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What is an HVAC Refrigerant Leak?

Your air conditioning unit is made up of many different components and moving parts. Perhaps the most important is the refrigerant. The refrigerant found in your air conditioner is what cools the air as it cycles through the appliance. Once cooled, the air is then pumped through the ducts in your home, allowing it to reduce the temperature. Because the refrigerant is so important, a leak is a big deal. To better understand why a refrigerant leak could warrant an HVAC replacement in Buford, GA, here’s what you need to know.

What Is Refrigerant?

Refrigerant is a fluid mixture that is used in conjunction with a heat pump. Throughout the refrigeration cycle, refrigerant transitions from a liquid to gas throughout the pipes and tubes within the unit. Without this substance, it would be impossible for your air conditioning unit to cool the hot air it intakes from the environment that surrounds the appliance.

Detecting a Refrigerant Leak

Because refrigerant is so important to the cooling process of your AC unit, it’s very apparent when there’s a leak. If the coils become frozen or if you notice a lack of cooling power coming from your unit, a leak could be to blame. Other signs include registers blowing luke-warm air, elevated utility bills, hissing noises coming from the pipes, or pooling around your indoor unit. No matter which of these signs you find, it’s important to act quickly to find and repair the refrigerant leak.

Repairing a Leak

If you suspect a leak, don’t attempt to repair it yourself. Freon, the gas used in refrigerant, can be dangerous. When exposed to this gas for a long period of time, it can destroy the oxygen cells needed for lungs and brain function. It’s always best to leave the repair to an expert. Some experts may recommend refilling the refrigerant. While this will restore cool airflow throughout your home, it doesn’t address the underlying issue of the leak. Ensure that your chosen HVAC professional not only refills the refrigerant, but also locates the leak and completely repairs it. Otherwise, you’ll have additional leaks in the future. If your HVAC system is aging, your trusted professional may recommend replacing the unit altogether. While this isn’t ideal, an updated system is far less likely to experience leaks. Plus, they’re much more efficient.

It’s important to inspect both the exterior and interior unit of your HVAC system on a regular basis. If you notice any of the signs of a refrigerant leak, contact you air conditioning specialist right away. As always, schedule regular HVAC maintenance in Buford, GA, to prevent small issues from becoming big problems.

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