If you don’t know what refrigerant is or what function it serves in your home cooling system, then you may not understand just why the mere mention of a “refrigerant leak” strikes such fear into the hearts of homeowners everywhere. Make no mistake about it—a refrigerant leak can have serious implications for your comfort, your budget, and your air conditioning system itself. If you want to avoid major issues, then you need to have any refrigerant leaks addressed ASAP.
That is why, in today’s post, we’re taking a look at what refrigerant does, and how you can recognize a potential refrigerant leak in your home. It is important to note that a refrigerant leak shares some symptoms with other, less serious air conditioning problems. That is why professional air conditioning repair in Cary, NC, is so important. You not only want the problem solved—you want it diagnosed swiftly and accurately. You can count on that with our team.
Is Refrigerant That Important?
Yes. Yes, it very much is “that important.” Why? Because without refrigerant, your air conditioner would truly be useless. It is the refrigerant in your air conditioning system that allows the system to remove heat from your home!
How does this work? By evaporating the refrigerant, then condensing it. In the indoor AC unit, there is an “evaporator coil.” That is where the refrigerant evaporates. As it does so, the refrigerant draws heat out of the air passing through that coil. The system cycles the refrigerant to the outdoor unit, which houses the condenser coil. There, the refrigerant condenses and its heat is released into the air outside. The refrigerant cycle continues on this way until desired temperatures are met in your home.
What Are the Signs of a Refrigerant Leak?
If your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak, you’ll notice a number of different symptoms developing. Some are quite obvious, and others will only be evident over time—and time is not really a luxury you have much of if you’re dealing with a refrigerant leak! Look out for:
- A drop in cooling output. This could be related to something like a malfunctioning thermostat or duct leaks, but it may also be a refrigerant leak. Without a sufficient refrigerant charge, your system will struggle to remove enough heat from the air in your home.
- A rise in energy costs. The more you use your AC, the more you can expect to pay in energy costs. If you notice a spike despite not using your AC any differently than usual, however, it may be due to a refrigerant leak forcing the system to work overtime.
- Ice on the coil. This could be the result of something as simple as a very dirty air filter restricting airflow enough that condensation on the coil freezes as the coil gets too cold. Refrigerant leaks have the same effect, though, so if your filter is clean you definitely need a professional diagnosis.