Don’t ignore the signs of a refrigerant leak!
Summer is officially here, and your AC unit is likely working hard to keep you comfortable during these warm days and nights. If you’re concerned with the way your unit is working—or not working—it could be the victim of a refrigerant leak.
An HVAC refrigerant leak will cause your unit to work harder and run longer than it should—increasing the wear and tear on your system and eventually cause it to fail completely.
Here are four things you should look for before calling in the professionals…
4 common signs that your HVAC is leaking refrigerant
Your unit loses cooling power
Refrigerant plays an important role in the cooling process. Its job is to absorb the heat from your home and release it outside. If your refrigerant levels are depleted, it will take longer to cool your space—possibly never reaching the desired thermostat setting.
There’s a hissing sound coming from your unit
A refrigerant leak is caused by holes or cracks in the coils that circulate the refrigerant. Though hissing could mean a variety of problems, refrigerant leaks are among them. A larger leak may produce a gurgling sound.
There is water around your unit
When the level of refrigerant circulating through the evaporator coils isn’t enough, the coils won’t adequately absorb heat. This causes the condensation on the coils to freeze.
Sometimes the frozen condensation will begin to melt and drip on the floor. Though ice on the evaporator coil might not seem alarming, it could lead to a system breakdown or an expensive repair like having to replace the compressor.
Your electric bills have skyrocketed.
If a refrigerant leak is negatively impacting your comfort level and causing you to constantly fiddle with the thermostat in the hopes of getting cooler air, your unit is using more energy than it should be. Review your energy bill for inconsistent usage levels and compare costs from the year before.
Common areas to look for refrigerant leaks
HVAC systems typically develop leaks in three areas: the condenser coils, the evaporator coils, and in the refrigerant line sets.
Condenser coils have U-bends in them. The U-bends are held together by tubular sheet metal. When your HVAC system is operating, the sheet metal at the ends of the tubes rubs against the ends of the copper tubes. This can create small holes where your refrigerant can escape. In some instances, this type of damage can be repaired, but it is usually a better idea to replace the entire coil.
Evaporator coils have capillary tubes. These very small tubes have a tendency to vibrate when your system is operating, which causes the tubes to rub together or against another object inside your unit. Over time, the capillary tubes develop holes at the rub sites and require replacement.
Refrigerant line sets
Refrigerant line sets typically leak at the joints or flare connections. Line sets can also start leaking if they are hit with a lawn mower or weed eater, tripped over, or if you’ve had any renovation work done near the unit and roofing or drywall nails have pierced the refrigerant lines.
Depending on where the line sets are leaking, they could be repaired. If the leaks are large, or there are multiple leaks, you may need to replace the line sets completely.
Keep in mind that leaking refrigerant may not be the culprit behind the lack of cool air blowing from your vents or your space not being cooled as efficiently as usual. These symptoms could be caused by something as simple and inexpensive as replacing a clogged filter.
If you suspect a refrigerant leak is behind your HVAC system’s poor performance, it’s best to call in a professional.
We can help!
Give us a call at 250.465.2490. You can also reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Refrigerant leaks are avoidable with routine service. A preventative maintenance plan will prevent costly problems. Our customer rewards program ensures that your HVAC system is always running well. There are also great savings to take advantage of, so click here to see if it works for you!