AC Refrigerant is Leaking?: Troubleshooting Causes & Repairs

By Fix4U Team
Air Conditioners, Appliances

Of all air conditioner problems, few are as urgent as a refrigerant leak. Leaking refrigerant cripples cooling capabilities while also harming the environment. That’s why promptly identifying and repairing AC refrigerant leaks is critical.

This AC troubleshooting guide from Fix4U Repairs will cover how to spot signs of refrigerant leaks and best practices for completing leak repairs. We’ll also discuss options if your aging AC system has recurring or extensive refrigerant leaks.

How Does AC Refrigerant Work?

Understanding the role of refrigerant helps diagnose problems:

  • Refrigerant is the compound that allows heat absorption as it evaporates and changes states.
  • As low pressure refrigerant evaporates in indoor coils, it pulls heat out of home air.
  • The compressor pressurizes refrigerant gas which is pushed into outdoor coils.
  • High pressure refrigerant condenses back into a liquid state in outdoor coils, releasing absorbed heat outside.
  • The process repeats in a closed loop circulating refrigerant through the AC system.

With leaks, refrigerant levels drop which reduces cooling capacity. Low refrigerant also causes compressor strain which accelerates wear.

What Causes Refrigerant Leaks?

Fix4U Repairs' Technicians Fixing Ac Leaking Problem In Gta

AC refrigerant leaks commonly occur due to:

  • Old Age
  • After years of summer use, small leaks develop at joints as gaskets and seals degrade. This leads to low levels.
  • Improper Installation: Mistakes like over-torqued fittings, misaligned pipes, and unbrazed joints during installation cause leaks.
  • Corrosion Damage: Water sitting in condenser coils mixes with refrigerant and air causing corrosion that eats at copper pipes and joints.
  • Physical Damage: Refrigerant lines can develop leaks if hit by flying debris, rocks from a lawnmower, or car bumpers.
  • Overheating: High operating temperatures accelerate the breakdown of refrigerant seals and copper components.
  • Vibration: The shaking of the AC compressor can loosen joints over time leading to refrigerant leakage.

Signs Your AC is Low on Refrigerant

Watch for these symptoms that indicate refrigerant leaks:

  • Rising energy bills from longer AC run times
  • Lack of cooling or only temporarily cooling
  • AC freezing up as refrigerant pressure drops
  • Bubbles visible on refrigerant line joints
  • Unexplained oil spots around AC system
  • Lower than expected compressor amp draw
  • Soft or spongy suction lines indicating low pressure
  • High suction and low discharge refrigerant pressures

Finding and Repairing Refrigerant Leaks

Start diagnosis by checking:

  • Use bubble solution on joints and fittings to spot bubbles indicating leaks.
  • Use dye and UV light to spot dye accumulating at leak points.
  • Check pressure gauges during operation – low side pressure below normal indicates undercharge.

For repairs:

  • Only certified HVAC technicians should handle refrigerant system repairs.
  • Small leaks can be patched by brazing with foaming leak sealant.
  • Larger leaks or extensive damage requires replacing leaky components.
  • The system must be emptied, pressure tested, evacuated, and recharged after repairs.

Is your AC dripping trouble? Call Now To Fix Your AC!

When to Consider AC Replacement for Leaks

If your AC is over 10 years old, has extensive corrosion, or suffers from chronic refrigerant leaks each cooling season, replacement is likely the most cost-effective option long term.

Continuing to recharge an old failing AC often leads to:

  • Constantly dropping refrigerant levels as new leaks appear
  • Higher energy bills from inefficient operation
  • Compressor failure due to overwork
  • Costly refrigerant recharging 2-3 times per year

Take advantage of lower energy costs and enhanced comfort with a brand new, energy-efficient AC system. The experts at Fix4U Repairs offer top AC replacement options to meet your home’s needs.

Prevent Leaks Through Proper Maintenance

Refrigerant leaks often can be avoided with proper care:

  • Arrange for yearly AC maintenance by a certified HVAC technician.
  • Fix minor leaks immediately to prevent larger issues.
  • Install protective hail guards over exterior condenser unit.
  • Improve drainage around outdoor unit to avoid corrosion.
  • Keep outdoor AC unit clear and unobstructed.

Reduce the chances of discomfort this summer – call Fix4U Repairs to schedule seasonal AC maintenance and repairs!

(647) 363-5205

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