Common Signs of Air Conditioner Refrigerant Leaks

Common Signs of Air Conditioner Refrigerant Leaks

The average air conditioner does quite a bit of work over the course of the hot Utah summer, and by August and the later months of the season, it’s good to check it over to ensure it’s still in good shape. There are a few minor issues you might be looking for, and one of the most common is a leak in refrigerant – the solution that helps the AC cool your home or building to begin with.

At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we’re here to help with any AC repair and service, including refrigerant leaks or related issues. What are some of the telltale signs that your refrigerant might be leaking and could require patching and recharging? Let’s take a look.

Indoor Humidity Levels

Even before you begin to notice cooling issues, which we’ll get to in a moment, you may notice that your space also becomes a bit more humid when refrigerant begins to leak. This is because refrigerant not only pulls hot air from the space, but also moisture content at the same time. Particularly if you notice any condensation or dripping water in strange areas, this could be a sign.

Limited Cooling Capability

Particularly during the hottest parts of the day, have you noticed that your air conditioner just can’t keep up? The thermostat says a lower number as the target, but the actual temperature stays high.

Now, to be clear, this could be due to a refrigerant leak – or one of several other issues. But if you notice this problem along with any of our other signs in this blog, you’re on the right track to finding the cause.

Rising Bills

Even if you don’t notice specific issues with your cooling or humidity, you might notice them on the next month’s utility bill. Systems that are compromised have to work harder and harder to cool, which raise your bill in a hurry.

Extended Cycles

Another physical sign you might notice is an air conditioner that runs in extremely long cycles. If your AC is running for a half-hour at a time without stopping, for instance, this is a clear sign that it’s running behind the thermostat and has an issue like a refrigerant leak.

Hissing or Bubbling

If you want to test whether one of the issues we’ve listed above is due to a refrigerant leak, turn off your AC system temporarily and go outside to your outdoor condenser unit. Can you hear a bubbling or hissing sound? If so, the issue is almost certainly a refrigerant leak. One note: No hissing or bubbling doesn’t necessarily mean refrigerant isn’t the issue, but in cases where it is, it’s likely not severe – more significant leaks will almost always create this noise.

Ice on Coils

Finally, another clear sign that will help you narrow down refrigerant leaks versus other issues is the presence of ice on the evaporator coils of your outdoor unit. There’s no reason frosty ice crystals should be forming out there in the sun – unless they’re coming from leaking refrigerant, of course, at which time you should call our team.

For more on telltale signs your AC has a refrigerant leak, or to learn about any of our HVAC services, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.