There are a number of potential problems that your air conditioner can encounter throughout its lifespan, due to nothing more than natural wear and tear. One of these problems that could really put a damper on your comfort is refrigerant leaks.
A damaged and leaking refrigerant line is going to lead to refrigerant loss which will not only mean your air conditioner won’t be able to properly cool your home, but it can damage the compressor, too.
Read on as we uncover just how serious of a problem a refrigerant leak is, and how you can figure out you may be dealing with one.
Everything You Should Know About Refrigerant Leaks
Understanding why refrigerant leaks happen and how you can tell when you have one is important as it can help you determine when it’s time to call in an HVAC professional.
Refrigerant leaks can happen with just about any air conditioner, particularly those that are aging (10-15 years). Maintenance will allow our technicians to inspect, clean, and adjust your air conditioner, but even with maintenance, wear and tear can take its toll.
The Problems with a Refrigerant Leak
Refrigerant is the essential component of the operation of your air conditioner. When your AC system springs a leak, you’ll notice the following issues:
Poor Cooling: With less refrigerant in the system, your evaporator coil can’t absorb all the heat your system is drawing in from your home, and therefore, you won’t get as much chilled air returned to your home.
Increased Energy Use: Refrigerant loss forces your air conditioner to run longer, essentially “working harder,” in order to cool your home, which is really inefficient as it draws more power than it should have to in order to do its job and reach the desired temperature on your thermostat.
Ice Development on the Evaporator Coil: The job of the evaporator coil is to absorb the heat from inside your living space. It simply can’t do this without the refrigerant inside the evaporator coil, which is in its coldest state at this point in the cooling process. As a result, the evaporator coil will actually become too cold and ice will form, ironically making it even harder for it to absorb heat!
Premature System Replacement: If a refrigerant leak isn’t located, repaired, and the refrigerant refilled (recharged), then the compressor has to work a lot harder to do its job, and will wear down faster as a result. The compressor is the most expensive part of your air conditioner, and when it fails, it almost always means that your air conditioner needs to be replaced.
If you notice a lack of cooling power, see ice developing on your evaporator coil, the system just isn’t working as efficiently as you think it should, or you hear a hissing/bubbling noise coming from the unit that you’ve never heard before, it’s time to give us a call!
This is the best thing you can do whether you suspect a refrigerant leak or any other problem with your air conditioner. The sooner you have the problem addressed, the greater chance there is of getting it repaired quickly.