The hottest days of summer is when an ill-maintained air conditioner may finally give up. This is mainly because most Northern California homeowners ignore the warning signs of low refrigerant levels. Lack of refrigerant can cause widespread problems related to your comfort. You should never attempt to fix low refrigerant levels on your own. Instead, you should have a trained technician repair the leak before topping off the refrigerant.
These are a few warning signs indicating low refrigerant levels:
1. Cooling Takes a Long Time
An AC unit running low on refrigerant will take longer to cool a house. You may not be able to tell during July and August when an air conditioner is already taxed to the max. Based on this, lack of refrigerant will place an additional strain on the system. You should ask a professional to take a look at the unit if you suspect the air conditioner to be taking especially long to cool your house regardless of the hot weather outside.
2. Never Achieves the Set Temperature
Your air conditioner may never achieve the set temperature on the thermostat if there is a refrigerant leak or it is low on refrigerant. There may be a leak in the ductwork that prevents cool air from getting into the house. The problem may also be a clogged air filter. An experienced technician will check refrigerant levels and all other aspects to ensure your AC runs as desired.
3. Cool Air Not Blowing from Vents
You should feel cool air blowing from the vents as you walk past them. There may be low refrigerant levels if lukewarm or warm air is blowing from the vents. Stemming from this, there may be other potential problems as well. For instance, a clogged or dirty air filter will starve the system of air. Frozen evaporator coils may also prevent the air conditioner from cooling as it is supposed to.
4. Bubbling or Hissing Sound
There is a high possibility that there may be a leak somewhere in the unit if you hear a hissing or a bubbling sound. You should not run the unit without having it checked from an experienced HVAC contractor. You may experience other signs listed in this post if the problem is a refrigerant leak. In any case, running your unit can be dangerous.
5. Leaking Water Around the Furnace
Homeowners should never ignore water puddles around their furnace. Ice can build up on refrigerant lines causing water pools. You should call an AC tech to troubleshoot the leak and repair it.
6. Increase in Energy Bills
Energy bills are likely to spike during the summer season. Moreover, an abnormally high spike may indicate a problem with the air conditioner. The AC needs to work especially hard if the refrigerant levels are low to cool a space. This additional running time uses up more energy.
Causes of Refrigerant Leaks?
There are several reasons that can cause refrigerant leaks in a unit:
- Age related wear and tear
- Failed components
- Corroded or weakened connections and joints
It’s vital that you never ignore these signs of refrigerant leaks. It’s common for leaks to occur because of a wide array of reasons. Never allow a technician to top off the refrigerant before fixing the leak. That is only money wasted.