Common AC Issues: Refrigerant Leaks

service-timeWe really value our air conditioners in this part of the country. To be blunt, the idea of living here throughout the summer season without an air conditioner may be enough to drive a number of us toward more temperate pastures. That is precisely why it is so important that you are careful to be proactive and to tackle any potential problems with your home cooling system head on. When it comes to air conditioning repairs in Corona, CA, it is best to act quickly.

Now, there are a number of different problems that could negatively affect your air conditioning system and its overall performance. Something as “minor” as placing your thermostat in an area not representative of temperatures throughout your home, for instance, can cause issues. So too could a dirty air filter — though you should be changing that on your own as needed. One of the most serious problems that you may run into with your air conditioner, though, is the refrigerant leak.

What Does Refrigerant Do?

Refrigerant is not a fuel source, and does not act the way that gasoline in your car or oil for a boiler does. It is not consumed, and that means that low levels of refrigerant indicate a leak. It could be that the system was not charged properly to begin with, but that is not a problem you’d ever encounter if we installed your system. Refrigerant is a heat transfer fluid, and it truly is this compound that allows for your air conditioner to cool your home to begin with.

Your air conditioner has two coils. Housed within the indoor unit is the evaporator coil. Outside you’ll find the condenser coil. As refrigerant evaporates in the evaporator coil, it draws heat out of the air surrounding that coil. That warmed refrigerant then travels outside, where it is condensed in the condenser coil. This allows the refrigerant to release its heat into the air outside. This cycle is continued until temperatures in your home hit the target that you’ve set at the thermostat.

Signs of a Refrigerant Leak

If there is not enough refrigerant in your system due to leaks, it is going to have serious consequences for the system and its overall performance. If you don’t do anything about it, you could be looking at a complete compressor failure. Here are some signs to look out for.

  • Ice on the evaporator coil. If the refrigerant in your system is low, then the evaporator coil will get too cold. That can cause condensation on the coil to freeze. This further insulates the coil, exacerbating the issue.
  • Lukewarm air. When there is not enough refrigerant in the system, the air conditioner will struggle to cool the air in your home sufficiently. If the air coming from your ducts is not as cool as it should be, let us know ASAP.
  • Short cycling. This is a phenomenon in which your system will start up and run only briefly before shutting down again, rather than complete a full cooling cycle. The system may be operating at such strain that the compressor starts to overheat, and the system will shut down to protect itself.

If you notice any of these issues, contact Goettl Air Conditioning SoCal right away.