A coolant or refrigerant is an essential part of the AC system. It is a chemical compound responsible for absorbing the heat from the air and expelling it outside. That is why your home feels cool. The refrigerant changes its state from gas to liquid and back as it flows via the evaporator and condenser coils to ensure that your home is cooled. It is directly responsible for the comfort and convenience of your home.
A refrigerant is essential whether you’ve got a ductless or ducted air conditioner. Sometimes, the AC refrigerant might begin leaking. The air conditioning system doesn’t use up the coolant. Therefore, there is no reason for the reduced levels other than a leakage. Hence, you need to know the refrigerant leak signs to call a heating and AC repair company in Fort Worth, TX.
When the air conditioner leaks, it severely hampers your air conditioner’s cooling ability. You will immediately notice if the air conditioner doesn’t effectively cool your home. This is because of several signs such as sudden high utility bills, dripping water, or any other signs discussed below. They are signs of a potentially more significant environmental issue. To avoid later trouble, you want to understand the signs of a refrigerant leak. This way, you’ll be able to inform the heating and AC repair company of the exact problem that you are facing.
Dangers of Air Conditioning Unit Leaks
So, what are the dangers of refrigerant leaks? There are many dangers to refrigerant leaks. For instance, a leaking refrigerant directly impacts the environment, the HVAC system, and your wealth. You should do everything to uncover the leaks and have a professional heating and AC repair company address them. Below are the dangers of refrigerant leakages:
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) deplete the ozone layer. Hence, the EPA halted its production and phased it out. However, the CFCs were replaced with hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). However, even these came with their set of issues. They release a lot of greenhouse gasses. For instance, HFC 134-a, a highly popular refrigerant, has about 3400 times the potential for global warming compared to carbon dioxide.
Unfortunately, R410A and its upgrades used by many air conditioners still have a component of HFCs. Hence, you should immediately switch off the air conditioner and call a heating and AC repair company whenever you notice that you have a refrigerant leak. Preventing and fixing refrigerant leaks and how you responsibly dispose of the air conditioner at the end of its service life can help reduce various environmental impacts.
Danger to Humans
Refrigerant leaks are a definite danger to your health. If not for any other reason, have the air conditioner inspected and regularly maintained by a licensed heating and AC repair company to avert the risk to your health. If it needs a refill, it should be done by a professional. You might suffer from refrigerant poisoning if exposed to the coolant for a long time.
If you have been moderately or mildly exposed to refrigerant poisoning, you could show signs like headaches, vomiting, nausea, coughing, throat irritation, and dizziness. To prevent any accidental refrigerant poisoning, you should ensure that any refrigerant leak is fixed as soon as possible by a heating and AC repair company. People who use refrigerant as a recreational drug are prone to refrigerant poisoning. Using it as a drug could cause coma, seizures, loss of concentration and consciousness, and at worse, it might cause sudden death.
Danger to the AC unit
Since the refrigerant is your air conditioner’s cooling agent, any refrigerant leaks could result in a severe negative impact on your air conditioner’s performance. When the air conditioning unit has a low refrigerant level, its components strain to cool your home. This means that the air conditioner places more effort into achieving the set temperatures. As a result, the compressor might fail, making the air conditioner fail to cool your home.
It also might cause the AC coils to freeze, increase the electricity utility bills, and cause inefficient cooling. Hence you should call a heating and AC repair company in Fort Worth, TX, to inspect and fix the refrigerant leak to avert any of the dangers above. Remember that an HVAC system is a costly appliance, and you shouldn’t let it get damaged by preventable issues.
Causes of Refrigerant Leaks
Various things can cause refrigerant leaks. A coolant or refrigerant isn’t something that can be depleted or used up as time lapses. Refrigerant leaks because of problems that lead to tiny holes allowing it to escape. Below are some of the most common causes of refrigerant leaks.
AC Unit Wear and Tear
Wear and tear caused by the aging of the HVAC unit is a common reason why an air conditioner might leak the refrigerant. As time passes, the connections and joints in your air conditioner might erode and weaken. Further, access fittings or rubber seals on the service valves might wear out and result in a refrigerant leak.
Also, delaying or neglecting HVAC repair for an extended period means you’ll face the problem sooner than you might have expected. Hence, ensure regular maintenance and inspection of the HVAC unit by a heating and AC repair company to avoid the issue that might reduce its service life.
Pinhole leaks are also called champagne leaks. Tiny bubbles develop because of the holes where the refrigerant leaks are minute. However, pinhole or champagne leaks are common in older HVAC units. This is because these air conditioning systems face considerable degradation over time from acids such as Formic acid formed by the VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which are usually dissolved in the air. Products like paints, glues, and air fresheners contain VOCs, which makes it easy for them to reach your indoor AC unit.
As time passes, the VOCs might corrode or eat into the air conditioner copper tubes, resulting in tiny leaks. Because copper tubes are vulnerable to VOCs forming formic acid, manufacturers are now turning to using aluminum coils. Hence, your heating and AC repair company in Fort Worth, TX, might recommend changing from copper to aluminum coils. They will also be able to patch any pinhole leaks and refill the refrigerant to ensure that the HVAC system is functioning optimally.
One of the essential parts of the air conditioner is the compressor motor that is installed outdoors. If the outdoor unit isn’t properly sealed, it will generate severe vibrations that can weaken the refrigerant lines. Further, if the refrigerant lines weren’t installed properly in the first place, they might develop holes after even mild vibrations by the running compressor coil. This is why it is advised that you let professional and licensed heating and AC repair companies handle the job. They will install the appliance in a manner that will not result in issues like pin holes that could make it leak.
Animals, children, and lawnmowers can all potentially cause damage to the outdoor unit. Further, the lawnmowers might project their cuttings towards the outdoor unit. This will undoubtedly lead to an accumulation of debris within the unit, clogging it up. Animals and children might accidentally throw or hit the outdoor unit while playing, which may cause physical damage to the unit. Have a heating and AC repair company send a technician to fence the unit with a block wall or even install the higher-up component.
Signs of HVAC Refrigerant Leaks
Have you noticed that your air conditioner has been acting up recently, and you cannot figure out why? If the performance of your air conditioner has taken a toll recently, an air conditioner leak might be the culprit. Have a heating and AC repair company in Fort Worth, TX, inspect the unit for refrigerant leaks. Below are some of the signs that your HVAC unit is leaking the refrigerant:
Reduced Cooling Ability
The refrigerant is responsible for absorbing the heat from your home and releasing it outdoors. If refrigerant levels in your HVAC unit are low, then there cannot be effective heat transfer. Hence, the air conditioning unit will suddenly lose its cooling ability. When the heating and AC repair company sends someone over for an inspection, they will most likely identify the refrigerant leak as the main reason and patch it.
HVAC Unit Not Blowing Cool Air
Place your hand at the front of the air vents. Does the air coming from the air conditioner feel warm? That means the unit isn’t cooling the air, and the most likely cause is low refrigerant levels. Have a heating and AC repair company inspect the unit for the issue and permanently fix it.
Long Cooling Cycles
If the air conditioner has a refrigerant leak, it strains to reach the temperatures you’ve set on the thermostat. The HVAC unit must run longer than it should to achieve your desired temperatures. This means you will have a higher energy utility bill at the end of the month. This might also strain other parts of the unit, making it prone to wear and tear. Does your HVAC unit have a long cooling cycle? Have a heating and AC repair company in Fort Worth, TX, send a technician for an inspection and repair.
High Electricity Bills
Because of low refrigerant levels, the air conditioner works harder to keep the indoor temperature at your home to your desired levels. This effectively leads to higher energy utility bills. Have you noticed an unexplained rise in your energy utility bills? The culprit might be a refrigerant leak. A higher energy utility bill means that the air conditioner is working correctly, though longer than usual, to achieve the set temperatures on the thermostat.
If the Evaporator Coils Are Frozen
Have you noticed that an air conditioner is freezing up regularly, even during the peak of summer? The evaporator coils will not be able to absorb heat with the low refrigerant levels adequately. Hence, the condensate freezes on the evaporator coils. This is a clear sign of a refrigerant leak and should be quickly addressed by a professional heating and AC repair company in Fort Worth, TX.
Water Leaks from the AC
When the air conditioner stops running, the condensate frozen on the evaporator coils starts to melt. This makes water start dripping on the floor. If you had not noticed that the evaporator coils were frozen, the leaking water is a telltale sign. Frozen evaporator coils are a sign of a refrigerant leak.
Increased Indoor Humidity
Your air conditioner plays a critical role in dehumidifying your indoor settings. The air conditioner can dehumidify your home within 15 minutes if it is fully functional. Hence, if your home suddenly becomes or feels humid, you should have an AC repair technician come over to inspect the HVAC unit. They will patch it if it has a leakage to ensure that your home is efficiently cooled.
Bubbling or Hissing Sounds
The refrigerant leaks due to tiny cracks or holes in the evaporator coils. This makes a hissing noise as it finds its way through the narrow opening. If the leakage is significant, you might notice gurgling or bubbling noise from the HVAC system. Hence, have a heating and AC repair company in Fort Worth, TX, send a technician to inspect the unit and pat the leakage.
Sweet Smell Like Chloroform
When diagnosing the issues with the AC, the smell is the best detection mechanism. Whenever you notice a sweet smell like that of chloroform, that is as clear a sign that your AC has a leakage. Call a reliable heating and AC repair company to inspect and fix the leak.
Reliable Heating and AC Repair Company
Have you noticed either of the signs above? Do you suspect that your HVAC unit is leaky? Call One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Fort Worth, your reliable heating and AC repair company, for a further inspection. We will help you patch the leak to ensure your home is adequately cooled.