Though the signs of an AC refrigerant leak can often go unnoticed until the AC stops working, if you think that your home’s HVAC system is leaking refrigerant, it needs to be dealt with immediately.
In this guide, we will outline why AC systems sometimes leak refrigerant and the signs to watch out for. And if your system is leaking, our pros at Super Heat & Air will explain what steps you should take!
What Causes Refrigerant Leaks?
If your AC is leaking refrigerant, it should be turned off and unplugged from its power source immediately. But what causes refrigerant leaks in the first place?
#1. Improper Installation
Refrigerant is an essential component that is used in your air conditioner to convert liquid into gas, thus cooling your home.
Refrigerant leaks often occur due to poor installation of some aspects of your unit. For instance, if the flare connections are overtightened, this could cause a leak. This is why it is important to hire a professional to install HVAC systems to avoid these kinds of issues.
If you suspect that your system has been incorrectly installed, some warning signs include:
- Your system is blowing warm air
- The thermostat is not functioning properly
- There is poor airflow inside your home
- You have higher energy bills
If you notice any of these signs, make sure to call Super Heat & Air to inspect your system immediately.
#2. Metal Erosion
Erosion of the copper tubes that run throughout your HVAC system can cause significant issues and allow refrigerant to leak out. Since air conditioner units are typically outside, there is a higher chance of erosion and damage from the elements.
Also, formic acid corrodes copper tubes, thus causing leaks. If you suspect that this is the cause of your refrigerant leak, schedule AC repairs ASAP. Otherwise, you may have to get your entire AC unit replaced if the issue leads to a catastrophic breakdown.
#3. Wear and Tear
Wear and tear are typically found on older HVAC units. Because the rubber seals on valve stems tend to wear out over time, a refrigerant leak can occur pretty easily. In addition, rust caused by exposure to outdoor elements can also lead to leaks.
Symptoms of a Refrigerant Leak
The loss of refrigerant due to a leak can cause your system to fail and ultimately break down. Look out for these symptoms of a refrigerant leak:
Longer Cooling Time
Refrigerant leaks make your system work harder than it needs to, especially during the hot summer months. If you have a leak, it will take twice as long for your house to cool down because the unit will not be blowing adequately cool air.
Higher Utility Bills
A higher-than-normal electric bill is often a sure sign of a refrigerant leak. Since the AC system is working hard and using more energy to keep your house cool, it spikes energy usage. A leak could lead to thousands of dollars spent on energy bills each year. Yikes!
If you notice increased energy costs, contact our licensed technicians at Super Heat & Air for an inspection.
Learn More > Is it Normal for My AC to Run Constantly?
Another indication of a refrigerant leak is when your home becomes unbearably humid. A unit that runs properly will keep humidity at bay.
If your home is unusually humid, get an expert to check the refrigerant to ensure that there isn’t a leak.
Outdoor Unit Hissing
Hissing sounds coming from your outdoor HVAC unit could mean that there is something wrong with the compressor. If you hear bubbling and hissing, this is an indication of a refrigerant leak. Call a professional from Super Heat & Air to determine what the issue is with your outdoor unit. Never try to do this on your own because you could be exposed to toxic gas.
Frozen Evaporator Coils
Evaporator coils can freeze due to a refrigerant leak, though the issue could be blocked air ducts too. If your evaporator coils are frozen, call in an HVAC professional for an inspection to ensure that it isn’t a refrigerant leak.
Refrigerant Leaks are Dangerous
Refrigerant contains toxic chemicals that can affect the air quality in your home and cause issues with your health. The danger of a refrigerant leak is not something to ignore, so if you see any of the above signs, make sure to call in for help.
Suspect a Refrigerant Leak?
If you think your HVAC system is leaking refrigerant, don’t try to fix it on your own. Call Super Heat & Air for emergency air conditioning repair at (813) 355-0288. We also offer routine maintenance and HVAC replacements.
Don’t wait, call in the pros at Super Heat & Air today!
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