10 Signs of an AC Refrigerant Leak

There is no question that the air conditioning system is an important part of any home.

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It helps to keep the inside environment refreshing and comfortable. This is especially true during the summer months when heat can creep in from the outdoors. There are situations, though, when it may feel like the air conditioning system is not cooling the place like it once did. If this happens, it may be an indication of a refrigerant leak.

The refrigerant is an essential part of how the air conditioner operates and if issues are present, air conditioning repair may be needed.

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The refrigerant is a chemical blend that helps reduce the temperature inside of a home, as it changes from liquid form to gas form. It is important to note that refrigerant is not consumed when it works to cool the home. Instead, it is converted back to the liquid inside of the condenser unit. Since the regular operation of the AC will not reduce the amount of refrigerant present in the system, it should continue to circulate and maintain the desired temperature.

If there is an issue with the refrigerant, there are a few signs to watch for. Keep reading to learn what these signs of a problem are.

1. Reduced Cooling PowerThe main role of the refrigerant is to absorb heat from the inside of the room and then release it back outside. If there is a leak, the AC will produce much less cold air. When this happens, most people will notice that it takes much more time to reduce the temperature in the space than it did before.

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2. The AC Blows Warm Air

When there are lower levels of the refrigerant present in the AC, there will be a clear difference in the coolness of the air that comes out of the unit. If a person puts their hands in front of the vent and the air feels warmer than usual, the issue is likely a leak.

3. Hissing Sounds

Refrigerant leaks may occur because of cracks or holes that are present in the coils. While the noise may be caused by other issues with the system, a leak is also a possibility. Also, if there are any louder noises, it may mean that there is a more serious refrigerant leak present.

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4. Frozen Coils

If there is a significant reduction in the total amount of refrigerant that is circulating through the coils, it is going to impact the ability they have to absorb heat. It may also cause them to freeze. As condensation starts to build up, then ice will become detectable on the system’s evaporator coil. In some situations, the ice will begin to melt, and water will appear on the floor. Even if the leak has not been caused by the build-up of ice, it is a good idea to handle the issue to avoid the need for more expensive repairs in the future.

5. Sudden Increase in Utility/Energy Costs

If a homeowner notices any of the signs listed here, and they have higher than normal energy costs, it is a sign that there is a refrigerant leak. When less refrigerant is present, the AC system has to work harder to cool the space. Also, a person may be using more electricity by adjusting the thermostat to cool off the air faster. What this means is that the utility bill will provide signs if there are issues with the air conditioner and refrigerant in the system.

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6. Higher Than Normal Humidity Levels

The air conditioner is effective at reducing the humidity levels inside of a home. This helps to reduce the problems related to high humidity, which includes discomfort and the presence and growth of mildew and mold. An AC system that is inefficient and that has a refrigerant leak is going to be unable to balance humidity levels in the home.

7. Water Near the AC Unit

If a homeowner notices there is water around the AC unit, it could be because of low refrigerant. There are potentially other reasons this is happening as well, which is why it is a good idea to call for an inspection. A technician can inspect the unit and determine what the underlying issue is. If the problem is with the refrigerant, they can make the necessary repairs.

8. Weird Sounds

As the refrigerant escapes through a crack or hole, a homeowner will be able to hear this. While it may sound like the hissing noise above, it could also be a bubbling sound. If any strange noises are noticed with the AC unit, the best thing a homeowner can do is to call the professionals for an inspection and repairs.

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9. Frequent Cycling

If an AC unit is unable to get the home or room to the right temperature, it may start to turn off and on more often than it should. This frequent cycling is a tell-tale sign that there is some sort of issue that needs to be addressed.

10. Everyone in the House is Uncomfortable

If everyone in the house just finds the temperature more uncomfortable than usual, it could be an issue with the refrigerant. Again, the only way to know for the user if this is the case is by having a professional come to the home and provide a full inspection and evaluation for the unit. They will be able to get to the bottom of the issue.

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Don’t Wait to Call for AC Repair and Service

When it comes to AC issues, it is essential that a person takes action in a timely manner. This is going to help ensure that the AC issue can be addressed and that no other issues occur. Keep in mind, if there is a refrigerant problem, it is necessary to call the professionals as they are going to be able to get to the bottom of the issue and ensure that the proper repairs are made, regardless of what may be needed. Being informed is the best way to reduce the likelihood of serious AC issues.

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