Air conditioners depend on the refrigerant to produce cool and warm air. In other words, the refrigerant is the secret to an air conditioner’s ability to keep you warm and cozy. However, at the same time, it could leak and can be dangerous as well. You should call in HVAC repair services if you notice a refrigerant leak. Let’s dig into the signs of AC refrigerant leaks and how you can prevent them.
Indoor Unit Is Making Hissing Sounds
A hissing sound made by your air conditioner could be due to several reasons. It could be that the air filters are dirty and need to be cleaned. Plus, it could also be that the air conditioner has not been cleaned in a while and is clogged.
However, to ensure that is easy, all you need to do is access the air filters and check their condition. If the air filters tend to be dirty, it most probably means the air conditioner needs maintenance as well. However, in other cases, it might be that your air conditioner’s refrigerant level is low.
If the air conditioner is old, cracks and leaks are most likely. As a result, the refrigerant will leak. If the unit has larger leaks, it might create a bubbling sound or bubbles in the cracks. So, if you were to observe such signs, you should immediately shut down the air conditioner and call an expert.
The reason is that an air conditioner with a low refrigerant level will cause the compressor to work even harder. As a result, the compressor will not only consume more electricity but will heat up and eventually need to be replaced.
AC Is On But Not Cooling
This is one of the most common signs of an air conditioner leaking refrigerant. If you observe that your AC is running but not cooling or producing warm air, it means the refrigerant levels are low. The last thing you would want is the air conditioner failing to keep you comfortable in the summer season.
If the air conditioner happens to be old, you should closely observe a ‘clicking sound’. This is to ensure the compressor is turning on. However, if the compressor constantly trips, it means there is a problem with the refrigerant level. You should turn off the air conditioner and consult an expert.
Longer Cooling Cycles
Another sign of the AC refrigerant leaking is longer cooling cycles. Although, it could also happen if the unit tends to be smaller than the room itself but, in most cases, low refrigerant level tends to be the culprit. If the refrigerant is leaking, the air conditioner will take much longer to cool down the area.
This is because it will struggle to do so. Inverter technology air conditioners lower their RMPs once the desired temperature has been achieved. However, in the meantime, the unit will utilize maximum power. This will lead to a significant increase in your monthly bills.
Indoor Air Is Humid
In addition to air conditioners producing cool and warm air, they act as dehumidifiers as well. Refrigerant removes humidity from the air and helps the unit spread cool, light air inside the house. So, if you suddenly observe the environment inside the house is humid, it might be that the refrigerant is leaking.
If left ignored, both mold and mildew can grow. This means that you should get the issue rectified by consulting air conditioning companies Fairfax before it becomes difficult to breathe.
High Electricity Bills
High electricity bills are a tell-tale sign there is something wrong with the air conditioner. As mentioned earlier, low refrigerant level puts important components such as the compressor under extreme stress. As a result, the compressor utilizes more electricity to make up for the loss.
This causes the electricity bills to rise and burn the compressor to the point where it will need to be replaced. So, if you observe a sudden and unusual change in your electricity bills, it means there is something wrong with the refrigerant. The common refrigerant problem is leakage.
As soon as the refrigerant starts leaking, your air conditioner will begin showing unusual signs that should ensure you of a problem.
Evaporator Coils Are Frozen
Without sufficient refrigerant, your air conditioner will not be able to absorb heat effectively. This leads to the evaporator coils being frozen as excess condensation takes place. It is a common issue amongst older AC units and is relatively harder to detect as homeowners don’t have access to the coils.
However, if you observe any signs of ice-up pipes or frozen coils, it means the problem is leading to a component, which could be the evaporator coils. You can fix the issue by getting the refrigerant refilled and repairing any cracks or leaks.
Keep in mind that evaporator coils should not remain frozen. The reason is that heat dissipation will not take place. And eventually, the coils will overheat and need replacement.
How Can A Refrigerant Leak Affect My Health?
There have been many cases in the past where homeowners had to experience the worst signs & symptoms of refrigerant leaks. In the initial stages, you will not feel anything. The signs & symptoms gradually begin to show up if the leak is neglected.
Furthermore, the intensity of the signs & symptoms depends on the exposure duration. The longer the exposure, the more the effects. It might be that you experience only a few or several symptoms at once. Some of the most common symptoms of refrigerant poisoning include difficulty in breathing, vomiting, indigestion, or a burning sensation on your lips, ears, nose, etc.
In this case, you should not wait for the symptoms to go away on their own. It means there is a problem that needs to be fixed. You should immediately go out and inhale fresh air. If required, call emergency services if the situation turns serious.
And if you have caught the leakage in its early stages, call an expert to fix the problem.
How To Prevent Refrigerant Leaks?
The best way to prevent a refrigerant leak is by having a professional maintain the unit. Even though leaks are most common in old units, improper maintenance or installation jobs could also cause the same in new units.
Professional maintenance will help prevent such issues in the first place. But in some cases, you might not be able to identify the signs. This is why you should always pay attention to even the minor symptoms.
The reason is these symptoms will eventually grow and might cause problems for you and your family members. And if your air conditioner is constantly leaking refrigerant even after fixing the issues, it means it’s reached its maximum lifespan.
Cracks and leaks will continue to occur and the better option would be to opt for a new unit. There is simply no point in spending a huge amount of money on a unit that won’t guarantee trouble-free cooling in the future.
AC refrigerant leaks can be dangerous. However, the signs and symptoms mentioned above will surely help you spot them early on. Make sure to schedule annual maintenance from AC repair services Vienna to help prevent such incidents and keep your air conditioner running without any problems.