An air conditioning system uses a refrigerant to create the cool air that circulates throughout the home. One of the magical concepts of the refrigerant, is that it recycles itself. This means the refrigerant never needs to be refilled. However, the air conditioner unit can lose refrigerant due to a leak within the system. The refrigerant is essential not only to create cool air, but to keep the air conditioner from overheating. Ambient Heating & Air Conditioning will share signs of a refrigerant leak to prevent damage of the air conditioner and ensure you stay cool this summer.
What Causes Refrigerant Leaks?
Leaks often occur in the line that the refrigerant is cycled through. Refrigerant lines are under constant pressure which over time degrades and weakens the lines. This pressure can lead to an eventual leak. Luckily leaks can be detected and repaired easily. However, if left unchecked, low refrigerant can cause overheating and excessive damage to the air conditioning unit can occur. In most cases, leaks can be prevented entirely with annual inspection and tune-up services.
Symptoms of a Refrigerant Leak
Insufficient Cooling: A common sign your air conditioner is leaking and is low on refrigerant is when the home isn’t staying cool or isn’t cooling down. You may hear the air conditioner running but the inside isn’t cool. Often this is a sign of low refrigerant due to a leak.
High Indoor Air Humidity: When the air conditioner is running correctly the air is dehumidifying during the cooling process which prevents high humidity levels within the home. When the refrigerant is leaking and not cooling the air properly, the humidity inside the home may increase. When the home feels more humid than normal, often it is because the refrigerant is low.
Longer AC Cycles: A cycle is when the air conditioner runs and shut off. Most cycles only last a few minutes at a time. If a cycle lasts longer than normal, then the there is a problem. An air conditioner will shut off when the home is cooled to the desired temperature. The thermostat detects the temperature inside the home and sends the signal to the air conditioner to switch off. When there is a leak the home won’t cool down which causes the air conditioner to run longer and sometimes constantly.
Increased Utility Bill: Longer cycles mean more power. When an air conditioner cycle is lasting longer it is consuming more and more power to attempt to cool down the home. As a result your power bill will increase. Often long cycles may go unnoticed. However, a high power bill will grab the homeowner’s attention. A high power bill is often a sign of a problem which in many cases is a leak.
Icy Evaporator Coils: One obvious sign your low on refrigerant is when the outdoor unit evaporator coils ice up. The evaporator coils aren’t always visible. However, you will often see a copper pipe coming from the house into the outdoor unit. If the copper pipe has ice covering it is either due to dirty coils or low refrigerant.
Hissing or Bubbling AC Noises: If the refrigerant is really low often the outdoor unit will begin to make noises. Most noises are due to low refrigerant and will make either a bubbling or hissing sound.
HVAC Services in Springfield, Granby, Holyoke, South Hadley, Monson, Chicopee & Agawam Massachusetts
If you have any one these classic signs of a refrigerant leak, turn off your air conditioner and contact an HVAC professional. If you need a quality HVAC service to ensure you stay cool this summer, contact Ambient Heating & Air Conditioning today.