A/C refrigerant leaks are a common issue that is not easily determined. It is often the culprit behind your cooling system’s inefficiency and the discomfort you feel in your home. It also poses some health issues that can be harmful if the leak is not fixed promptly. Therefore, it is a must for homeowners to learn all that they can about refrigerant leaks. This includes what causes an AC refrigerant leak and the signs and symptoms of your unit’s performance.
How Do I Know If My Air Conditioner Has A Refrigerant Leak?
- 1 How Do I Know If My Air Conditioner Has A Refrigerant Leak?
- 2 Call PFO Heating & Air Conditioning For Your Air Conditioning Requirements
This article includes all you need to know about air conditioner refrigerants. We discuss the common causes of coolant leakages and what you can do if you find that your air conditioning unit is leaking refrigerant.
What Does An Air Conditioner Refrigerant Do?
AC refrigerant is a compound that is in a liquid or gaseous state. Air conditioners have refrigerants like R-22 that the compressor forces throughout the system. This part compresses the refrigerant as it gets sucked in, so its molecules are confined in a smaller space. As a result, the molecules collide with one another, generating heat in the process. The refrigerant then flows through the condenser, where the heat is removed with the help of fans. It condenses into liquid as it cools down, passing through the evaporator where its temperature drops even further. The air cools as it passes through the evaporator coils, and this cold air is then released into your home.
Therefore, the refrigerant is an essential component in ensuring you have a cool and comfortable home. If you are running low on refrigerant or it is leaking, your AC would not be able to cool a room as effectively as before.
Reasons Behind The Air Conditioner Refrigerant Leak
Some of the culprits that cause your air conditioning system to leak refrigerant are:
- Air Conditioner Corrosion: Your air conditioner consists of metal parts like copper tube walls. Unfortunately, rust builds on them over time, and this will lead to corrosion. When the metal weakens, it can develop cracks and holes where refrigerant can leak through.
- Weakened Air Conditioner Joints And Connections: The joints and connections in your air conditioner erode or thin out over time. These aging components tend to cause refrigerant leaks.
- Improper Air Conditioner Installation: An improperly installed air conditioner means that some parts might not fit properly as well. Therefore, they will have leaks.
- AC Factory Defects: A cooling unit with manufacturer defects can be why it has a refrigerant leak. The defect could be due to incorrect assembly or improper handling.
- Air Conditioner Wear And Tear: Regular use and age will eventually result in coolant leakages. Some of the components are covered with rubber seals that wear out over time, allowing refrigerant to leak.
Signs To Look For When Your Air Conditioner Has A Refrigerant Leak
Signs that point to a refrigerant leak on your air conditioning system:
- Higher Electric Costs: Your AC works harder to reach the set temperature when there is a refrigerant leak. Since it does not work as efficiently, you will have higher electricity costs.
- AC Takes A Long Time To Cool Your Home: A coolant leak causes a significant reduction in your air conditioner’s cooling power. Therefore, you will feel uneven heating and other discomforts even after you switch on your AC.
- Increased Humidity Levels: High humidity means you might have low refrigerant levels. This is because your air conditioner cannot effectively remove the moisture in the air as it did before.
- Frozen Evaporator Coil: The coil cannot absorb heat effectively if the refrigerant level is running low. The water that will build around the coils will freeze, and you’ll end up with a frozen evaporator coil.
- AC Leak: The ice around the evaporator coil will eventually melt. It will trickle down your air conditioner and into the floor or walls. This might end up causing system and structural damage.
- Hissing Noises: When you hear a hissing sound from your AC, it is probably because there are holes or cracks in the coils that circulate the refrigerant around your AC. If the leak is larger, it will cause a gurgling sound instead.
- Low Airflow: Low coolant levels in your air conditioner means it cannot emit the right amount of cold air to keep your home comfortable.
Dangers Of Air Conditioner Refrigerant Leaks
Refrigerant leaks can cause a myriad of problems to both humans and pets. It can pose dangers to your health, and you’ll experience various symptoms, including shortness of breath, poor concentration, coordination loss, skin rashes, and dizziness. Direct contact with the coolant can also lead to a chemical burn or frostbite. On the other hand, inhaling high amounts of refrigerant can cause seizures and fainting. In the worst cases, it can lead to death.
Should I Repair Or Replace My Air Conditioner?
Never attempt to conduct a DIY repair or replacement on your air conditioner. A professional HVAC technician must always handle a refrigerant leak. Otherwise, you risk making the problem even worse if you are not trained and experienced in doing proper repairs in your cooling unit. You might also end up voiding the warranty of your AC. It is always recommended that you call an expert.
The coolant that most older air conditioners use is the R-22 compound. However, this type of refrigerant has been phased out since the beginning of the year 2020. This means it is no longer in production. Any R-22 compound available in the market comes in limited quantities and is sold at very high prices. If you have an older unit that still uses R-22 and is no longer working at optimal efficiency, consider replacing your AC instead of getting it repaired. This might be the more practical solution for your home. Check to see if the cost of repairing your old and leaky unit costs half as much as half the price of a new, ENERGY STAR® certified AC. A new air conditioner that boasts a high SEER rating offers better performance, high home comfort, and increased efficiency.
A highly efficient air conditioner replacement might be the best solution for your refrigerant leak problems. Although simple issues are easily repaired, some damages need to have a more concrete fix to stop all damages and defects. Consult your local, trusted HVAC contractor to determine the best options you have to ensure optimal home comfort and safety again.
Call PFO Heating & Air Conditioning For Your Air Conditioning Requirements
Do not hesitate to call PFO Heating & Air Conditioning for all your heating and cooling service needs in Greater Princeton, NJ area. We have the best professionally certified technicians. Some of the heating and cooling services we offer include air conditioner repairs, heat pump installations, boiler replacements, and furnace maintenance. All our friendly techs are equipped with the right tools, knowledge, and experience to service your HVAC system correctly.
Our company offers the most competitive HVAC service prices in the area. We can improve your home comfort and energy efficiency while reducing your utility bills with our maintenance services. We can also provide you with the best HVAC repair and replacement solutions that are within your budget. All our work is backed with a guarantee because we value your satisfaction. Schedule your next service appointment by calling PFO Heating & Air Conditioning today and receive a free, in-home estimate.