5 Signs of Leaking AC Refrigerant

With summer here in La Habra, CA, you need to watch your air conditioner very carefully for signs of trouble. The sooner you can spot a problem, the more readily and easily you can schedule repairs, and the less expensive those repairs tend to be. Among the issues to watch for its leaking refrigerant, which is very common, especially with older air conditioners. Refrigerant isn’t supposed to leak, but when it does, it results in higher bills, increased stress and eventually a serious breakdown elsewhere in the system. Here are five subtle yet definitive signs to look for to spot such a problem:

  1. Ice on the Coils. When refrigerant leaks, the cooling process is thrown out of balance and ice or frost will form on the coils. Not only does this represent lost cooling potential, but it insulated the remaining refrigerant from the air it needs to cool.
  2. Longer Running Time. The lost cooling potential means that your air conditioner needs to work harder and run longer in order to do its job.
  3. Warm Air. Lukewarm air — or at least air that isn’t as cool as you expect — can be detected by holding your hand up to the vents.
  4. Hissing or Bubbling Noises. If you turn off the air conditioner, you may be able to detect a quiet hissing or bubbling noise: the sound of the refrigerant escaping from the leak.
  5. Higher Bills. Added strain on the system means an unexpected spike in your monthly bills, and while such a spike doesn’t necessarily mean your refrigerant is leaking, it does mean that your air conditioner needs a look from a trained technician.

Refrigerant is dangerous and should only be handled by licensed professionals. If you spot these signs, don’t attempt to address them. Instead, shut the system down and call us immediately.

JC Mechanical is your go-to source for air conditioning repair!

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