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Common AC Repairs: Refrigerant Leaks

warm-man-with-fanWe all love our air conditioners around here. Without a good whole-house cooling system, it would be basically impossible to live in true comfort throughout the hottest and most humid time of the year. Unfortunately, as much as we rely on our air conditioning systems in Columbia, SC, we may encounter trouble with them from time to time as well. There are a number of problems that can develop with any AC, and a refrigerant leak is potentially among the most serious.

Refrigerant leaks are not going to cause an air conditioner to break down immediately, necessarily. When given the time necessary, however, they can cause costly and sometimes irrevocable damage to the system in question. That is why it is so important that you are able to spot the signs that you may have a refrigerant leak in your air conditioning system. We’ve put together a few tips intended to help you do just that.

What Does Refrigerant Do?

Without the right amount of refrigerant in the system, your air conditioner really is not going to be able to do its job well — if at all. This is due to the fact that it is the evaporation of refrigerant that makes it possible for your AC to remove heat from the air passing over the evaporator coil to begin with. When that heat absorption process is hindered, so too is the overall performance of your AC. So what should you be looking out for?

Ice on the air conditioning system is a big warning sign of a refrigerant leak. If your system doesn’t have enough refrigerant in it to remove a sufficient amount of heat from the air, then its evaporator coil may get too cold. When that happens, any condensation on that coil can freeze up. This creates an insulating barrier that only serves to exacerbate the problem.

Reduced cooling output is another sign that you may have a refrigerant leak in your system. If your air conditioner is not removing enough heat from the air due to a leak in the system, then it will wind up distributing air that is warmer than it should be throughout the house. It’s akin to dropping a single ice cube into a gallon of water. It’s just not enough to make a great difference.

Finally, you may actually hear hissing coming from your air conditioner if it is leaking refrigerant. Remember, the refrigerant in the system is working under pressure. When there is a break in the refrigerant lines, you may be able to hear the refrigerant being expelled at a relatively high pressure, causing a hissing sound.

If you have any reason at all to believe that your air conditioning system is not functioning properly, then scheduling prompt repair services is always in your best interest. Refrigerant leaks are serious, but so too are many other problems that you may encounter. It’s not worth the risk to wait a problem out. It’s not just going to go away on its own, regardless.

Schedule your AC repairs with Fulmer Heating & Cooling.

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