Your home’s air conditioning system depends on its refrigerant to keep your home comfortable. The refrigerant used in your A/C circulates through the system removing heat in the air from inside your home and then dispersing it outdoors. But when leaks happen and the refrigerant level drops or loses pressure, it will have an effect on your air conditioner’s performance. So, how do you know if your system is leaking refrigerant?
Your Air Conditioner is Not Cooling Your Home
Imagine coming home from work on a hot summer day to find that your home is warmer than usual. You check to see if the air conditioner is on, but you feel lukewarm air blowing out of your vents. This could be because your air conditioner is low on refrigerant. Without the proper level of refrigerant, your air conditioner will be unable to properly remove heat from the air because there is not enough refrigerant to transfer the heat.
You Hear a Strange Hissing Sound
A hissing sound coming from the air conditioning equipment inside or outside your home could be a sign of a refrigerant leak. Because the refrigerant in your air conditioner is a pressurized gas, a leak, especially if it is a small hole will cause a hissing sound as the gas slowly leaks out. You will not see the gas leak out, but you can probably feel it if you put your hand over the hole.
Frozen Evaporator Coil
If your air conditioning system has a low level of refrigerant, your evaporator coil will get too cold. This causes the condensation that is on the coil to ice up. This layer of ice then insulates the coil, along with any dust that might have been already there. Your air conditioner might run continuously trying to cool your home, but because the coil is insulated, it cannot transfer heat from the air.
Should I Repair or Replace?
Depending on the severity of the leak, your air conditioning system may be able to be repaired. Once the repair has been made, the service technician will recharge the system with refrigerant. If you have an older system, especially one that uses R-22 (Freon) it may be more cost efficient to upgrade to a new and more environmentally and energy efficient air conditioner that uses R-410a (Puron) refrigerant.