. Try to recover any remaining refrigerant using the right equipment.
  • You can speed up the process by placing the recovery cylinder in some ice. Why? It will help reduce the pressure levels in the cylinder.

Why Recover Refrigerant?


The refrigerant found in HVAC systems, fridges and cars can damage the ozone layer, especially as it accumulates over time. Thus, it's important to recover refrigerant using the right techniques, before disposing of any such systems.

The side effects are so notable that the E.P.A recently released the 608 Clean Air Act. Based on this law, only certified technicians and professionals can recover refrigerant. The licencing ensures that technicians can handle refrigerant using the right measures. So, the harmful aspect of the gas won’t get released into the atmosphere. 

Usually, these professionals have to get specific licences to engage in these processes. Refrigerants are crucial in the warmth exchange process that occurs in the environment. The most common ones would be hydrochlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons.

Furthermore, the Environmental Agency has been working on various measures to help control the use of these gases. 

Requirements of Recovering Refrigerants from Machines

Before you can recover the refrigerant, ensure that you use the right techniques, and that you are well informed about the process. Below are a few key suggestions you have to remove the refrigerant right:

  • You first have to determine the type and specific refrigerant amount by checking on the nameplate. Doing so, will help stop any mixing of the refrigerant products, and to make the entire process convenient.
  • Using certified recovery tools, and remove refrigerant from the unit to about 0 psig. Use the right contain to recover the refrigerant, and avoid mixing these products.
  • Store the product based on the specific type, such as  (e.g., R-22, R-134a, R-1234yf, etc.). Get a separate cylinder for this process, which often has a yellow marking on the top section. Use the “junk” type if you still don't have any insight if the refrigerant is of high quality.
  • A few appliances may contain hydrocarbon refrigerant. You may release the refrigerant in well ventilated space, if you can show that you got the appliance from a residence.
  • Share a signed statement to landfill operators or recycling firms that you recovered the refrigerant using the right measures. Include all the useful details of the individual such as the name, address and date.
  • Take the refrigerant to an EPA certified technician, who will purify it for reuse. You can get a few EPA certified reclaimers on this list.
  • Or, you can opt to recover the refrigerant by enlisting the services of an experienced MVAC technician. They should do this, especially if you plan on releasing the equipment for re-use.

What is the Other Suitable Alternative to Recovering Refrigerant?

If you are searching for the right technique for recovering refrigerant, consider calling a service provider. You can easily find a competent technician in your location with a simple search on Google. 

While you can also do this DIY process, there are many hazards and you have to be careful. In this case, you have to get a bit technical with all the steps involved in the process. Furthermore, ensure that you have all the right components before starting this process.

Doing so will help prevent the hazards and issues associated with the product recovery process. Also, it will help ensure that you don’t release any harmful gases into the air negligently.


What is the Fastest Way to Store Refrigerant?

The best way to recover your refrigerant would be to use a recovery cylinder. Consider placing it in ice water or ice, because it will help keep the cylinder cool. Ensuring the cylinder is cool provides fast recovery each time. Ensure that any rapid heat build up will be harmful, especially due to the presence of gases.

Do You Recover Refrigerant from the High or Low Side?

If the compressor in the appliance is damaged, try using the high or low side for the recovery process. Using this method will ensure the best recovery results. Plus, it will also help you boost the recovery process. If the compressor is operable, start it, and then recover refrigerant from the high section.

How Much Refrigerant can a 50 lb Recovery Tank Hold?

First calculate 80% of the amount, and then fill it 2lbs less than the original amount. For instance, a 30 lb cylinder should have about 22.5 lbs of refrigerant. Doing so helps safeguard the system from damage issues. 

How Much Refrigerant Does a Recovery Tank Need?

Technicians have to practice using the right safety measures when using these products. Issues such as overfilling these cylinders can lead to various potential issues. To help stop overfilling, ensure that you never overfull recovery cylinders past the 80% amount.


If you plan on opening an air condition unit, or if it perhaps undergoes overcharging, ensure you use the right disposal steps. Thus, this guide has been about how to recover refrigerant without a machine. 

When you dothis right, you won’t have to invest in a HVAC service provider. Plus, you will have the right solutions to remove refrigerant. With this guide, you should be in the right position to recover this product with excellent results.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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