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SoCo Heating and Cooling Blog

Refrigerant: What to Do With a Refrigerant Leak

Refrigerant leaks are an unfortunate occurrence when it comes to air conditioning. Every air conditioner that works to cool a home must rely on refrigerant to do its job, so it makes sense that one of the core problems with an AC unit is a refrigerant leak.

However, due to some misconceptions about refrigerant and some poor craftsmanship in the HVAC industry, people just don’t know that much about it. That’s what we’re here to change.

First and foremost, if your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant then make sure you call our team for AC repair in Colorado Springs. This is going to be the most important thing you can do to ensure your air conditioner remains in good shape.

Secondly, keep reading to learn about what refrigerant is, why it might leak, and how you can better detect this kind of problem.

What Is Refrigerant?

Let’s start with the basics. Refrigerant is a material that is used to transfer heat from one location to another using evaporation and condensation. It’s the central piece of your air conditioner’s cooling process, since it’s the medium by which the system can cool the air. An air conditioner is just a glorified fan without refrigerant.

In the past, AC units used a material called Freon, or R-22 (the chemical name), which was effective at transferring heat. However, recently the material has changed to Puron, or R-410A, which is much more environmentally safe and has practically the same efficiency rating.

Your air conditioner likely has a supply of R-410A inside of it right now that it uses to cool the air in your home. And if the system uses the old refrigerant, like Freon, then it’s likely in dire need of a replacement since systems haven’t had this material for over 10 years.

“Does My AC Consume Refrigerant?”

This is an interesting question but one that makes sense.

Many people believe that refrigerant needs to be constantly topped off in an air conditioner, like gasoline in a car, but that’s just not the case. Refrigerant is not fuel, it’s housed in your AC within a closed-loop system. This means that your AC is installed with all of the refrigerant it will every need throughout its lifespan. It does not consume refrigerant and it will never need to be topped off or “recharged” unless there is a leak.

Detecting a Refrigerant Leak

Suspect a refrigerant leak in your AC? Here are some of the main ways you can detect it. Just be sure you call a professional to have the leak patched and the system recharged.

  • Poor efficiency. A system that’s low on refrigerant will be unable to operated efficiently, causing your energy bills to rise.
  • Bad temperature control. If you’re constantly adjusting the thermostat, then you might have a system that’s unable to reach your demands due to loss of refrigerant.
  • A strange smell. Many people report a “sweet, chloroform-like” scent from leaking refrigerant. It can be dangerous in large quantities, so be sure to get this addressed ASAP.
  • Hissing or bubbling. When a refrigerant line is leaking, it will usually give off either a hissing or bubbling sound.

To have your refrigerant leak addressed, contact SoCo Heating and Cooling. So Cool. So Cozy.

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