Identifying and Dealing With AC Refrigerant Leaks

Identifying and Dealing With AC Refrigerant Leaks

One of the most important components in your air conditioning system is the refrigerant, a liquid or gaseous compound that absorbs heat from its environment. Often referred to as “Freon” (which is actually a brand name), AC refrigerant is vital in keeping your home cool, which is why you should be on the lookout for potential leaks. If your air conditioner isn’t performing like it used to, here are a few signs that you have a refrigerant leak on your hands.

Symptoms of an AC Refrigerant Leak

  • Poor Cooling Performance - This is the most obvious, common-sense thing to look for. If your AC unit isn’t optimally cooling, you’ll probably be able to feel a significant difference around the house. Put a hand up to any of the vents in your home and get a feel for what’s coming out.
  • Interior Humidity - Your air conditioner also dehumidifies air as it’s cooling your home. Rising indoor humidity may be a sign that you’re leaking AC refrigerant.
  • Higher Energy Bills - When your AC unit starts leaking refrigerant, it essentially works overtime as it tries to cool your home. Longer cooling cycles at subpar efficiency will result in a spike in your utility bills, so look at your recent billing statements for any unusual activity.
  • Ice on Evaporator Coils - Along with the condenser coils and refrigerant line sets, the evaporator coils of your AC unit are the most common site for a refrigerant leak. Small components of the coils tend to vibrate and rub together, causing small leaks that can ice over, even in the summer heat.
  • Strange Sounds - Be aware of any bubbling, hissing, or gurgling sounds coming from your air conditioner. These are often telltale signs that AC refrigerant is leaking.

What’s Next?

Before you call for repairs, try and be as sure as possible that your problem is actually a refrigerant leak. Do what you can to rule out simpler fixes - after all, something as easy as replacing dirty air filters can have a noticeable impact on AC performance. You may also want to perform what’s known as a “bubble test.” Carefully place some soap solution on areas that you suspect may be leaking, and watch for bubbles caused by escaping refrigerant. This is a good DIY method of diagnosing an AC refrigerant problem, but bear in mind that it will be less effective with very small leaks and windy, outdoor areas.If you do call for professional AC repair, it might be tempting to just ask for a refrigerant refill. However, this simply amounts to cutting corners, and it won’t help in the long run. The new AC refrigerant will eventually leak out, leaving you right back where you started. Plus, if a leak goes unfixed for long enough, it may end up getting worse, resulting in even more costly repairs. Once you’ve correctly identified a refrigerant leak, your best bet is to call for professional repair before the issues escalate. At Stan’s AC, we’re experienced in dealing with leaks, and we take pride in our quick and effective service. Get in touch with us today and see what we can do for you!

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