There are a lot of air conditioning problems that the average homeowner might chalk up as “minor,” especially if it’s not really impacting their AC performance that much at the moment. A refrigerant leak is one of those problems. Unfortunately, this is more of a problem than people realize, and we’ll touch on why, below.
The thing is, refrigerant is the component in your air conditioner that makes the cooling process possible.
If you have any reason to believe that your air conditioner is experiencing a refrigerant leak, then you should call us for repairs right away. The longer you wait to have this fixed, the bigger risk there is of serious damage happening to the AC system. The component that will be most affected is the compressor, which is the heart of your cooling system.
But, how do you know if you have a refrigerant leak, and is it really that big of a deal? Read on for your answers.
You Might Have a Refrigerant Leak If…
If refrigerant is exiting your air conditioner, then that air conditioner is going to struggle to function as it should. You may have a refrigerant leak if you notice any of the following indicators. It’s important to keep in mind that the signs we’re about to share can be signs of many different AC problems. Whatever the cause of your AC repair, it’s important to talk to an experienced HVAC pro ASAP.
- The air coming from the vents isn’t as cool as it should be. Do take note of whether it’s that the air isn’t chilly enough or if the airflow is down. Low airflow can be caused by something as simple as a clogged air filter, which can be easily remedied by changing or cleaning the air filter. You should be doing this every 1-3 months, depending on the type of air filter it is and the level of contaminants in your home.
- The system is short-cycling. This means it’s turning on and off rapidly, instead of going through its regular cooling cycles. If this problem occurs right from the beginning after your AC installation, it, unfortunately, means your air conditioner wasn’t properly sized. However, if this isn’t the case then it can definitely be due to a refrigerant leak.
- Your energy bills have risen for no clear reason. It’s a good idea to look at your energy bills every once in a while. Compare them to what you paid this same time last year, and if you can compare them to what your neighbors are paying for similar use. If your bills are a lot higher than they should be, it’s a sign that something is causing your air conditioner to work inefficiently, and a refrigerant leak can certainly be to blame.
- You hear a hissing or bubbling sound coming from the system. Depending on whether the refrigerant is in gas mode or liquid mode at the time, you’ll hear one of these two noises if there’s a leak.
The Refrigerant Myth
There’s a common misconception that an air conditioner is supposed to lose refrigerant over time. But no, your cooling system is supplied with enough refrigerant upon manufacturing to ideally last the system’s entire 10-15 year lifespan. So if your system is losing any, it mean there is a leak, and it needs to be located and repaired ASAP.