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Here Is How Refrigerant Leaks Can Start in Your Air Conditioning System

Refrigerant, sometimes referred to with the brand name Freon, is an essential part of how your air conditioning system works. It is the heat transference fluid that allows the AC to move thermal energy from inside your home, cooling it down, and then release it to the outside.

An air conditioner is designed to use a specific charge or amount of refrigerant. As long as refrigerant doesn’t leak from the AC, the system should use the same charge for the duration of its service life. However, leaks are one of the more common malfunctions that air conditioners encounter; when the charge drops, the AC will begin to lose heating power and will eventually stop working entirely. It can even cause the compressor to burn out, which usually necessitates replacing the whole system.

But why do leaks start in the first place?

The answer to that question is a bit unusual. The refrigerant lines of most modern air conditioners are made of copper, which is resistant to standard corrosion. But there’s a kind of corrosion that will weaken it: formicary corrosion. This happens when formic acid develops along the refrigerant lines. This corrosion shows no outward signs that it is occurring until leaks start to spring up through the copper. Because of this, it’s very difficult to prevent this type of refrigerant leak. Regular maintenance will help catch leaks at an early stage, however.

You’re probably wondering where the formic acid is coming from. It’s from formaldehyde, which is a common indoor air pollutant in homes. Although air purifiers can remove some formaldehyde, it’s difficult to completely eliminate it from a home. It’s therefore important that you keep a close watch on your air conditioner so that you pick up on signs of refrigerant loss as soon as possible: frozen indoor coils, a decline in cooling power, or hissing sounds from the cabinets.

If you think that you need air conditioning repair in Cary, NC, pick up the phone and call Raleigh Heating & Air, Inc. We have served Wake County and the surrounding areas for more than 20 years.

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