Isn’t it nice when things start to warm up in the spring? Even the first couple weeks of summer can be exciting! The sun seems to be shining for the first time in ages! But after a while, that Carolina heat can make you feel like a cookie in an oven, especially if your home’s AC isn’t doing a good job. One of the most common causes of air conditioning problems can be linked back to leaking refrigerant. If your HVAC unit is leaking coolant, it can lead to higher electric bills, an inefficient AC, increased home humidity, and plenty more problems!
Did You Know?
You might’ve heard the words “refrigerant” and “freon” used interchangeably before. What’s the deal with that?
You know how sometimes, people say Kleenex to refer to tissue, Band-Aids to refer to bandages, and Q-Tips to refer to cotton swabs? It’s the same thing when people say Freon when they’re talking about refrigerant! Another name for refrigerant is “coolant.”
Higher Electric Bill
When your HVAC unit is leaking coolant, your AC works harder than usual to keep things cool. This means your AC is using more electricity, and that can affect your power bill. If you’re not sure if your power bill is abn
ormally high, compare it to your power bill from the same time of year last year. New homeowner? Unfortunately, if you’re a new homeowner, you won’t be able to compare your utility bill to last year’s, but we can help! Give us a call and we’ll thoroughly inspect your unit to make sure everything is working right.
Inefficient Air Conditioning
Increased Home Humidity
When your air conditioner is functioning properly, it starts to dehumidify your home in around 15 minutes. If the air in your home constantly feels sticky, it might be because of a leak in your refrigerant.
Frozen Evaporator Coil
Air Conditioner Leaking Water
Remember how we said your evaporator coil can develop ice crystals? When your AC shuts off, that ice melts over time. That water has to go somewhere! Unfortunately, that water drips on the floor around your HVAC unit.
Air Conditioner Not Blowing Cold Air
Check your air vents. How cool is the air coming out of them? When your AC isn’t blowing cold air anymore, that’s a clear sign it’s time to call a professional! There are several reasons that could lead to this, but if you’re noticing several of these symptoms, there’s a good chance a refrigerant leak is to blame.
Your AC is Making Hissing Sounds
When your refrigerant is leaking, it’s because there’s a hole or crack in your coils. If your A/C is making a hissing sound, it could be that hole or crack making noise. Have you ever squeezed a balloon with a hole in it and heard the noise it makes? Just like a balloon, your A/C will stop making this noise when all the freon leaks out.
Little Bubbles in Your Evaporator Coils
Some people will try to tell you that it’s normal for your unit to lose a little refrigerant over time, but that’s simply not true. Your unit doesn’t “use up” freon, so if the levels seem low, it’s because it’s
leaking. Refrigerant is bad for the environment and is also dangerous when inhaled, so it’s important to get your unit repaired if there’s a leak!
What Causes Refrigerant Leaks?
You’ve read the symptoms, and it doesn’t sound good. Maybe you’re pretty sure you’ve got a refrigerant leak. So, what causes these pesky leaks?
Age of the System
As your unit ages, your coils can wear down and develop little holes and cracks. The joints and connections are most prone to damage over time.
Your unit is a powerful piece of technology that works hard to keep your family comfortable! While it’s running, it tends to vibrate a bit, and those vibrations can separate the joints in your coils, and even just a tiny separation can cause a leak.
Copper lines that lead from your outdoor unit to the inside of your house are prone to damage that can lead to refrigerant leaks. Some people cover these copper lines with dirt or mulch, but then they don’t see exactly where these lines are. When it comes time to mow the lawn or do other landscaping work and you’ve covered these lines, you risk stepping on them or hitting them with lawn equipment.
Do you keep up with routine maintenance for your HVAC unit? If you don’t know how important maintenance is, check out our article: Is HVAC Maintenance Really Worth It?
If you don’t have your unit periodically maintained, any possible coolant leaks will get worse and eventually let in pollutants. If dust and other pollutants get into your coils, it can lead to corrosion, worsening any holes and cracks in your coils!
Phasing Out R22 Refrigerant
R22 is no longer manufactured in the US or imported to the US.
How to Prevent Refrigerant Leaks
Did you know there’s a way to protect your system from leaks? When you become a Priority Advantage® Member, you get two free system renovations every year! That means your technician will visit your home twice a year to clean and inspect your unit to make sure everything is running good as new. Keeping your unit clean can help prevent damage to different components like your coils, which in turn can help prevent refrigerant leaks! Not only that, but when your technician inspects your unit, they can detect if you already have a coolant leak before things get worse.
Interested in becoming a Priority Advantage® Member?