If you have not had to recharge your air conditioning refrigerant lately, congratulations, your system is working as it should. Unlike other fuel sources, the chemical compounds that make up refrigerant function on a closed-loop system, so they recharge automatically without you having to do anything. However, there are a few times when you have to recharge your home’s AC refrigerant.
The first scenario in which you need new refrigerant is that you’ve decided to replace your entire system, including the refrigerant that comes with it. The second is that you are converting your current air conditioner to a non-Freon-based system, due to the current phaseout of R-22 (the technical name for Freon) that is happening in the United States. The third, and most serious, is that your AC unit has experienced a leak and you need to hire a technician to repair it. Keep reading to learn more about refrigerant leaks, and remember that when it comes to all of your heating and cooling needs, you can count on our expert HVAC techs at Roby Services.
5 Signs You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak
- Lack of Cool Airflow: There are a ton of different scenarios that can cause a lack of airflow from your air conditioner, so it is best to be sure before jumping to any conclusions. First, make sure your thermostat is set for cooling and not heating. Second, check to see if your AC unit is in “auto” or “fan” mode. On this latter setting, your air conditioner will continue to pump out air even when the system cycles off, so if your air is warm rather than cool, this may be why. Finally, make sure your air vents are not obstructed and your filter is not clogged. Dust and debris can seriously interfere with your AC system’s performance, so it is important to change your filter regularly. If, after doing all that, you still cannot figure out why you are having airflow problems, call a technician to determine whether you are dealing with a refrigerant leak.
- Strange Noises: Again, there are a myriad of reasons why your air conditioner might emit strange noises. However, if you are hearing a hissing noise coming from your system, it is possible a tear in the refrigerant line has occurred. A bubbling sound is even more troubling, as this often indicates a leak is growing. Call a technician to be sure if you are hearing hissing or bubbling coming from your system, and avoid touching refrigerant lines yourself. Remember, refrigerant is a dangerous chemical, so recharges should ideally be left to a professional.
- Frozen Coils: Your AC unit’s evaporator coils absorb heat as your air flows over them. When the refrigerant in your system is working properly, it will remove the warmth from your air, providing your household with the comfortable temperatures it needs.However,when a leak occurs, the coils will not be able to absorb heat from your air, and the refrigerant in your system will cause them to freeze. You may notice condensation on the coils or drops of water near your AC unit when this starts to happen, so try to act fast before the coils are fully frozen. When could freeze, you may be forced to replace your unit’s compressor, if not your whole system, so acting quickly is key.
- Increased Humidity Levels: In addition to cooling your air, your AC system also dehumidifies it. However, when refrigerant starts to leak, your air conditioner will no longer be able to remove humidity from your air efficiently, and you will likely feel the effects throughout your home. Granted, there are other factors that contribute to humidity, such as the climate you live in and moisture levels in your house. But if you are experiencing rising humidity and temperatures, a refrigerant leak may be to blame. Especially if you are also experiencing…
- Rising Energy Costs: When refrigerant leaks from your system, your air conditioner will have to work harder to cool your whole home, driving your utility bills up in the process. To make matters worse, homeowners often just adjust the setting on their thermostat when temperatures rise suddenly, which can raise your energy costs even higher. Instead of fiddling with your thermostat next time a shift like this occurs, call a professional HVAC technician. An expert like one of our pros at Roby Services will be able to determine for sure if a refrigerant leak is causing this sudden increase in temperatures and energy expenses.