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Does My AC Have a Refrigerant Leak?

August 3, 2023


Read On to Find Out

When the kitchen faucet is leaking, the problem is right in front of you. Our air conditioners are a little less conspicuous. For example, if your AC is leaking refrigerant, you might not know right away. You’ll likely notice that something is wrong with your air conditioner, but a refrigerant leak might not be your first guess. In fact, many homeowners don’t know the role that refrigerant plays in keeping their air conditioners running smoothly. Refrigerant leaks are a very common issue and, when left untreated, can do serious damage to your unit.

When we’re not offering AC service in Palm Springs, CA, and across the Coachella Valley, we’re sharing tips to help you prevent future repairs at home. By knowing what to look for with your air conditioner, you can take action at the first sign of trouble to minimize your repair costs and maximize the life of your air conditioner.    

First Off, What Is Refrigerant?

Without refrigerant, there’s no air conditioner. Refrigerant is a substance that shifts between a liquid and a gas. It is the chemical responsible for absorbing heat and converting it into cool air.

Refrigerant in an air conditioner is not like the gasoline in our cars. It’s not something that we need to replenish on a regular basis. The only time your system loses refrigerant is when there’s a leak.

Telltale Signs of a Refrigerant Leak Include:

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds. Refrigerant changes pressure as it shifts between liquid and gas form. But when there’s a leak in the refrigerant line, you’ll be able to hear the hissing noise as it naturally depressurizes. If the leak is large enough, you can hear a bubbling or gurgling noise. If you notice either a bubbling or hissing sound, your AC is telling you exactly what the problem is!
  2. Your home feels warmer than usual. If your AC doesn’t have enough refrigerant, you’re going to feel the difference over time. Refrigerant is what actually cools the air. So it makes sense that without enough refrigerant, your comfort is going to suffer. You might find yourself dialing down the thermostat to stay cooler, which brings us to our next point… 
  3. Higher-than-normal energy bills. A refrigerant leak forces your AC to work harder, which will, in turn, increase your monthly utility bills.
  4. Ice on the evaporator coils. When refrigerant levels are too low, the evaporator coils cannot adequately absorb heat. As a result, the excess condensation on the coils can freeze and turn to ice.
  5. The AC is staying on for longer periods of time. An AC without enough refrigerant is like a runner without enough water. Both will lag behind and struggle to keep up. If you notice air coming out of the vents for longer periods of time, this can indicate a refrigerant leak.

We’ll Fix the Leak in No Time 

There are certain repairs you can try to tackle on your own—but a refrigerant leak isn’t one of them. Refrigerant is a chemical substance that should always be handled by a trained professional. Plus, for a number of health and environmental reasons, refrigerant is heavily regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and should only be handled by a professional technician with the proper training and credentials.

At Timo’s, our NATE-certified technicians know how to properly diagnose and treat refrigerant leaks. You can have peace of mind knowing that once we’ve serviced your unit, you can immediately go back to enjoying better comfort and lower energy bills.

If you need AC repair in Palm Desert, CA, or elsewhere in the Coachella Valley, conveniently  schedule your next service online or call Timo’s Air Conditioning & Heating at 760.475.9542 today.

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