Is My HVAC Leaking Refrigerant And What Can I Do If It Is

Summertime is great for barbecues, going to the beach and having a lot of outdoor fun. However, that doesn’t mean that you want the heat of summer following you indoors. Air conditioning systems are an essential part of maintaining a comfortable temperature throughout your home or office space. However, if your HVAC system is failing, you can end up spending a lot more cash and still find yourself overheated and depleted.

One of the most common problems that occurs with air conditioning systems is loss of freon. If you aren’t familiar with refrigerant substances, then a quick reminder should help. Your air conditioner has special coils that remove the heat from the air. Inside of these coils is freon. When the system was first put together, the exact amount of freon necessary for operation was sealed inside the coils.

While some folks think that refrigerant levels can vary, and that “topping it off” is normal, that is not the case. Although you might need to refill and change many of the fluids that keep your vehicle running well, that is not the case with the freon in your air conditioner. As long as the system remains intact, the freon will continue to do it’s job.

Unfortunately, the coils can develop small holes and cracks over time. Even minute openings can leak your refrigerant, slowly breaking down the abilities of your HVAC system to cool your building properly. In addition to the possibility of joints and connections separating slightly, your system might also be compromised due to poor coil maintenance. If they aren’t cleaned regularly, dust and grime will accumulate and cause corrosion.

There are a few different signs that your unit has a leak, starting with a loss of cooling power. If you have noticed that it seems to be taking longer and longer for your rooms to cool down, it could be due to a refrigerant leak.

One easy way to check and see if the unit is properly cooling the air is to hold your hands directly in front of the vents. You might notice that the air isn’t as cold as it used to be. Pay careful attention to it to determine if the air is the correct temperature for your current settings.

Frozen coils are a big indicator of freon leaks. This problem occurs because there isn’t enough of the refrigerant to circulate through the coils. Remember that the refrigerant is what removes the heat from the air. So, when you don’t have enough of it, the temperature regulation is disrupted. Condensation will begin to build up on the coils and subsequently freeze.

The ice will usually begin to melt, dripping onto the floor or wherever you might have the unit. While you might not think this is a very big deal, it is a serious problem. If your air conditioner is frosting over and then leaking, you need to get help fast.

Another potential indicator that your unit is leaking freon is the sound. In many cases you can hear a hissing or gurgling sound. Though these noises might be the result of a different part of the system failing, they are often a sign that the refrigerant is leaking.

Have you noticed that your power bills seem unusually high? Although the temperatures outside can certainly impact how much or how little you use the air conditioning system, most property owners have a pretty good idea of what the electricity bill will be throughout the year. If yours seems to be ticking upward, you might have a leak.

It is important that you hire a qualified and experienced HVAC specialist to perform the repairs needed to get your unit running again. Ignoring the problem will only exacerbate it, and your rising utility bills. Attempting to repair it on your own could prove disastrous due to the dangerous chemicals inside of the coils.

Sure, you can add some refrigerant to the system, but it won’t fix it. Likewise, you can use a sealant designed to fix small leaks. However, both of these solutions are short-sighted at best. You might even damage the system further if you choose either of these courses of action.

Failing to fix the system can do more than make your HVAC inoperable, it can damage the planet as well. The freon in your HVAC unit is known to deplete the ozone layer, which is why there is so much oversight regarding these chemicals. Depending on where the system is located, the leaking freon could also be a health hazard to you or others nearby. The chemicals can seriously damage your skin if touched, and your lungs if inhaled.

The higher cost of running an HVAC unit that is not properly functioning is yet another reason you need to get a pro on the task fast. Pushing the unit harder and harder is going to drive up your cooling bill and possible cause your unit to break down into an irreparable mess.

Contact an HVAC repair specialist and allow them to do a complete analysis of your system. Once everything has been repaired and returned to functional order, you should make plans for regular maintenance visits. Many contractors provide maintenance plans for customers who want to avoid the worst case scenario from happening. The contractors will usually come to your home or place of business in the spring and fall to make sure that it is clean and operational.

Research the reputation of any HVAC company that you are thinking about hiring. Also, before you sign any type of service contract, make sure that you understand everything including the price of freon. This includes repair and maintenance plans for your heating and cooling systems.

Leaking freon is serious. If your unit shows signs of it, you need to contact a professional quickly. Turn the unit off in the meantime to prevent further damage to the air conditioner, environment and your property. You will be glad that you did once you see the lower bills and experience the improved functionality of your repaired system.