Does Your AC Have a Refrigerant Leak?

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021
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Your air conditioner won’t always be in great condition. One of the problems your HVAC in Stephenville, TX could experience is a refrigerant leak. Although your AC might work for a while with low refrigerant, it won’t last for long. Eventually, your system will fail you and you will be in need of a costly repair. Learn how to tell when you have a refrigerant leak and what you should do about the issue.

What is Refrigerant?

Every air conditioner has several components, all of which work together to make your home cool. While every part of your AC matters, your refrigerant is one of the most essential parts. It travels through coils and converts from a gas to liquid.

As the refrigerant moves through your system, it releases heat to the atmosphere. This is the way in which your AC takes warm air from your home and returns it as cool air. When your air conditioner doesn’t have enough refrigerant, it can’t release enough heat and cool your home.

In a perfect world, refrigerant would never run low. The system is a closed-loop, so no refrigerant gets wasted. However, a leak in the refrigerant line can happen at any time. When this occurs, the refrigerant leaks out and depletes the supply. Even a slow leak can cause trouble.

Why Leaks Happen

If someone intentionally or accidentally punctures a refrigerant line, you will have a refrigerant leak. But there is another reason you might experience a leak – wear and tear.

The refrigerant lines are always under high pressure. Over time, those lines have the potential to degrade. If there’s enough wear and tear in the line, a leak forms, and refrigerant escapes. No matter how well you maintain your system, there’s a chance of a leak. Although a patch job might stop the leak, some leaks require a more costly solution.

In any case, refrigerant is a harmful substance. You shouldn’t attempt to handle a repair on your own, and you need a special certification to deal with refrigerant. If you want to know why you have a leak, you should consult with an HVAC technician.

Signs You Have a Refrigerant Leak

If you receive ongoing AC maintenance, your HVAC technician should notice a refrigerant leak. But there are other ways in which you can catch the issue even sooner. If you notice any of these issues, you could have a leak.

Inadequate Cooling 

Did your system all of a sudden stop keeping your home cool? If it doesn’t work the way it used to, your AC could have a leak. Although there are other possible explanations for the change, low refrigerant is a likely culprit.

High Humidity 

Just as an AC with low refrigerant can’t cool your home, it can’t dehumidify your home. When an AC has adequate refrigerant, it pulls moisture out of the air. Therefore, low refrigerant can result in too much moisture in your air. This in itself is a problem because the humidity makes your home uncomfortable and could result in mildew growth.

Long Cycles 

You might notice your AC seems to run much longer than it once did. If so, low refrigerant could explain the problem. Because there’s not enough refrigerant to release hot air, your AC won’t be able to keep up with your cooling needs. It needs to work longer and harder to cool your home. Unfortunately, these extended cycles are bad news for your air conditioner. You can guarantee you will need air conditioning repair before too much time passes by.

High Utility Bills

During certain months of the year, you probably expect high utility bills. But what happens when you don’t have an explanation for your high bills? If you haven’t had an extra house guest or extreme weather, you should consider the possibility of a refrigerant leak. Your AC accounts for a significant portion of your utility bills. When your system doesn’t have enough refrigerant, the energy pull is even greater than usual. Pay close attention to your utility bills and be willing to call an HVAC technician if you notice a spike in your bills.

Ice on the Coils

One of the most obvious signs of a refrigerant leak is ice on your evaporator coil. While there are other causes of ice on the coils, low refrigerant is by far the most common. Without enough refrigerant in the lines, your coils become too cold. You can visibly see the ice on the coils. When there’s no other explanation for the ice, you should be wary of a refrigerant leak.

Hissing Near the Outdoor Unit

Unless you have a snake hiding in the grass, a hissing sound near your exterior AC unit is a sign of a leak. The escaping gas from your refrigerant lines makes a noise, and that noise could be a bubbling or hissing. If you can hear the noise, you have a serious leak. Time is of the essence, and you should call for help right away.

What To Do About Refrigerant Leaks

Because a refrigerant leak causes so much trouble for your AC, it’s better to prevent a leak than it is to fix one. You can limit your chances of springing a leak by having annual maintenance on your air conditioner. With a maintenance plan, you keep your equipment in the best shape.

Of course, you could still experience a leak. If you notice any of the signs above or have other reasons to suspect a leak, don’t hesitate to call for help. You need a professional to inspect your AC and find the leak. Once they identify the problem area, the technician can repair it.

Call Us About Your HVAC in Stephenville, TX

When you have trouble with your AC, give us a call at Daffan Cooling and Heating. We are always ready to help you with your air conditioner. To find out more about how we can repair refrigerant leaks, call us today.

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