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A-Avis Home Services Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

What Happens When Heat Pumps Leak Refrigerant

Refrigerant is the life blood of a heat pump. This chemical that moves through the coils and lines of a heat pump is responsible for the heat exchange that brings you cooling in the summer and heating during the winter. Refrigerant does not dissipate during normal operation: it switches easily between liquid and gas and back again, and its level (“charge”) doesn’t lower.

However, a heat pump can start to lose refrigerant because of leaks, often at connector points such as at the compressor. Lack of maintenance can contribute to this, so make sure that you have regularly scheduled visits for your system to help prevent this from happening. Contact Avis Plumbing, Heating and Air for both maintenance and the necessary repairs you may need for your heat pump’s cooling and heating in Corona, CA.

A number of malfunctions in your heat pump will start once leaking occurs. The most immediate problem—and the biggest warning that you have refrigerant leak—is that icing will start over the evaporator coil. The evaporator coil is the indoor coil during cooling mode and the outdoor coil during heating mode. Icing happens because the reduced levels of refrigerant means the coil cannot absorb the same level of heat, and the temperature of the remaining refrigerant causes the moisture along the coils to freeze. As the ice develops along the coils, it halts further heat absorption, which increases the icing. Eventually, a solid block of ice will form along the coils and completely halt the heat exchange. You can’t scrape the ice off the coils to solve this problem; it requires technicians to seal the leak and then recharge the refrigerant.

Low refrigerant also puts components in your heat pump under stress, particularly the compressor, but the damage will spread throughout the unit, leading to inefficient performance. Just a 10% loss in refrigerant can mean a 20% increase in electrical costs.

When you suspect a refrigerant leak—or any kind of problem with your heat pump—you need to have professional repair technicians look over the system and identify the leak, then seal it. Recharging the refrigerant to its normal level is an important step, since using the wrong refrigerant blend or either undercharging or overcharging the amount in the heat pump will make the problem worse. Make sure you call on experienced technicians for this task.

Avis Plumbing, Heating and Air can help you with your cooling and heating system in Corona, CA any time of the day or night. Call our NATE-certified technicians when you need the skilled help necessary to restore your heat pump.

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