Maybe you’ve noticed your air conditioner chugging, trying to keep up with the heat. Maybe it’s blowing hot air, or just not cooling like it should be. Minor leaks in your air conditioner components can be a major deal when the dog days of summer hit. So, how do you recognize a leak?
The most obvious sign that your unit may have a leak is that it’s just not cooling enough, or is even blowing hot air. The first thing you can do is wipe off the front grille, because the moisture your AC unit absorbs to dehumidify your home can mix with collected dust and clog the vents. Next, clean your filters for the same reason. If you’re still not sure you’ve solved the problem. Check the area directly in front of your vents for temperature. If the air blowing into your home isn’t cold, it could mean a refrigerant leak.
If your refrigerant is leaking, the levels will be depleted, meaning there isn’t enough to effectively cool your home. Refrigerant is the fluid mixture that absorbs heat from inside your home and releases it outside. It transitions from liquid to gas to cool your home. Because refrigerant may be escaping from holes or cracks in the coils that circulate the refrigerant, especially at high pressure, you’ll likely hear a hissing sound coming from your air conditioner. While the refrigerant cycle naturally makes some noise, it shouldn’t be a noticeable noise. If you hear more of a louder gurgling sound, it may be a larger leak and should be checked immediately.
If you notice that water is leaking inside your home from your air conditioner, or even hear water dripping beyond the normal sounds of an AC unit, that’s another sure sign that something is off. When refrigerant doesn’t circulate properly, it can’t absorb heat. The evaporator coils that circulate the fluid can get so cold that they freeze as a result. When condensation forms on the frozen coils melts, you’ll notice anywhere from a subtle drip to a full-on water leak. Condensation isn’t an immediate alarm, but it’s something to look out for.
A final sign that your air conditioner is leaking is higher electric bills. If you notice that it’s taking that much more power to run your AC unit, and the cost is elevating without a significant change in the weather or indoor temperature, this could be a red flag. Because air conditioners do make a fair range of noises when running properly, you may find it hard to figure out exactly what’s wrong. It’s always best to let a professional examine the unit and identify the problem at hand. You want to make sure you’re handling it safely, and prevent further issues that could lead to expensive repairs or replacements. Our air conditioning repair technicians can spot a leak, assess the damage and the source of the leak if that’s what you’re dealing with. When summer is around the corner, take the first steps of examining your AC unit and keep yourself and your family comfortable and cool.