How to Detect a Heat Pump that Leaks Refrigerant

Posted: 2021-05-27

Heat pumps are revolutionary pieces of equipment that can work both as a cooler and a heater. They are highly efficient systems that help you establish a comfortable home, especially during milder climates. In fact, heat pumps typically produce around three times the energy they use; they have an energy efficiency rate of up to 300 percent. They achieve this by simply moving heat from one place to another with the help of a substance called refrigerant.

However, a heat pump can leak refrigerant and lose its ability to transfer heat. But how do you know if your heat pump is leaking this precious substance? In this article, we are going to share with you four reasons to help you understand what’s going on when your heat pump discharges refrigerant.

Four Seasons Air Specialists is your trusted HVAC company in Lino Lakes MN. We are adept at detecting heat pump problems and applying appropriate solutions, thus restoring comfort in your home.

Effects of Refrigerant Leaks

A heat pump leaking refrigerant poses danger to the environment; it’s also a health and safety risk. Having said that, not every refrigerant in use today presents the same level of danger.

Some of the most known refrigerants today, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are harmful to the environment. R22, which is used in older air conditioning systems, is presently being banned from manufacturing and importation because of its ozone-depleting effects.

Refrigerant leaks can also negatively impact the human body. Exposure to leaking refrigerant can cause several adverse symptoms and even cause death. These symptoms include labored breathing, irregular heartbeat, seizures, bleeding in the lungs, nausea, vomiting, headaches, irritation of eyes, ears, and throat, cough, skin burns, loss of consciousness, and decreased mental status.

Signs of Refrigerant Leaks

Inadequate Cooling/Heating

Sure, a dirty filter and many other reasons can lead to subpar performance from your heat pump. However, you cannot completely negate the possibility of a refrigerant leak. Keep in mind that this substance is so critical in the process of moving heat, that without it, your heat pump will consume energy without yielding your expected results. Since there isn’t enough refrigerant to transfer the heat, your unit will have to work harder than usual to achieve your desired temperatures.


When you see ice forming in the evaporator coils, the unit is likely leaking refrigerant. This problem keeps the coils from absorbing the heat and delivers unsatisfactory results. You may want to scrape off the ice, but it does very little in solving the problem. You’re going to need professional help to detect the leak, seal it off, and recharge the refrigerant back to the proper level. These tasks require knowledge, experience, and special tools, that’s why it’s best to leave it to the experts.

Short Cycling

This is a common sign of a refrigerant leak in heat pumps. The problem causes your system to work abnormally, resulting in repeated turning on and off. Your heat pump should act in accordance with a particular cycle to condition your indoor air. However, the strange operation is not part of the process. Short cycling tells you there is something wrong with the system, and a refrigerant leak is a possibility. When you notice abnormal cycles from your heat pump, call your heat pump expert right away.

An Unexplained Increase in Energy Bills

Since your heat pump does not have the right amount of refrigerant to make your home comfortable, you are forced to set the unit at the lowest temperature, trying to get your desired comfort levels. Unfortunately, this results in a significant increase in your electricity bills. When the heat pump is leaking refrigerant, it is coerced to work harder than normal, consuming more energy in the process. To avoid receiving excessive energy bills, call your preferred HVAC professional to fix the leaking refrigerant issue.

Refrigerant Leak? Call Four Seasons Air Specialists

If you suspect your heat pump is leaking refrigerant, do not take the issue lightly. Give us a call right away to deal with the problem. It would be our pleasure to help you restore the comfort in your home. We are your leading Centerville heating and air conditioning company.