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Schaal Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Blog

Is My Air Conditioner Leaking Refrigerant?

AC-technician-outdoorsHopefully not, because a refrigerant leak in an air conditioner can actually do a very considerable amount of damage to that system. That is precisely why we are talking about this subject in today’s post. While refrigerant leaks can prove devastating if left to themselves, there are plenty of warning signs that you may notice which can tip you off to the problem. You just have to know what it is that you are looking for.

While we are not able to give you any definitive way in which to avoid refrigerant leaks entirely, we are happy to share the following information with you so that you are at least able to spot any refrigerant leaks in a timely manner. This gives you a serious advantage in preventing damage to your air conditioner in Des Moines, IA. If and when you do require any AC repairs, for refrigerant leaks or otherwise, call Schaal, ya’all!

What Does Refrigerant Do?

To really understand how detrimental a refrigerant leak can be to your air conditioning system, you must first have a working understanding of what exactly it is that the refrigerant does in the system. Basically, your air conditioner relies on refrigerant to remove heat from the air passing over the evaporator coil. Without refrigerant, central air conditioners, heat pumps, and ductless mini splits simply would not work!

Refrigerant serves as the heat transfer fluid in the system, and moves with ease between gaseous and liquid states. As refrigerant in the evaporator coil evaporates, heat is removed from the air. This process is what cools your home. That refrigerant then travels outdoors, where it is condensed. That allows the refrigerant to release the heat that it’s gained into the air outside. The cycle continues until your home reaches target temperatures.

Signs of a Leak

With all of that in mind, it should be easy to see how necessary it is to have the correct amount of refrigerant in your air conditioning system. So what kinds of symptoms might you notice in the event of a leak? Watch out for the following!

  1. Ice on the evaporator coil. As there is not enough refrigerant in the system to effectively draw heat out of the air, the coil gets too cold. That can cause the condensation that has collected on it to freeze.
  2. Increased cooling costs. The more that you run your air conditioner, the higher your energy costs are going to be. That being said, if you notice that your bill has really spiked, but you have not been running your system any more than usual, it may be burning through energy due to a refrigerant leak making its job more difficult.
  3. Short cycling. Is your air conditioner starting up and running only very briefly before shutting back down, only to start up and repeat the process again and again? This is called short cycling. If an air conditioner is low on refrigerant, then it may overheat as it struggles to cool your home effectively.

Remember to let Schaal Heating and Cooling handle all of your air conditioning services needs.

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