Most people know that air conditioners use refrigerant — often collectively referred to as “Freon,” though the chemical composition can vary quite a bit — to cool the air. They often assume that air conditioners consume refrigerant like cars consume oil and gas. In fact, the opposite is true. Air conditioners need a set amount of refrigerant to do their jobs, and the bulk of their system is dedicated to circulating it through a series of valves and coils that allow it to pull heat from the surrounding air. Leaks in that system aren’t supposed to occur, but when they do, it can be disastrous for your air conditioner. And our summers in Ontario, CA are too hot to just leave the situation as it stands. If you can learn to watch for signs of refrigerant leaks in your AC, you can move on the problem before it gets too big to handle.
Why is Leaking Refrigerant a Problem?
When refrigerant leaks, it throw off the delicate balance required to cool the air properly. As a result, frost can form on your AC coils, which insulates the remaining refrigerant from the air it needs to cool. Your system will thus need to work harder to do its job and as the refrigerant continues to leak, the strain will increase more and more.
What are the Signs?
Signs of leaking refrigerant can include, but are not limited to:
- Frost or ice forming on the evaporator coils.
- Warmer air coming out of your vents.
- Quiet noises such as hissing or bubbling as the refrigerant escapes.
- Higher bills resulting from the added strain of running with less refrigerant.
Never try to clean up leaked refrigerant, scrape ice off the system or otherwise treat the problem. Refrigerant is dangerous and should only be handled by trained professionals.
Instead, shut your system off and call in the pros at Avis Plumbing, Heating and Air to perform AC repairs!