5 Signs of a Refrigerant Leak

air conditioner

Have you noticed that your AC isn’t cooling your home as it should? Are there unexplained puddles of waters around your AC unit? These might be signs of a refrigerant leak. As well as being a sign of a damaged AC, leaking refrigerant can cause a variety of health issues if one isn’t careful. A properly running AC should never lose refrigerant, and there’s more to fixing the problem than just adding more refrigerant. Protect your home this summer and learn how to detect the signs of a refrigerant leak with the help of Roy’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.

Health warning: While accidental refrigerant poisoning is unlikely in a well-ventilated area, you should still stay vigilant. If you suspect you or someone else is suffering from refrigerant poisoning, contact emergency services immediately, especially if there are symptoms.

Symptoms of mild to moderate refrigerant poisoning include:

  • headache
  • irritation of eyes, ears, and throat
  • dizziness
  • frostbite if exposed to quickly expanding gas or liquid coolant
  • vomiting
  • chemical burn on the skin
  • nausea
  • coughing

Here are five signs your AC is leaking refrigerant.

Loss of cooling power. When your AC is running, the refrigerant absorbs heat from your home and releases it outside. If there’s less of it in the AC, you’ll have a harder time reaching comfortable temperatures.

Registers not blowing cold air. One way to quickly see if your AC is leaking refrigerant is to check the registers (vents.) If the air isn’t as cool as it should be, it might be a sign of a leak.

Hissing or gurgling noises. A refrigerant leak is caused by holes and cracks in the coils that circulate the refrigerant. If you hear hissing noises from your AC, it could be a variety of problems, but a leak is one of them. If you hear a gurgling noise, that’s a sign of a bigger leak.

Frozen coils. If there’s not enough refrigerant in the evaporator coils, they won’t be able to adequately absorb heat. This can cause the condensation on them to freeze, which can sometimes melt and drip on the floor. An iced evaporator coil can lead to a breakdown, resulting in an expensive repair bill.

Higher electric bills. When your AC isn’t working at full capacity, you’ll be trying to make it run harder. This’ll cause your electric bills to rise.

What should I do next?

The above issues have a variety of causes, so you’ll need professional help to confirm a leak. Your best bet is to call in a reputable AC company, like Roy’s, to check your unit for refrigerant leaks. If there are just a few leaks, it won’t be too hard to get them fixed. However, if there are a lot or they’re serious, you might need a new coil. In some cases, you might have to decide to get a new unit altogether.

When making your decision, there’s an important question to ask and a deadline to consider. What refrigerant does your unit use? If it’s R22, keep in mind that the EPA has mandated that it no longer be used after 2020 due to its effect on the environment. If your unit uses R22, which is likely if it was made before 2010, you’ll have to consider if you want to deal with increased refrigerant prices or if you want to retrofit it to use a new refrigerant.

Why should I trust Roy’s when dealing with a refrigerant leak?

Roy’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling has helped people in the Western New York area with refrigerant leaks and other AC problems for over four decades. We’re fully aware of how dangerous and inconvenient a refrigerant leak can be for families. That’s why we offer 24-hour emergency service so we’ll always be there to keep your family safe. If you’d like to know more about our services, call Roy’s today!