If you find yourself asking that question after reading the title above, then this is definitely the post for you! It is not an exaggeration at all to say that your air conditioner is only able to cool your home thanks to the refrigerant that it cycles through the system over and over. When refrigerant leaks develop, the integrity of your system and the quality of your comfort are at risk.
But how do you know if you have a refrigerant leak? Well, the “good” news is that there are some pretty clear warning signs that you may be dealing with a leak. The bad news is that any given AC issue can have a few different potential causes, and ignoring what you think is a “minor” issue could have some very serious consequences. Be sure to reach out to our Long Beach, CA air conditioning pros if you suspect that you have a refrigerant leak.
Why Is Refrigerant So Important?
Because it is responsible for actually removing heat from your home, that’s why! More specifically, the evaporating and condensing of refrigerant allows for heat to be removed from your home. This is thanks to its ability to shift from a gas to a liquid and back again with ease.
Your air conditioner has two different coils in it. The indoor coil is the evaporator coil, where refrigerant evaporates. As it does, it pulls heat out of the air passing through that coil. The warm refrigerant then travels to the outdoor coil, which is the condenser coil. As the refrigerant condenses, its heat is released into the air outside. The refrigerant cycle continues just like this until desired temperatures in your home are met.
What Are the Signs of a Refrigerant Leak
A refrigerant leak is a serious problem, and one that you’ll want to have resolved as soon as possible. That begs the question of how exactly a refrigerant leak presents itself, though. There are actually quite a few warning signs that you may be dealing with a refrigerant leak in your home.
First and foremost, don’t write off a decline in cooling output from your air conditioning system. New system, old system, hot day, humid day—if your air conditioner really seems to be struggling, have it checked out. If refrigerant levels are low, then reduced cooling output is going to be one of the first symptoms that you’ll encounter.
Also, keep a close eye on your energy costs. Now, the more you run your AC, the more you’ll be paying in energy costs. But if you use your air conditioner pretty consistently and see spikes in operating costs, then it is very likely that you have a refrigerant leak. Even if this is not the specific problem, there is most likely some problem causing this drop in efficiency.
Ice developing on the coil or on the refrigerant lines themselves is another sign that you’ve got a refrigerant leak. If your system can’t draw enough heat out of the air in your home, then it is going to cause these components to get too cold and humidity can freeze on them.