Red Flags You May Have a Refrigerant Leak

When summer hits, it’s time to turn on your AC. You can avoid it for a while, but it gets hot and humid here in Coastal Virginia and eventually, the AC gets switched on. But sometimes your AC doesn’t switch on like it’s supposed to, sometimes there are problems. One of the most common problems is related to your AC’s refrigerant. 

What is refrigerant? You may also know this substance as Freon, a common refrigerant brand. Your refrigerant is ESSENTIAL; without it, your AC simply won’t work correctly. The refrigerant is what takes that hot air and cools it when it’s pushed through the compressor and the evaporator. Without refrigerant, you probably just feel hot air blowing through your home. The refrigerant is working hard in the background of your AC unit to ensure your family is comfortable this summer. 

So, what kinds of problems might you run into with your refrigerant? 

Red Flag #1 – Increased Humidity in Your Home 

The first red flag that may indicate that your AC’s refrigerant is leaking is an increase in humidity within your home. Typically your HVAC will work to dehumidify your home within the first few minutes of being turned on. If it feels humid, it’s a sign something isn’t working right. Nobody likes a hot AND humid home. 

Red Flag #2 – You Hear Hissing From Your AC Unit 

Hissing sounds seldom indicate positive things, especially when it’s coming from a home appliance. Suppose you notice a hissing sound coming from your AC. That’s a pretty huge indicator that your refrigerant is leaking. It makes this sound likely because refrigerant escapes through cracks in your coils. It will stop hissing once fixed or once all of the refrigerant has leaked out (don’t wait for the latter to happen). 

Red Flag #3 – Your System is Old 

Old systems can lead to refrigerant leaks simply because of wear and tear experienced over several years. Joints and connections are prone to damage over constant use. Coils may develop cracks or separations as well. These issues can lead to refrigerant leaking and a broken AC. 

Red Flag #4 – Your Evaporator Coil is Frozen 

This is one of the most obvious red flags you can encounter. If you notice that your evaporator coil (indoor coil) is frozen, you have an issue. We mean, there will literally be ice crystals on the outside of the coils. This happens because when refrigerant levels are low, the coils won’t be able to pull heat from outside and they will freeze. This can often be costly to repair. 

Red Flag #5 – Your Energy Bill is High 

One of the classic red flags is that you’re losing money. Whenever you’re losing money or paying more than usual, it’s pretty clear that something is not working as it should. When your AC leaks coolant, it has to work extra hard to keep cooling the air to send into your home. This means that your electricity bill is probably going to be VERY high. One way to notice this change is to compare it to your energy bill from the same time in the previous year. 

So there you have 5 red flags that you may have a refrigerant leak in your AC system. We hope these red flags can help you stay vigilant when caring for and monitoring your AC system. We often forget to check our HVAC system to ensure everything works correctly. Make sure you’re doing your due diligence not to have to repair a bigger problem. If you have concerns or experience these red flags, call us. Our team is here to help – (757) 847-5252. 

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