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Coventry & Gattis A/C, Inc. Blog

Refrigerant Leaks: A Complete Guide to Detection

There’s one important rule of air conditioning that none of us can forget: you can’t have AC without refrigerant. If your air conditioner were to get rid of all the refrigerant coursing through its lines, it would inevitably turn into nothing more than a giant fan that didn’t do more than your average ceiling fan or box fan.

In fact, the refrigerant and the compressor is exactly what separates your air conditioner from a fan or other comfort system—it actually cools the air as opposed to circulating it and making it feel cooler. This is a big difference and something that might not be as easy to grasp for homeowners.

But how do you detect a refrigerant leak? And does a minor refrigerant leak still require AC repair in Grapevine, TX? This blog post will break down everything you need to know about refrigerant leaks so you can easily detect them and get your system fixed pronto.

The Problem With Refrigerant Leaks

Air conditioners require refrigerant to run properly. If even a minor amount of refrigerant is absent from your system, it will start working harder and running in more frequent cycles in order to compensate and meet the demand on your thermostat.

As we’ll get into below, this is always a problem and requires professional repairs.

Detecting a Leak

So, what are the signs of a current refrigerant leak? Here are several:

  • Hissing or bubbling noise. When refrigerant leaks out of the system, it can cause a hissing noise as the gas escapes. Or, in certain circumstances depending on where the leak is, oxygen can leak into the system and cause a bubbling noise. Both of these signal the need for repairs.
  • High electricity bill. An air conditioner with a lower amount of refrigerant will cost more electricity to run on a regular basis.
  • Lukewarm air. Like we mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, without refrigerant, your air conditioner is just an oversized fan. If it feels less like the AC is on and more like a fan is blowing warm air through your home, it might be lacking in refrigerant.
  • Short cycling. An air conditioner will run in short, frequent cycles if it’s low on refrigerant to compensate for the difference.

Does a Leak Warrant a Repair?

Yes. Even the tiniest refrigerant leak that you detect very early on still requires professional support. Why? Here’s a good breakdown of why any refrigerant repair always requires repair.

Air conditioners are a closed-loop system, meaning they are set up with all of the refrigerant they will ever need. They don’t lose any refrigerant when they run and they theoretically shouldn’t need any additional refrigerant for the rest of their lifespans. It’s only when there’s a problem does the system start running out of this material. But when it does, it needs to work harder, consume more electricity, and the system generally suffers more stress. Your AC could succumb to a lower life expectancy, poor efficiency rates, and even worse home comfort as a result of even the most minor refrigerant leaks.

Since 1971, customers have trusted Coventry & Gattis A/C, Inc. for their AC repairs. Schedule an appointment today.

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