As we enter summer, air conditioning units will be getting used all over to keep people nice and cool. Unfortunately, many of these might have a problem keeping up with the heat. Refrigerant being low is a common reason for this issue.
Refrigerant is used in AC units. R-22 is the most common. This refrigerant is a “heat transfer fluid”. It absorbs heat from the heat indoors and transfer it to the outside, cooling down the air. Next, this cooled air gets circulated back into the house keeping everyone cool.
In order for your refrigerant to be low, there must be an AC refrigerant leak. refrigerant does not get lost or dissolved in the cooling process. There are some signs that shows it is running low due to an AC refrigerant leak.
Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs a Refrigerant Refill
Your home takes longer than usual to get cool.
Electrical usage is high, due to the unit needing to run for a longer time to cool the house.
Air coming out of the registers is getting warmer.
Airflow from your registers is low.
Copper lines from the air conditioner to the coil inside has ice built up.
On the floor next to the furnace, water has gathered.
If you experience any of these signs you most likely have an AC Refrigerant leak. You should contact a professional to assist you.
You need to decide if you want the unit tested for a leak or not. If you have never had a refrigerant refill on your AC, you can add more without testing for a leak. There might be a slow leak depending on the condition and age of the system. This might be able to keep the new refrigerant in it. However, if you have had a refill already done before, or you think the leak is significant, you need a leak test done prior to adding more refrigerant .
There is more than one kind of leak test, your technician can help with your decision. They know what type is more cost effective and will identify the problem. Technicians can detect refrigerant not in the system with devices that are ran along coils and joints of the system. The system can have an evacuation then put under a test of high pressure nitrogen, this detects air leakage. These are just two of tests that can be done if you suspect an AC refrigerant leak.
There are two different directions to go depending on what was shown with the leak test. A leak that is in a visible valve or joint might be able to be repaired easily, and refrigerant refilled. However, if the leak is in the condenser coil or evaporator and the system is an R-22, you might want to discuss the entire system be replaced, because the expense of the refrigerant and equipment.
Typically, technicians check your AC for refrigerant leaks while doing HVAC tune-ups. Having a tune-up down yearly can help detect a problem before it become major.