5 Signs There’s a Refrigerant Leak in Your AC

tech looking into AC unit to see if there's a refrigerant leak

Have you been experiencing issues with your AC unit? You may be overlooking a refrigerant leak!

What is refrigerant?

Both air conditioners and refrigerators require refrigerants —coolant fluids— to function. This liquid coolant takes heat from the contents of a room or refrigerator and distributes the heat into the atmosphere to retain a cooler temperature. It changes phases from liquid to gas upon absorbing heat and back to liquid when compressed by the compressor. 

What is a refrigerant leak?

A refrigerant leak is one of the most common issues people experience with their air conditioners. Leaks such as these are not a normal part of an air conditioner’s operation, as a fully functional air conditioner circulates and maintains the same amount of coolant. 

Refrigerant leaks may be the result of several air conditioning issues. Unlike a car’s oil, it doesn’t need to be changed and does not deplete with use. Low refrigerant levels are caused by small puncture holes that allow the coolant to escape. Causes include the corrosion of copper tube walls of the indoor coil, factory defects, vibration of the unit, weakened connections within the unit, improper installation, or simple wear and tear as a result of age.

In addition to the many causes of these coolant leaks, there are also many symptoms of a leak. If you’re aware of any of these causes or signs associated with a leak, it’s time to schedule your air conditioner for maintenance

Higher Electric Bills

Air conditioners have to work harder than usual when experiencing a refrigerant leak. The result is an uptake in usage that will be noticeably different from previous months. A good first step in classifying a refrigerant leak is comparing your recent electric bills.

Increased Humidity

When air conditioners leak refrigerant, it could take your system more time than the typical 15 minutes to cool your home. This problem causes air conditioners to run longer than usual to reach the desired temperature. Remember, refrigerant distributes heat in the air while circulating cold air, so if heat isn’t evenly distributed and cold air isn’t properly circulating, you may have a leak. This is a common sign and could result in the breaking down of your air conditioner. If you require repair for your AC, contact us! 

Air Conditioner Leaking Water

If you notice water leaking around your AC unit, it may be the result of ice melting off of your evaporator coils. When the refrigerant level circulating through the evaporator coil is low, the coil will freeze. A frozen evaporator coil is another symptom of a refrigerant leak.

Unusual Sounds

Refrigerant leaks occur when there are small puncture holes within the air conditioner. When the air conditioner is attempting to cool the room, it isn’t uncommon to hear squeaking or hissing noises as a result of a refrigerant leak.

Bubbles in the Evaporator Coil

If you don’t notice any water leakage or freezing of the evaporator coil, be sure to examine the coil for small bubbles that may be a result of a refrigerant leak.

What to Do About a Refrigerant Leak

Our professional technicians pride themselves on their expertise in all facets of AC maintenance and AC repairing needs. If you are experiencing any of these issues, give us a call at (360) 571-5100 and we’ll be more than happy to make all of your AC issues a thing of the past!

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