Refrigerant leaks are a common problem with air conditioning systems. These leaks can cause your AC system to become less efficient or even stop working completely. If you have been noticing a decrease in the performance of your AC system, look for signs of a leak.
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What AC Refrigerant Does
Your AC system compresses the refrigerant in your system, causing it to get hot. The heated gas cools down as it moves through the coils and becomes a liquid. The liquid absorbs heat from the air outside your home and pushes cold air into your house.
Five Signs You Have a Refrigerant Leak
It isn’t always easy to distinguish a leak from some other problem with your AC. However, these are five signs you can look for.
1. Reduced Airflow
An AC system that is low on refrigerant can’t produce as much cool air as it normally would. If you have been noticing less cool air coming out of your vents, you may have a leak.
2. Copper Lines or Evaporator Coils Have Ice Accumulations
When your AC system doesn’t have enough refrigerant to properly cool your home, the evaporator coils and copper lines can’t absorb as much heat. This causes condensation which can cause the coils or lines to freeze.
3. Air Conditioner Blowing Warm Air
Because your unit works less efficiently when it doesn’t have enough refrigerant, your home will take longer to cool down. You may also notice warm air blowing from your vents.
4. Your Home Takes Longer To Cool Down
The refrigerant in your AC absorbs heat and helps direct it outside your home. When your system runs low, it can’t absorb as much heat and it takes longer to cool your home.
5. Your Electric Bill Increases
An air conditioning system that is low on refrigerant has to work harder to cool your home. This uses more energy, which causes your power bill to increase.
Reasons Your AC May Be Leaking
It may be difficult to tell why an AC system leaks. If your system has developed a leak, one of these common causes may be to blame.
Wear and Tear
As your system ages the rubber seals can wear out and the assembly joints can rust. This can cause leaks.
Pin Hole Leak
As your AC unit operates, formaldehyde on the coil can convert to formic acid. This acid is mild, but over time it can create small holes in the copper tubes. This process is called formicary corrosion.
What To Do About a Leak
A refrigerant leak can be an environmental hazard and a risk to human health, in addition to decreasing the performance of your air conditioning system. If you suspect your AC losing refrigerant, contact an HVAC repair technician immediately.
An air conditioning system that has a refrigerant leak can lead to higher power bills and reduced cooling performance. If you are noticing signs of a leak, contact a repair professional to have your system assessed as soon as possible.