‘Topping up’ means adding refrigerant to air conditioning systems before checking for, and fixing, any leaks. This is not allowed under the Australian codes of practice for automotive refrigerant systems. ‘Topping up’ is not allowed for any existing system charges.
Topping up can also be an offence, with unlawful discharge of refrigerant leading to penalties of up to $66,600 for an individual or up to $333,000 for corporations. It is also a breach of a condition of holding a permit (licence or authorisation) and penalties of up to $2,200 may apply.
‘Topping up’ is bad for the environment. If you haven’t checked for, and repaired, any leaks you will release refrigerant to the atmosphere.
You also run the risk of mixing refrigerants. If you add refrigerant to an existing system charge before you identify the existing refrigerant, you risk mixing refrigerants. This can weaken the performance of the system, contributing to equipment downtime. There may also be a safety risk.