How Does an Air Conditioner Refrigerant Leak Develop and How Can It Be Fixed?

In order for your air conditioner to operate at its maximum performance and efficiency levels, it must have the right amount of refrigerant. But leaks can develop in refrigerant lines over time and allow the valuable substance to leak out, which can lead to a whole host of problems. Today we’re going to talk about how an air conditioner refrigerant leak can develop and how it can be repaired!

How does an air conditioner refrigerant leak develop?

Contrary to what some homeowners believe, air conditioners do not need to be recharged with refrigerant every year. In fact, if your air conditioner is operating properly, it should always have the same amount of refrigerant. The only way that your system will lose refrigerant over time is if it has a refrigerant leak.

There are a few different things that can cause a refrigerant leak. One of the most common causes is corrosion of the refrigerant lines due to the buildup of formic acid over time. Another possibility is that your air conditioner was installed poorly and your refrigerant lines have loose connections and joints. Finally, your refrigerant lines could have been accidently punctured in some way or another.

What happens to a system with an air conditioner refrigerant leak?

A refrigerant leak will cause a whole host of problems with your air conditioner, including:

  • Inadequate cooling. Refrigerant is what makes it possible to carry heat out of your home and lower your indoor temperature levels. If there is not enough refrigerant to do the job, your home will have a tough time staying cool.
  • Inefficient operation. Because your air conditioner will not cool your home as effectively with a refrigerant leak, it will have to operate much more often in order to compensate. This can be a big drain on your monthly cooling costs.
  • Frozen coils. Without enough refrigerant to absorb heat, your indoor coils will stay too cold and allow condensation to freeze over on them.
  • Overheating compressor. On the other end of the spectrum, low refrigerant levels will not allow your outdoor unit’s components to cool down properly, which can cause your compressor to overheat.

How can an air conditioner refrigerant leak be repaired?

An air conditioner refrigerant leak is a serious problem that must be taken care of by a trained professional. Simply adding more refrigerant is not enough to fix the problem. Instead, the leak must first be repaired and tested. After it has been determined that the leak is fully sealed, the proper amount of refrigerant can be added to your system.

If you have any questions about an air conditioner refrigerant leak, or if you’d a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Cabrillo, your Bay Area plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractor.