One of the key components of air conditioning is refrigerant. Refrigerant (often referred to as Freon) is a necessary component of all air conditioning systems. When something goes awry and causes the refrigerant to leak, it can mean less cooling power, higher electricity bills, and an overall less comfortable home. And who wants that? Not you, Florida homeowner.
If a suspected Freon leak has brought you here, you’re in luck. Read on to learn five common symptoms of an AC Freon leak, plus the steps you should take to remedy the problem.
What Is Freon?
Freon is typically used as a refrigerant. A refrigerant is a fluid or gaseous compound that absorbs heat from its environment. When combined with other components like compressors or evaporators, the refrigerant can provide your home with the greatest gift of all…air conditioning.
What Does Freon Do?
The refrigerant cycle looks like this:
Your air conditioning system contains refrigerant inside of the evaporator coils. The refrigerant works to absorb heat from the indoor air. As the heat is absorbed, it transitions from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid and the refrigerant is then sent outside. A fan blows hot air over the coils which is exhausted outside of your home.
From there, the refrigerant cools and returns to a low-pressure gas. Another fan inside of your home then blows air over the now-cooled coils, resulting in cold air being dispersed through your home.
Put simply, refrigerant works to remove hot air from your home while producing cold air. If you want your home to be cool and comfortable, the refrigerant is a must!
Important Note: While we’re on the subject, it’s important to note that Freon is actually a registered trademark of The Chemours Company, which uses it for various halocarbon products. Freon is being phased out in air conditioning systems due to its negative effects on the ozone layer. Still, many people use ‘Freon’ and ‘refrigerant’ interchangeably, which is why we are using the term ‘Freon’ here!
5 Signs of a Freon Leak in Your AC
Think your air conditioning system might have a Freon leak? Look out for these symptoms.
1. Your Air Conditioner Isn’t Blowing Cold Air
If your air conditioner isn’t blowing as cold as it used to, it may be due to loss of refrigerant. If you can reach the air vents, place your hand in front of them when your air conditioner is running. Does the air feel cold or just meh?
2. Your Home is Noticeably Warmer
Living in Florida, it doesn’t take long for us to notice if our air conditioner isn’t working as it usually does. If you’re noticing your home is warmer than usual (or more humid and less comfortable in general), it could be due to a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant doesn’t just produce cold air, it works to remove warm air from inside your home. Less refrigerant means less heat-fighting power.
3. The Evaporator Coils Have Frozen Over
Seeing ice on any component of your air conditioner is the last thing we expect in Florida, but it can happen, and if it does, it may be a sign that your system is low on refrigerant. When your air conditioning system is running as it should, the evaporator coils are constantly working to absorb heat, meaning they run hot. When your system is low on refrigerant, the coils don’t adequately absorb heat. Instead, the coils can freeze. When the ice begins to evaporate, it will melt and drip onto the floor. This might not seem like a big deal, but frozen evaporator coils can cause your system to break down, leaving you with a hefty repair bill.
4. Your Air Conditioner is Making a Hissing Noise
Freon will leak from your air conditioning system if there is a crack or hole in an evaporator coil. The pressure built up in the coils needs somewhere to go, which can result in a hissing sound. A larger leak may cause a gurgling noise.
5. Your Electricity Bills are Inexplicably High
Not only do Freon leaks affect your home’s comfort, but they also affect your electricity bills too. If your electricity bills are inexplicably higher than usual, don’t brush off the possibility of a refrigerant leak. Often times when our home is uncomfortably warm, we reach for the thermostat. But adjusting the thermostat to a cooler temperature when you have a Freon leak will only drive up your electricity bills.
What Causes Freon Leaks?
A common misconception is that refrigerant slowly leaks from your air conditioner with each use, so topping off the refrigerant is fine. This a myth. Refrigerant should never have to be “topped off” or charged. If the refrigerant in your unit is low, there is likely an underlying issue. There are a few different things that can cause a Freon leak, including:
– Poor installation
– Factory defects in your air conditioning system
– Metal corrosion
What Should You Do? It’s Not as Simple as Getting a Refill
If there is one thing to remember it’s that a Freon leak is not normal, so if you suspect your air conditioning system is leaking Freon, have it checked out sooner rather than later.
On that note, fixing a Freon leak isn’t as simple as topping it off like you might do with the oil in your car. Any air conditioning company who simply adds more refrigerant to your system is cutting corners.
The type of repair needed for your system will depend on the underlying cause of the refrigerant leak. In some cases, your trusted AC technician might be able to repair any leaks. In other cases, it might be smarter to replace your air conditioning system.
Contact Colman Heating & Air for Freon Leak Repair In Titusville, Florida
It can be tough to tell whether or not your AC has a Freon leak. Instead of second-guessing, give the professionals at Colman Air a call. Our trusted team will quickly and efficiently diagnose any potential refrigerant leaks in your system and help you determine the right repair. For more information, give us a call at (321) 360-7566 or contact us here.