Refrigerant is an essential substance contained in the coils in the air conditioning unit. Without refrigerant your air conditioner would not keep your home cool. A decrease in the refrigerant amount your air conditioner holds is not a normal occurrence. This is likely a sign of a refrigerant leak. A properly running and maintained system keeps the same amount of refrigerant it was installed with. In order to minimize any potential damage to your system it is important to know what signs to watch out for. Below are signs of a refrigerant leak.
Decrease In Cooling Power
Refrigerant works by absorbing heat from the environment and in return provides cool air. A fan located indoors blows over the coils and distributes the cold throughout the home. If the level of refrigerant is low, it will take longer than usual to cool your home or business. This is due to less refrigerant being available to remove the heat. If after you drop the temperature on your thermostat your home still feels uncomfortable, this will be your first sign that something may be wrong.
Warm Air Coming From The Vents
The air coming from your vents should be cool. If you have warm air coming out from your vents, it is a sign that your refrigerant is not doing what it should. Refrigerant is responsible for absorbing the warm air from your home and moving it outdoors. Therefore, when your system is low on refrigerant the air coming out will not as cool as it should.
A refrigerant leak is caused by a puncture or hole somewhere along the refrigerant lines. The hissing sounds occur as a result of the refrigerant leaking out of the holes. Depending on the location of the leak, you will either hear the hissing sound inside of your home or somewhere near the condenser. This will most likely not be the first sign you notice. If you’ve noticed other signs take a moment to listen to your unit. If you hear any hissing sound, it is best to contact a professional.
Another sign of a refrigerant leak is a frozen evaporator coil. An improperly charged coil, would not be able to absorb as much heat as it should. This could lead the condensation build up on the coils to freeze and lead to system failure.
Higher Than Normal Electric Bills
A system that is low on refrigerant will run longer cooling cycles to get your home to a comfortable temperature. This could lead to your air conditioner running non-stop to reach the temperature set on the thermostat. This will lead to higher than normal electricity bills. If you notice any changed in your electricity bills, it would be a good idea to take a look at your HVAC system.
Call A Professional
Keep in mind that the signs above are not always a result of a refrigerant leak. These signs could be a direct result of several different factors and not just a leak. A refrigerant leak is a common service call and can often be avoided with regularly scheduled maintenance. Scheduling regular maintenance could prevent minor issues from becoming costly repairs down the line. Also keep in mind that adding refrigerant without repairing the leak could also cost you money in the long run or eventually lead to a damaged compressor. Therefore, if you believe your air conditioner is having issues with the refrigerant or needs to be recharged please contact a licensed professional.
R22 Refrigerant Phase Out 2020
Another factor to keep in mind when debating a solution to your AC refrigerant leak is what refrigerant your system uses. If your system was installed before 2010, most likely it uses R22 refrigerant. The EPA has mandated that all production of R22 stop in 2020 due to its impact on the ozone layer. This will lead to an increase in the cost of R22 refrigerant and therefore repairs. This is something you will have to consider when refilling your system with R22 refrigerant. Highly consider whether an expensive repair is worth it or replacement, especially if you have an older system.
If you need the refrigerant levels of your air conditioning system checked or to schedule regular maintenance, please give LA Construction Heating and Air a call for help. We will make sure the levels are correct and your air conditioner is working properly. LA Construction Heating and Air is a certified HVAC Contractor. We would be happy to assist you with any questions you may have. Feel free to contact us online or give us a call today at (818) 341-3406.
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