AC Refrigerant Leak Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore
There are few things worse than having unwanted heat creep inside your home when you’re trying to enjoy a late summer day with your family.
If you have concerns over your AC not cooling your home the way it should or if you’ve spotted ice forming on your evaporator coil, these symptoms could point to an AC refrigerant leak somewhere in your system.
If your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, it’s important that you act fast. A decrease of refrigerant in your system is not a normal part of the way it should operate.
Unlike the oil you put into your vehicle, a properly running AC will maintain a consistent amount of refrigerant over time. It should not need to be replenished.
Below, we will take a more in-depth look at the symptoms of an AC refrigerant leak as well as examine the causes so that you can get back to feeling comfortable inside your home and save on your electric bills.
Top signs of an AC refrigerant leak
- Strange noises
The coils responsible for circulating your AC refrigerant are susceptible to holes and cracks over time. If this happens, you may start to notice strange noises coming from your unit.
Though hissing or gurgling can be a sign of a wide variety of problems, a refrigerant leak should be at the top of your list.
- Frozen coils
AC evaporator coils will not properly circulate refrigerant or absorb heat if the refrigerant level is not what it should be. The end result is the condensation freezing on the coils, which can result in a leak when it starts to melt or even a more expensive system malfunction, like a broken compressor.
- No cool air from registers
One of the first things you should check when your AC stops blowing cool air is your vents. If the air blowing from them is not as cold as you would expect, chances are good you have a refrigerant leak somewhere in your system.
Below are a few of the major consequences of an undiagnosed refrigerant leak.
- Decreased cooling power
The level of refrigerant in your system plays an extremely vital role in its overall cooling power. Without refrigerant, heat will stay trapped inside your home instead of being released outdoors.
Therefore, if there’s a decrease in your refrigerant level it will take your AC a lot longer to cool your space.
- Increased electric bills
AC refrigerant leaks cause your system to work harder in order to produce results, which can result in you having to visit your thermostat again and again with the hope of getting cooler air by just decreasing the temperature a few degrees.
This obviously uses more electricity than is ideal, which leads to a lot of wasted money when it comes time for you to pay your electric bill.
Repairing an AC refrigerant leak
If your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, simply getting a refill is not the answer. It may be the cheapest solution, sure, but if you want to avoid a more costly repair somewhere down the line then you’ll want to avoid cutting-corners.
If you simply add more refrigerant to your system, it will eventually leak out again. And considering refrigerant gets more expensive every day, continuing to have it refilled time and time again is far from a realistic solution for most budget-friendly homeowners.
It could also lead to a major expensive repair or replacement down the line if the leak itself is not addressed and properly serviced.
You’ll also want to avoid using a sealant as a quick fix for smaller refrigerant leaks. This is a very temporary solution that could very well end up doing even more damage to your system if a blockage occurs, which is extremely common with sealants.
With that said, it’s important that you avoid jumping to conclusions.
Just because your AC isn’t blowing cold air, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have an AC refrigerant leak.
The best way to know for sure is to call a qualified HVAC company, such as Alpha Dog Air, and have them send out a trained professional to take a look at your system and properly diagnose your problem.
It could very well be something as minor and inexpensive as replacing a vent or a clogged filter.
If it is indeed a refrigerant leak, know that they are a common service call.
Alpha Dog Air has the equipment to detect leaks quickly and efficiently, which means less outrageous expenses for you.
If you do indeed have a refrigerant leak, an Alpha Dog Air service technician will assess it to determine whether it’s a small leak or a more serious one.
If all you have is a small refrigerant leak, usually all that is necessary is a minor repair job. If your system needs more serious maintenance, your HVAC service technician will most likely recommend that you replace your entire refrigerant coil.
While this is slightly more expensive, it will end up saving you a lot of money over time considering you won’t be faced with repeat repair costs.
Regardless of whatever repair is needed to get your system back up and running, you’ll be able t rest easy knowing the problem is fixed and that you won’t have to keep paying out the nose in electric costs.
2020 Refrigerant R22 phase-out deadline
If you’re battling an AC refrigerant leak, it’s important that you consider what kind of refrigerant your system uses when it comes time for you to finally repair it.
The main reason for this is that the federal Environmental Protection Agency has officially declared that R22 refrigerant can no longer be made or imported come this year due to the extreme amount of destruction it has had on the Earth’s ozone layer.
It’s because of this R22 phase-out that the price of R22 is spiking every day, and with it, the cost of R22 refrigerant-related repair jobs.
Unfortunately, if you have an air conditioner installed prior to 2010, chances are good that it is cooled with R22 refrigerant. Therefore, you’ll want to very carefully consider whether an expensive repair is worth the investment or if you should just upgrade your AC system entirely.
Give us a call for more information on your options.