In the hot summer months, homeowners rely heavily on their air conditioners to keep their inside space cool and comfortable. If your home is struggling to stay cool, you may be dealing with a refrigerant leak. No matter what the cause of your problems, you can count on Sunset Heating & Cooling for all your AC refrigerant leak repair solutions. With close to a century's worth of expertise in the area, we offer quality solutions you can depend on.
The best way to keep repair issues at bay is with ongoing maintenance and care. Speak to our technicians today to schedule an AC tune-up.
Signs Your AC Has a Refrigerant Leak
A refrigerant leak is something homeowners do not want to ignore. Not only will it prevent your AC unit from working properly, but also it can have some serious health effects such as refrigerant poisoning caused by inhaling the leaking gas or fluid.
Typically, a refrigerant (or freon) leak will be caused by damage to the evaporator coils. Damage due to improper handling and corrosion are both common ways a leak can start. Regardless of how a leak was caused, it will need to be repaired immediately.
- Lack of Cool Air - When your thermostat is set to a level you normally enjoy, but the space is still warm it could indicate a freon leak. The refrigerant coils in your AC is what cools the warm air in your home. When there is a freon leak, the refrigerant coils will not cool the air sufficiently.
- Increased Energy Bills - When you have a freon leak, the refrigerant coils need to work harder in order to cool the warm air. This is going to cause an increase in your energy bills.
- Hissing - Corrosion is one of the more common reasons you could have a refrigerant leak. Corrosion can cause small tears and holes in the coil line itself which can lead to a hissing sound similar to the sound a garden hose makes when it has a leak.
- Water Accumulation - Unless you have a water leak, a noticeable puddle of water can indicate a freon leak. What happens is when there is not enough freon, the coils can not pull in enough warm air into the coils. The lack of warmth causes the coils to freeze which then causes condensation; causing a drip and puddle.
A properly functioning air conditioner should not require a freon recharge as the gas is consistently cycling throughout your system and never actually burns out. Because of this, any issues related to inconsistent temperatures or warm air will often be attributed to an AC refrigerant leak.
How Is a Freon Leak Detected?
If you have noticed any of the warning signs above, you may have a refrigerant leak. In order to positively determine whether or not you have a freon leak, the best course of action is to contact a professional.
Our professional HVAC technicians can do one of three tests to determine what the problem is.
- Detection by Nitrogen - The first test is done by emptying all of the freon from the system. The technician will then push nitrogen through the system. As nitrogen is at a higher pressure than freon, you will be able to hear any air escaping from a hole or crack.
- Detection by Electronics - An electronic leak detector measures the level of R22 (freon) and R410a (modern more eco-friendly refrigerant) around the system. One drawback of this test is that is can only read a leak if the electronic detector is touching where the leak is.
- Detection by Blacklight - For this test, a technician will add dye to the AC system. The dye mixes with other lubricants already in the system, which allows it to move to the smallest areas. Once this is done, the HVAC tech will use a blacklight to see if the dye is visible from the outside.
An air conditioning contractor will be able to determine which testing method is best for your home. If a leak is detected, they will also develop a refrigerant leak repair solution that ensures long-term results and performance.
One way to keep your evaporator coils clean and leak-free is with routine filter replacement. If you can’t remember the last time you changed yours or are looking for help, contact us today!
Working With the Experts
As mentioned above, if you have noticed signs that could indicate a freon leak, it’s important to reach out to our HVAC specialist for a consultation. Not only will they have access to the recommended tests to determine the issue, but they will also have the tools and parts to repair it correctly. Freon can be a dangerous health hazard, and a leak should not be left unchecked. Additionally, you won’t want to hold off on leak repairs as it can quickly impact your comfort, especially during the summer months in Portland.