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First Rate Plumbing Heating and Cooling Inc Blog

Is My AC Leaking Refrigerant?

Air conditioners use refrigerant to help cool air as it comes into the system. This isn’t like fuel, though. Rather, the coolant moves through the coils and easily works to cool down the air. It’s not depleted but continues to work over and over again. It is possible for an AC unit to leak refrigerant, and when that’s the case, it’s critical to take action to ensure you protect the functionality of your air conditioner over the long term.

How do you know your system has a leak, though?

Look for These Key Signs of an AC Refrigerant Leak

If you suspect there’s a problem with your air conditioner, don’t wait to call a technician out to inspect and repair it. Sometimes you may notice these other signs first before you know there is a problem.

#1: What does it sound like?

Your air conditioner likely has a humming sound that remains the same whenever it is operational. AC systems turn on and off during their use. However, if you notice changes in the sound or when walking by the air conditioner, you notice a hissing sound, that’s a concern. A hissing or a bubbling sound is a common noise an AC unit makes when there’s a refrigerant leak, especially early on when this happens. If you hear that, turn off your system and call a technician. 

#2: Your energy bills are on the rise

There’s no doubt you’re using your air conditioner all of the time to keep your home comfortable. However, if you notice a spike in the amount of energy you’re using, but the temperatures outside haven’t really been any hotter, that could be an indication that your AC is working harder and longer hours than it needs to. An AC that’s low on refrigerant is going to work a lot longer and harder as it tries to get the home’s temperature down to the desired setting on the thermostat. That’s going to lead to more electricity consumption and higher utility bills as a result.

#3: The air in the home is lukewarm

Placing your hand over an air vent when the air conditioner is running should mean feeling very cool air coming into the space. If it feels lukewarm or even just hot, that’s an indication your system is not operating the way it should be. An AC with a low refrigerant level is likely to push lukewarm air into the home through the vents. That’s because the blower is still working to move the air, but the air is not cooling down as it is moved over the coils. So even though it cannot produce cool air, it is still circulating air through the home.

Any time you notice any concern with your AC, get a technician in to inspect it sooner rather than later. That could help to ensure you don’t tax it so much that it stops working. 

Quality work, exuberant service. Don’t hesitate to contact First Rate Plumbing Heating and Cooling Inc for air conditioning repair in Rio Rancho, NM.

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