Now that summer has arrived, it’s time to start thinking about proper air conditioning maintenance again. The good news is one thing you SHOULDN’T have to do is buy more refrigerant. Air conditioning refrigerant functions on a closed-loop system, meaning that unlike other fuel sources, it never needs to be refueled, except for under very specific circumstances.
The first reason to get new refrigerant is that you are installing a new air conditioner altogether, and you need the refrigerant that goes along with it. The second is that you are having your system changed over to support a refrigerant other than R-22, more commonly known as Freon, due to recent changes in EPA regulations. The final, and most notable reason to have your refrigerant recharged, is that there is a leak in your air conditioner, and you need to have it repaired. Keep reading to learn the top signs you are dealing with a refrigerant leak, and remember that for all of your air conditioning service needs, you can count on the experts at All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical.
The 5 Main Signs Your Refrigerant Is Leaking
- Warm Air/Lack of Airflow: There are a ton of reasons your air conditioning system may experience airflow problems, so before you go jumping to any conclusions, it is a good idea to investigate all the possible causes. First, make sure your thermostat is not set to heating mode. Then, check that it is not on the “fan” setting, as this will cause your system to continue to blow air even when your AC unit cycles off. And finally, make sure none of your vents are blocked, and that your air filter is not clogged. A dirty air filter can obstruct airflow and worsen air quality easily, so this is already something you should be doing several times a year. If, after doing all that, you still can’t find the source of your airflow issue, call an AC technician to see if you are dealing with a refrigerant leak, or some other kind of internal problem.
- Loud Noises: Have you noticed a hissing sound coming from your air conditioner recently? This does not necessarily mean that you are dealing with a refrigerant leak, but it could be one possible explanation. Do not get too close if you believe there is a puncture in your refrigerant line, as refrigerant is a very dangerous chemical compound that should not be handled by anyone but experienced professionals. Also, if you are hearing a gurgling sound coming from your AC system, that means that the leak may have progressed even further, and you will need to call a technician ASAP.
- Frozen Coils: As air flows over your AC coils, the refrigerant in your line will help absorb heat, giving you the cool, comfortable temperature you want in your home. However when refrigerant starts leaking, your AC coils cannot do their job properly, and the refrigerant in your system may cause them to freeze over. Before full-on freezing happens, you are likely to notice condensation on the line, or a small puddle of water underneath it. Try to call a technician right away if you spot this, as coils that are fully frozen can force you to replace your air handler, if not your entire system.
- Rising Humidity: Your air conditioner doesn’t just cool your home, it also removes humidity from it. However, when a refrigerant leak occurs, your system will not be able to dehumidify your house properly. There are, of course, a myriad of factors that can influence humidity levels, such as the climate you live in and the amount of moisture throughout your home. That said, a sudden rise in humidity, along with a steep decline in cool air, can often be attributed to a refrigerant leak. Especially if these factors are accompanied by…
- An Increase in Your Utility Bill: Unless something is majorly wrong with your system, your air conditioning bills should not vary significantly throughout the summer months. As long as you continue to run your system at roughly the same temperature, roughly the same amount of time throughout the day, your cooling costs should remain fairly stable. That’s why a sudden rise in your utility bill is always concerning. If your cooling costs have recently jumped up, call a professional HVAC technician to see if a refrigerant leak could be to blame.
To have your refrigerant recharged by a professional, call All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical today at (909) 253-0664. You can also click here to learn more about our services online. And remember to ask about available deals and specials!