Is your AC unit not cooling properly, making strange hissing sounds, or causing your energy bill to skyrocket? These could be signs of an AC refrigerant leak. It is essential not to ignore them. They are symptoms of a bigger problem that can even be dangerous to you and your family.
Air conditioners are a huge convenience on those hot summer days, but they can be the cause of some headaches for homeowners.
If you do not want to let the problem grow even worse, take action right away and resettle your home safety and comfort.
Here is everything you need to know about refrigerant leaks in AC, including how to tell if your AC is leaking refrigerant, how to find and fix this problem, and whether it's dangerous or not.
How to Tell If the AC Is Leaking Refrigerant
There are several signs of an AC leaking refrigerant that you should be aware of, including:
- warm or low air blowing from the AC unit;
- the AC takes harder and longer to cool the room;
- increased energy bills;
- hissing or bubbling sounds;
- ice building up on the evaporator coils;
- unusual humidity level indoors; and
- strange smells coming from the AC unit.
If you notice any of these seven signs, it is crucial to call a technician to have a complete air conditioning service done in your machine.
How to Find and Fix a Refrigerant Leak in Your AC
Finding and fixing an AC refrigerant leak requires a professional touch. A HVAC technician can use specialized equipment like an electronic leak detector or ultraviolet dye to locate the leak.
Here are the steps that a HVAC technician will take to locate and repair the leak.
- Inspection: the technician will visually inspect the AC unit for signs of leakage, such as oil stains or damaged components.
- Pressure testing: they will use a pressure gauge to measure the refrigerant pressure in the AC system. If it is too low, it may indicate a refrigerant leak.
- Electronic leak detector: they may use an electronic leak detector to locate the leak. The detector will emit an alarm when it finds the refrigerant.
- Ultraviolet dye: the technician may inject ultraviolet dye into the AC system. It will circulate with the refrigerant and glow under a UV light where the leak is located.
- Repair: once the leak is located, they will repair or replace the damaged component, such as a refrigerant line or coil.
- Recharge: after the leak is repaired, the contractor will recharge the AC system with the correct amount of refrigerant.
It is important to note that refrigerant leaks can be a sign of underlying issues with your AC unit, so it is best to have a professional inspect and repair your system. They might even help you ponder if it is time to replace an AC unit.
Is an AC Refrigerant Leak Dangerous?
Yes, AC refrigerant leaks can be dangerous if not dealt with promptly. Refrigerants like Freon can be harmful if inhaled, and they also contribute to environmental damage. Knowing how to check the freon in a home air conditioner is equally important.
Additionally, low refrigerant levels can cause the compressor to overheat and potentially fail, leading to costly repairs.
Does Refrigerant Leak When the AC Is Off?
No, the refrigerant does not leak when the AC is off. However, refrigerant leaks can occur when the AC is turned on, and the system is under pressure.
Be sure to check for all the signs: low and warm airflow, AC not cooling properly, high energy bills, ice building up on evaporator coils, etc.
If you suspect that your AC unit has a refrigerant leak, contact our HVAC technicians to inspect and repair your system. Ignoring the signs of an AC refrigerant leak can lead to costly repairs, potential health issues, and environmental damage.
Keep your AC unit running efficiently with regular maintenance and prompt repairs.