3 Tell-Tale Signs Your Air Conditioner Has Refrigerant Leaks
As your home's indoor temperature rises, your air conditioner draws heat from the inside of the home and releases it outside. Cool air is then returned to your home via the air vents and registers located in each room.
The cooling system works by changing the state of the refrigerant flowing through it in a process called the refrigeration cycle.
While your air conditioner is a closed-loop system, cracks or holes within the system can cause the refrigerant to escape, leading to a low refrigerant level. Recognizing the signs of refrigerant leaks is essential to ensure timely repairs, thus minimizing the chance of AC failure in times of need.
Here are some strong indications your air conditioner needs leak repairs.
Your AC Is Taking Too Long To Cool Your Space
When it's running smoothly, your air conditioner takes a certain amount of time to cool your space. If it's taking longer than usual to reach your desired indoor temperature, chances are the system has refrigerant leaks.
Inadequate refrigerant levels reduce the cooling capacity of your air conditioning system, increasing the amount of time it takes to attain the temperature setting at the thermostat.
Your AC Coils Are Freezing Up
Refrigerant enters the evaporator coil as a cold, low-pressure liquid but starts to heat up as it absorbs heat from inside your home. The hot refrigerant is then passed through the compressor to increase its pressure and change it from liquid to gas. It enters the condenser as a hot, high-pressure gas.
If your AC system develops refrigerant leaks, the lack of pressure will make it absorb excessive heat. When this happens, the refrigerant lines, and subsequently the coils, will freeze over due to condensation issues.
If you notice ice forming on your AC coils or experience an overflowing drain pan, you should check your refrigerant levels.
Your AC Is Making A Hissing Sound
Since AC refrigerant is a colorless, odorless gas, you can never smell or see it escape from your air conditioning system. However, it's under the pressure provided by the compressor.
As a result, it usually makes a hissing sound when it escapes from the system. If you hear this sound coming from your air conditioner while it's running, it's best to check for refrigerant leaks.
Since a low refrigerant level indicates that you might have leaks within your AC system, you may require a leak detection service. If you have AC leaks, you'll need to get them fixed before regassing the system.
Contact an AC repair technician for more information.