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Signs Your AC Has A Refrigerant Leak

Signs Your AC Has A Refrigerant Leak

Does your air conditioning have a refrigerant leak? This is a common air conditioner problem. If there is a leak, adding more refrigerant is not a solution and requires a trained technician to fix the leak, test the repair, and charge the system with the appropriate amount of refrigerant. The performance and efficiency of your air conditioner are best when the refrigerant charge exactly matches the manufacturer’s specification and is neither undercharged nor overcharged. Refrigerant leaks are harmful to the environment and you definitely don’t want it in your home or business. Because your AC’s refrigerant is constantly under high pressure, the lines that contain refrigerant degrade as time passes. If there is a leak in your system, the leak will need to be patched and repaired and the refrigerant will need to be recharged. Here are some signs of air conditioning refrigerant leaks:

Poor cooling. If your system suddenly can’t keep up during the hottest hours of the day, a refrigerant leak is among the most common causes. This can be especially uncomfortable during the hot summer season. Do not wait until it is too late. Annual air conditioning tune-ups and inspections can help prevent this problem before it occurs.

Humid indoor air. Because air conditioners dehumidify as they remove warm air from indoor spaces,  if there’s a refrigerant leak, the AC’s dehumidifying ability is just as compromised as its cooling ability.

Long cooling cycles. This means that your system is lacking in efficiency. If your refrigerant levels are depleted, it will take longer to cool your home or business, which often results in a visit to the thermostat for a downward temperature adjustment. While you might not always notice that your air conditioner is lagging a few degrees behind your thermostat setting, the sound of air moving through your vents makes it easier to notice if cooling cycles are abnormally long. Longer cooling cycles are another sign of a possible refrigerant leak.

Higher utility bills. If the symptoms described above escape your attention for an entire month, you may see a red flag in your next power bill. The inefficient cooling and longer cycles caused by low refrigerant also send your electric meter into overdrive.

Ice on evaporator coils. When the refrigerant levels circulating through the evaporator coils is insufficient, the coil swill not adequately absorb heat. Some of the clearest telltale signs of a refrigerant leak can be observed on your outdoor air conditioning unit. If you can see frosty ice crystals forming on the evaporator coil during hot weather, it’s time to call for service.

Bubbling or hissing sound. An AC refrigerant leak is caused by holes or cracks in the coils that circulate the refrigerant. Though hissing could be a sign of a variety of problems, refrigerant leaks are among them. A larger leak may produce a gurgling sound. If you can hear sounds like this coming from your outdoor unit while it isn’t running, it could be a sign of a significant refrigerant leak.


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  • Lillian Schaeffer
    March 30, 2018, 3:31 pm REPLY

    I hadn’t thought about how humid air inside can indicate problems with your air conditioner. My house has been pretty humid lately, and I don’t think it’s just because of the weather. Maybe it would be a good idea to have a professional come and take a look at the AC to see if it’s having problems.


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