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Greenleaf Heating & Cooling Blog

How Refrigerant Leaks Affect Air Conditioners

You can never expect any air conditioning system to be 100% reliable. Well, actually, we suppose you could—you’d just wind up being sorely disappointed. Investing in a good AC and scheduling routine air conditioning maintenance will keep your system as reliable as possible, but even this won’t make your system completely reliable. You’re going to need AC repairs at some point.

When you do, it is important to schedule those repairs with a trustworthy air conditioning company in Torrance. That’s why you should dial our number. From problems with simple solutions to potentially serious issues like refrigerant leaks, our technicians can handle anything you encounter. And trust us, a refrigerant leak is one of the most serious problems that you might face.

What Exactly Does Refrigerant Do?

Refrigerant is cycled through your air conditioning system over and over and over again. It is not a fuel. It is not consumed by your air conditioner the way that gasoline is consumed by a car. So what use is it? Why is it cycled through the system over and over and over again?

Well, because it is the evaporating and condensing of refrigerant that actually allows your air conditioning system to cool your home! The entire cooling process hinges on your air conditioner’s ability to evaporate refrigerant in the indoor evaporator unit, and to then condense that refrigerant in the outdoor unit.

How Does This Result in a Cool Home?

Refrigerant absorbs heat from the air as it evaporates. By evaporating it in the indoor evaporator coil, the system is able to pull heat out of the air passing through that coil. That cool air is then recirculated around your house, cooling you down and keeping everyone comfortable. But what happens to all of that heat? This is only the first part of the heat transfer process.

The second part is releasing that heat outside. This is accomplished via the condenser unit. That outdoor unit is where refrigerant is condensed, and that allows for the release of heat as the refrigerant cools. That cooled refrigerant goes back in, absorbs more heat, and the cycle continues until the thermostat says otherwise.

Signs That Your System Has a Leak

Now that you have an understanding of how it is that that the refrigerant in our system facilitates the cooling process, you probably have an idea of how serious a leak can be, and why. If you have a refrigerant leak:

  • Your air conditioner will struggle to cool your home effectively.
  • Your cooling costs will rise, even as your comfort nosedives.
  • Your system may start to ice up.
  • Your system may short cycle as it overheats.
  • Your system may eventually be damaged beyond repair.

A refrigerant leak is not a DIY type of repair—few are, but this one definitely isn’t. Left unresolved, a refrigerant leak can damage your compressor to the point where fully replacing your AC is the best, if not the only, option. Be sure to contact a member of our team if you suspect that there is a refrigerant leak in your system.

Schedule your AC repairs with Greenleaf Heating & Cooling.

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