Refrigerant, be it Freon or another gas coolant, is a crucial component in the seamless performance of your central air conditioning system, especially paramount during the scorching Phoenix summers. One common issue faced by a number of homeowners is a refrigerant leak, often originating from the refrigerant line or the evaporator coil, which causes low pressure and inadequate refrigerant levels. These, in turn, interfere with optimal airflow. When the refrigerant is not properly charged, then your AC system’s coil may accumulate frost—a clear indication of failure to operate at its peak efficiency. Subsequently, the result is an increase in your energy usage and swelling up of your utility bills. This predicament may prompt a service call to HVAC experts who can conduct a thorough job of diagnosing your AC’s condition, armed with comprehensive information about its different components.
You’ll notice a distinct difference in the comfort level of your home’s temperature, a symptom of refrigerant problems, usually illustrated by a lack of cooled air. Even something as mundane as unusual sounds emanating from your air conditioners could be indicators alerting you to refrigerant issues. Whether you are comfortable replacing refrigerant on your own, or you need services provided by an HVAC repair company to do it, here are some signs and tips to help verify your central AC’s refrigerant charge is low.
Signs Your AC is Low on Refrigerant
1. Increased electric bills.
To avert costly AC repairs from issues such as refrigerant leaks, and to reduce energy bills, regular maintenance and frequent thermostat checkups by a professional HVAC technician are necessities. Issues like frost formation on the evaporator coil can compromise air flow, cause your home’s temperatures to rise and reduce overall efficiency. In case you notice such anomalies, it is advisable to look for service from your local Las Vegas and Henderson air conditioning experts today at (702) 567-0707 for meticulous services.
2. Indoor temperature isn’t comfortable.
Recognizing your rights as a customer is essential when facing an issue such as the increase in your utility bills because of faulty equipment, and scheduling a visit from technicians who can help improve the situation. A key sign of problems such as a refrigerant leak in your AC system is increased energy usage. Questions may arise such as, ‘Is the system having to work harder and run longer in a seemingly endless cycle to keep your house at the set temperature?’ If this is the case, it will consume a larger amount of power.
3. Ice buildup on the outside unit.
Examine your energy bills from the same time last year, and compare usage amounts. Unless you’ve had a major rate increase or your area is suffering from a record-breaking heat wave, these amounts should be relatively similar. Typically, your cooling system follows the principle of transferring heat from the inside of your home to the outside. It achieves this complex task by running the warm air through the system where it’s cooled by the compressor, condenser, and evaporator coils, and then, in consequence, sends cool air back inside.
4. Hissing noise is noticeable.
However, if the refrigerant lines are compromised or if there’s an issue with the evaporator coil, you may notice that it’s taking longer to cool down your home, or that the air blowing out of your vents seems warm. These warning sounds could be vital symptoms of refrigerant issues. Addressing such situations promptly can save you from additional problems down the line.
Methods to Detect Refrigerant Leaks
If you’ve found a leak in your system or are experiencing symptoms of one, contact an HVAC expert to handle the repairs for you as refrigerant can be dangerous to handle. In doing so, you ensure your system gets a closer look and eventually returns to its utmost potential, and you safeguard your comfort, efficiency, and household budget. It is essential to remember that, as a customer, your rights include asking as many questions as needed to fully understand the issues and necessary repairs. Opting for the most trusted equipment and services can help ensure a notable reduction in your air conditioning utility bills.
1. Visual detection.
Although it may not be the most reliable method, visually inspecting your evaporator coil and refrigerant lines for signs of oily residue can give you some helpful information. When refrigerant escapes, it takes oil from the components with it. This often results in an oily film at the leak’s location. Carry out a detailed inspection of the unit for oil stains prior to any activities that might remove this residue.
2. Perform a soap test.
Using a soap solution is the oldest and cheapest method of identifying leaks in an AC system. Apply a blend of soap and water to suspected leak points with a squeeze bottle, and the escaping refrigerant should theoretically produce bubbles, visibly signposting the problem. This method can be effective in detecting continuous leaks but usually ineffective on windy days or when dealing with very small leaks.
3. Use an electronic detector.
The use of an electronic refrigerant detector—often called a sniffer—is another way to identify leaks. The device emits a sound or visual indication when the probe detects a leak. Such devices are available at relatively low costs, but your results will only be somewhat reliable, especially when the conditions outside are breezy.
What to Do When Your Line Is Leaking
Low levels of refrigerant in your central AC system don’t just affect your home’s comfort level. They can also cause severe damage to your air conditioner. If your AC’s refrigerant is flowing back into the outside unit, it can harm the compressor. Oftentimes, replacing a compressor is so pricey that it’s a smarter decision to invest in an entirely new unit.
If you’ve discovered a leak in your system or are experiencing symptoms of one, it is highly recommended that you contact an HVAC expert to handle the repairs for you as refrigerant can be dangerous to handle. By doing so, you ensure your system receives the required service and returns to its utmost potential. This not only safeguards your comfort and efficiency but also mitigates your energy bill.