Your air conditioner was manufactured with all the refrigerant it should ever need completely enclosed in its system of coils. But sometimes, due to damage or deterioration, a coil can be breached and the refrigerant can leak out of the system. A refrigerant leak is a serious problem. We’ll give you the lowdown on why it’s so serious, as well as how to tell if it’s happening to your air conditioner.
The Role Refrigerant Plays
AC refrigerant is a chemical that is very good at changing temperature. It absorbs and releases heat very readily. As it soaks up heat inside your home, it evaporates into a gas, and when it gets to the outdoor portion of that loop of coils and lets that heat go, it condenses back into a liquid. The compressor is the component of your air conditioner that pressurizes the refrigerant and keeps it flowing through the system.
Signs of a Refrigerant Leak
If you notice any of the following signs, a refrigerant leak could be the cause. Don’t delay! Get air conditioning repair in Brownfield, TX right away, before the problem worsens.
- Strange Noises: A refrigerant leak can cause a hissing sound, like escaping gas, or a trickling sound, like leaking water.
- Strange Smells: Refrigerant has a chemical smell that is described as dry, acrid, and sweet, and homeowners do sometimes notice this smell when they have an AC refrigerant leak.
- Short Cycling: This is what it’s called when the compressor starts up to begin cooling your home but shuts down very quickly, only to begin again just moments later. The cooling cycle should only be starting up every fifteen minutes or so.
- Iced-Up Evaporator Coils: With the refrigerant failing to soak up enough heat in the home, the coils will be excessively cold, and that can cause ice to form on them.
- Increased Energy Bills: If you haven’t spotted the other signs, you might notice when your utility bill arrives that you’re suddenly paying a lot more for your air conditioner to run.
Problems a Refrigerant Leak Can Cause
- Reduced Comfort: Since it’s the refrigerant that cools your home, a lack of refrigerant will mean a reduced capacity for cooling—even though you’re paying more, you’ll be getting less.
- Rapid Deterioration: Remember that ice on the evaporator coil? It acts like insulation, and makes it even harder for the refrigerant that remains to soak up any heat… which leads to more ice developing, which leads to less heat absorption and so on, driving cooling power down and energy costs up more and more rapidly, as well as putting a lot of strain on the compressor.
- Early AC Retirement: That compressor is the one component of your air conditioner that you really don’t want to damage. If it continues having to work harder and harder with less and less refrigerant, it will burn itself out. And because it’s the most expensive component of the air conditioner, chances are, replacing the entire system will be a better investment than replacing the compressor.
If you suspect you might have a refrigerant leak, prompt repairs can save your compressor and get your home’s comfort back up and your utility bills back down.
JD’s Prompt Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning serves the Lubbock area. Contact us to schedule AC repair.