If your air conditioner stops cooling efficiently or you notice a strange smell coming from the unit, there may be a freon leak. Refrigerant is the fluid used to transfer heat in an air conditioning system, providing cooling power. A leak can reduce the efficiency of your unit and even cause refrigerant poisoning if not handled properly. It is not always easy to identify a freon leak, but if you think your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, it’s important to take action quickly. Learn why your AC leaks refrigerant, how to spot a leak, and what steps you should take afterward.
Causes of Freon Leaks
A freon leak is the most common cause of a damaged or aged air conditioning unit. Over time, components of the AC system will deteriorate and start to break down, allowing refrigerant to escape. Other possible causes include improper installation, incorrect maintenance, and extreme temperatures.
Poor Installation: Freon or refrigerant is used to transfer heat in an air conditioning system. If the unit was not installed correctly, or if there are any weak points in the piping, it could lead to a freon leak. Overtightening of the flare connections on the piping can also cause a leak.
If there’s a freon leak in your home due to poor installation, you may notice:
Thermostat malfunction Factory Defects: Even if your AC is new and accurately installed, it could be suffering from a freon leakage due to factory defects. The refrigerant lines may have been punctured during transportation or installation, leading to a loss of coolant and very poor efficiency. If there’s a freon leak in your home due to factory defects, you may notice: A strange smell coming from the AC to resolve this problem, you’ll have to make use of your warranty and have the unit replaced.
Aging Equipment: Older air conditioning units may break down over time and develop weak spots in the system. This could lead to a freon leak, especially if the unit is not properly maintained. If your AC is more than 10 years old, it might be worthwhile to replace it with a new, more efficient model. Due to wear and tear, the outdoor elements may rust or the rubber seals on the valve stems may deteriorate. This can lead to a refrigerant leakage which could be hazardous and expensive if not detected early. With home appliance insurance, you can easily replace your air conditioner without having to worry about the hefty cost.
Metal Erosion: Extreme temperatures and humidity can cause the metal in your air conditioning system to corrode, leading to a freon leak. This is especially true for old units which haven’t been serviced in a while. If you find that your AC is not cooling efficiently and you detect an odd metallic smell, then it might be time to call an HVAC specialist. To prevent freon leaks due to metal erosion, make sure that your AC unit is serviced regularly and that the refrigerant lines are checked for any signs of damage. You can also check for holes in metallic parts that could lead to refrigerant leaks.
Signs Your Air Conditioner is Leaking Freon
The most common sign of a freon leak is when your air conditioner stops cooling efficiently. If you notice that the unit takes longer to cool or blows warm air, then it’s possible that there’s a refrigerant leak. Higher Energy Bills If your air conditioner is leaking freon, you may notice a hike in your energy bills. This is due to the inefficient cooling caused by the leak, which forces the unit to use more power to cool the space. If you see an increase in electricity consumption even after changing the filters and other components of your AC, then there might be a freon leak.
Warm Air And Humidity
If your air conditioner is not cooling efficiently, it could be due to a freon leak. The warm air blowing from the vents is an indication that the coolant has leaked out of the system and needs to be topped up or replaced. You may also notice increased levels of humidity in the air, as your AC is unable to reduce the moisture levels due to a lack of coolant. Weird Noises If you hear any unusual noises like hissing and bubbling coming from your outdoor unit, it might be a sign that there’s a freon leak. These noises are due to the pressurized refrigerant escaping from the system.
Frozen Evaporator Coils
The cooling effect of escaping freon causes the evaporator coils to freeze up, leading to poor airflow and inefficient cooling. If you see any signs of frost on the indoor unit’s evaporator coil, it could be a sign that your AC is leaking freon. Blocked air ducts and clogged filters can also cause the evaporator coil to freeze, so make sure to check those too.
Longer Cooling Time
Due to the leakage of coolant, your AC may take an unusually long time to cool a room. If you notice that it’s taking longer than usual for your unit to reach set temperatures, then there might be a freon leak in the system. You can check this by resetting the thermostat and observing how quickly the AC is able to cool the room.
Is Leaking Freon Dangerous?
The short answer is yes, leaking freon can be dangerous to your health and the environment. Since freon is a chemical compound, it can cause skin irritation and breathing problems if inhaled directly. It can also cause eye irritation, vomiting, nausea, irregular heartbeat, seizures, and unconsciousness. In addition, it also contributes to global warming when released into the atmosphere. That’s why it’s important to detect a freon leak as soon as possible and take the necessary steps to repair it. If you experience any of these health-related problems it’s best to contact a healthcare professional immediately.
Can I Top Off My Freon With R410a?
No, you should never top off your freon or R22 with R410a. This is because the two refrigerants have different properties and using one to replace the other can cause serious damage to your air conditioner. While R410a is synthetic-based, R22 is mineral oil based. It’s best to contact an HVAC professional who will be able to identify which type of refrigerant your system uses, as well as the necessary repair or replacement procedures.
What Should I Do If My AC Refrigerant Is Leaking?
If you’ve determined that your system is leaking freon, contact an experienced HVAC specialist for assistance. They will be able to identify exactly where the leak is coming from and carry out any necessary repairs. If there’s a need for a refrigerant top-up, they will be able to identify the exact type and amount of refrigerant required for your AC. On top of that, you should also make sure to check your air conditioner regularly for any signs of damage and keep up with regular maintenance so that any potential problems can be caught early on. If you notice any of the signs mentioned above, then don’t wait – call an HVAC specialist.
Contact the professionals at DeZiel Heating & AC for help. Our experienced HVAC technicians have years of experience in dealing with freon leak issues and will be able to diagnose and repair any problems quickly and effectively.
We offer emergency service 24/7, so don’t hesitate to contact us anytime you suspect a freon leak. We’ll have your air conditioner back up and running in no time. We can also provide preventive maintenance services to help keep your AC running smoothly. Get in touch today at (763) 200-5453 for more information and to schedule an appointment.