Refrigerant leaks can spell disaster for your AC unit if they go unnoticed. Even when they are noticed, they can be pricey to fix and sometimes require a whole AC replacement. Though we’re big proponents of consumer vigilance, and it’s pretty clear that AC owners who pay attention to the signs of a refrigerant leak- can usually call a technician in time for proper air conditioning repair in Atlanta, GA.
There are many misconceptions floating around about refrigerant in air conditioners. We wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve heard that refrigerant leak runs out over time because your AC consumes it. That’s very much not true, and your air conditioner does not consume refrigerant like fuel. In fact, the refrigerant is kept pressurized and recycled through your system—so theoretically it should never run out.
So, we’ll be covering just what a refrigerant leak is, what it means, and how to notice them.
What Is Refrigerant?
Depending on the model of your air conditioner, the refrigerant is either R-22 (Freon) or the more environmentally friendly R-410A. R-22 is in the process of being phased out, which is making it increasingly more expensive and hard to get. However, if your AC is older, it’s going to depend on Freon for its refrigerant charge—which is going to cost you more.
Refrigerant is a pressurized chemical composition that is used to cycle heat from inside your house to the outside, where it cools down and is recycled. This is why we make sure to tell homeowners that your unit should not be running out of refrigerant normally.
How To Notice a Refrigerant Leak
The most tell-tale sign that you’re dealing with a refrigerant leak is the noise that an AC makes when it’s not up to full charge. When your AC doesn’t have a full amount of refrigerant, it will get air bubbles in the refrigerant line, which will make a “hissing” or “bubbling” sound. These are extremely noticeable and are usually the easiest way to tell that you’ve got a problem in your air conditioner.
Another way to tell if you’ve got a refrigerant leak is if your AC has dramatically reduced cooling power. Without the use of enough refrigerant, your AC will have an extremely difficult time cooling off your house and will have to work much harder to achieve nominal results.
What Does a Refrigerant Leak Mean?
Refrigerant leaks aren’t an easy fix. They can be costly, require a recharge of refrigerant, and can be a signal that your AC is reaching the end of its lifespan. That’s why you should always contact a professional to take a look at it. Leaks like these are not meant to be fixed by yourself, and the chemicals can be irritating to your hands, eyes, skin, and other parts of your body.
Make sure you know how old your AC is and the kind of refrigerant it runs on before you consider recharging it and paying for repairs. Sometimes, upgrading to a new AC with R-410A instead of Freon can be a more cost-effective solution in the long run.