How Do I Know if My AC is Leaking Refrigerant?

Posted: 2021-09-09

An air conditioner leaking refrigerant is no joke. Not only does it cause your energy costs to go up, but it also puts your family and home at risk. To avoid exposure to refrigerant and its negative effects, you should be able to detect the leak as soon as possible and have a qualified professional find the leak and seal it off. This way, your AC can receive a fresh charge of the refrigerant and deliver cooled air throughout your home effortlessly.

Four Seasons Air Specialists is your trusted HVAC company in Grant MN. We understand air conditioners from the inside out and can help you ensure your AC is working as it should.

What is a Refrigerant?

Air conditioners use refrigeration technology to cool indoor air by following a basic rule: liquid convert to gas; absorb heat. Your cooling system uses this conversion process by forcing particular substances to evaporate and condense continuously in a closed system of coils.

To perform this task, your air conditioner is equipped with a refrigerant, a substance that transfers heat from one place to another. It is usually in a gaseous state at room temperature and changes in low temperatures. When hot air flows over the cold, low-pressure evaporator coils, the refrigerant absorbs the heat and transforms it from liquid to gas. Then, the air conditioner converts the refrigerant back to liquid form again. The compressor makes it possible by putting the gas under high pressure, creating unwanted heat, which is then compressed and released outside the home through another set of coils and a secondary fan.

To find out if your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, watch out for these signs.

Inability to Cool Your Home

The refrigerant plays a significant part in the cooling process. It absorbs the heat from your home and releases it outside. Therefore, without this substance, the AC will be unable to perform its task, leaving your home warm and uncomfortable.

While an AC can fail to provide cool temperatures with a dirty filter, a refrigerant leak is a different problem. If your AC has clean filters but still releases warm air, it’s possible that the issue has to do with the refrigerant. A professional has the tools and knowledge to identify the problem and apply appropriate solutions.

A Hissing Sound

If you hear a hissing sound coming from the coils, it can be a sign that the unit is releasing the refrigerant (yes, this sound can also be produced by a snake). This sign is one of the easiest ways to detect an air conditioner leaking refrigerant. You will notice that the sound is significantly louder in the surrounding area where the air conditioner is placed. It can be caused by a lot of problems, but holes or cracks in the coils that circulate the refrigerant is definitely one of them. Sometimes, the sound can also be heard near the outdoor unit, so it’s best to inspect the unit and try to detect the leak.

Frozen Coils

When the refrigerant in an AC is insufficient, the coil will not adequately absorb the heat. This issue results in the condensation and freezing of the coils. The ice usually begins to melt and drip on the floor as the temperatures go up. Though ice on the coils might not seem very concerning, it could cause a major system failure if ignored, i.e., a broken compressor needing a replacement.

Inexplicably High Electricity Bills

Because the cooling system does not have the right amount of refrigerant to effectively cool your home, you are forced to set the unit at the lowest temperature, trying to get your preferred comfort levels. However, this setup results in a considerable increase in your electricity bills. When the AC leaks refrigerant, it has to work harder than normal, consuming more energy. The sad part is that you’re paying for a huge amount of energy without actually getting what you pay for.

Dealing with an AC Leaking Refrigerant? Call the Experts

Put an end to your discomfort. Get in contact with Four Seasons Air Specialists Our teams of experienced HVAC professionals will fix the problem and restore the cool in your home in no time. We are your trusted Mahtomedi AC company.