Many people rely on central air conditioning to keep their homes cool during the hot summer months, but a lot of homeowners are not very familiar with how their air conditioner works. In order for an air conditioner to operate properly, it needs refrigerant, which removes heat from the air and causes it to cool. An HVAC unit is filled with refrigerant, but refrigerant can't be used up. If an air conditioner unit is low on refrigerant, it is due to a leak in the system. Some common signs that your air conditioner may have a refrigerant leak that require air conditioning repair services include the following.
Takes Longer to Cool Your Home
If your air conditioner's refrigerant level is lower than recommended due to a leak, it will take longer for your home to cool down to the temperature on the thermostat. This is because the air conditioner won't have as much cooling power and will have difficulty creating cold air to blow into your home. If your home is taking longer to cool down, don't just turn down the thermostat a few degrees-- it is much better to contact an HVAC contractor to have your air conditioner inspected for a possible refrigerant leak.
Lack of Cold Air
It can be very alarming to have your air conditioner turn on but only feel warm or semi-cool air blowing through your vents. There are several things that cause a lack of cold air, including a refrigerant leak. Don't continue to run your air conditioner if it is not producing cold air, as doing so will not fix the issue. A lack of cold air needs to be properly diagnosed; if the problem is due to a refrigerant leak, the leak will need to be repaired before additional refrigerant is added to your air conditioner unit.
Strange Sounds from Your Air Conditioning Unit
Depending on where the refrigerant leak is located, you may begin to hear hissing sounds around your inside blower or the outdoor condenser unit. The hissing sound is caused by air and refrigerant coming out of the source of the leak. If you have a particularly large refrigerant leak in your air conditioner, you may hear a gurgling sound.
Puddles of Refrigerant
As a homeowner, it is a good idea to inspect your outdoor condenser unit from time to time to make sure it is in good repair. If you notice puddles of liquid around the outdoor unit, it is possible that it is refrigerant. If you suspect a refrigerant leak, do not try to clean it up yourself, since it is highly toxic. Contact an HVAC contractor for assistance.