The Low-Down On Refrigerant Leaks And Air Conditioners


Air conditioners rely on a liquid called refrigerant to cool your air down. This refrigerant exists inside the coil. It expands and cools, and in the process, absorbs heat from the air that blows past the coil. Then, that chilled air gets blown through your home.

Sometimes an air conditioner will develop a refrigerant leak, which is really just a hole or crack in the refrigerator coil. Here's what you need to know about this problem as a homeowner. 

Signs of a Refrigerant Leak

Refrigerant leaks often go overlooked until they are really bad because homeowners don't recognize the early signs.

The first sign of a refrigerant leak is often frost buildup on the coil. This appears because the coil is getting colder than it should. The refrigerant that is left is expanding too much because it has the space to do so, and that's making the coil colder than it should be. As more refrigerant leaks out, you may end up with actual ice or snow on your AC coil.

Another sign of a refrigerant leak is short cycling. Your AC will turn on, run for a few minutes, and then turn off because it senses that the coil is getting too cold. 

You may also notice that while your home is cooling, it is not getting as cold as it used to. The air coming from the vents will feel cold, but it won't keep blowing for long enough to achieve the temperature selected on your thermostat.

How to Handle a Refrigerant Leak

Unfortunately, this is not a problem you should attempt to solve on your own. Refrigerant can be dangerous to handle, and the average person cannot just buy it at a home improvement store. You'll need to call an HVAC contractor. They can locate the leak and plug it. Then, they can refill your refrigerator coil with new refrigerant.

It's important to note, however, that repairing a refrigerant leak is not always worth it if your AC is older. The refrigerant that some older AC units use is expensive or unavailable. Your AC contractor may, in this case, recommend replacing your air conditioner instead.

Whether you repair or replace your leaky air conditioner, you will soon come home to a comfortably cool home once again. If you ever notice early signs of a refrigerant leak, get ahead of things by calling an AC contractor sooner rather than later.

About Me

Remaining Comfortable In Your Home after Completing a Major Renovation

In a few, short months, my spouse and I will begin the construction process to build a much needed addition onto our small home. The addition will include a den and a master suite. But because our home will be much larger after the building process is complete, we will need to update our HVAC system. After speaking with our knowledgeable HVAC contractor, we’ve decided to purchase a second heating and air conditioning unit for our home. This additional unit will be considerably smaller than our current one. It will only heat and cool the new addition to our house. On this blog, I hope you will discover the best options for heating and cooling a home after building an addition onto it.

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