We have all heard someone, or perhaps even a so-called expert repair person, talk about the refrigerant in air conditioning systems needing to be replaced or recharged every year. It is spoken about as the fuel that keeps the air-conditioner running. They would be wrong. Air conditioners use electricity for energy, not refrigerant.
Your air conditioner is manufactured with enough refrigerant to last the life of the unit. Loss of refrigerant fluid is not part of the normal operation of an air conditioner. JD’s Prompt Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning will provide air conditioning service in Lubbock TX to help diagnose and repair leaks.
What is Refrigerant?
Refrigerant exists inside the coils of your air conditioning unit. It absorbs heat from your indoor air. It circulates outdoors where a fan blows over the coils to leave the heat outside. This cools the refrigerant down. It circulates back into your home where another fan blows over the cool refrigerant to deliver cool air throughout your residence.
Causes of a Refrigerant Leak
Your air conditioner will leak refrigerant if it develops holes or cracks in the coils. This can occur due to:
- Corrosion of the coils or weakening connections
- Defects from the factory
- Incorrect installation of the unit
Signs You Have a Leak
Early detection and repair of refrigerant leaks will prevent further damage to your air conditioning unit.
The first thing you may notice is a lack of cold air from your unit. Refrigerant must continually cycle in and out of your home to keep it cool. If it is leaking from your system then the system can’t keep your home cool.
Rapidly or frequently turning on and off may be a sign of refrigerant loss. This means the unit is not completing full cycles.
Unexpectedly high electric bills. The frequent cycling means your unit is working harder. This requires more energy use, which may show up on your monthly bill.
Additional humidity inside your home or ice crystals forming on the indoor coil of your unit are obvious signs of a refrigerant leak. If the levels are low then the coil will not absorb heat. The resulting condensation may freeze. Or you may see water dripping from or puddles near your air conditioning unit.
A leak through cracks or holes may create noise. Hissing or gurgling sounds are most commonly attributed to refrigerant leaks.
A visual inspection of the coils may detect bubbles forming near the cracks or holes.
What Should You Do?
Call a professional to repair refrigerant leaks. Be aware of anyone that tells you to top off your coolant. This is not a fix. This is a bandaid. The source of the leak must be repaired to prevent future refrigerant loss. Otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for a more expensive repair in the future. Your technician should find the leak, fix the damage, test the repair and then refill the refrigerant.