We all have a tendency to ignore different things around the house. The little things aren’t such a big deal, but ignoring serious issues can create problems for your household. One of those things you should never ignore are AC refrigerant leaks. If you let this issue persist, it will lead to serious cooling system problems and more.

What Does AC Refrigerant Do?

The refrigerant in an air conditioning unit is vital to the cooling process. It circulates through the system, changing form between liquid and vapor as it is evaporated and condensed to absorb heat, transfer this energy, and release it from the home. The refrigerant that runs through your air conditioner’s evaporator coil picks up heat from the air flowing across it, and the refrigerant carries heat outdoors to the condenser coil where it is released into the air. This process removes the heat from your home so your air feels cool.

What’s important in an air conditioner system is that refrigerant is contained in a sealed system. Your air conditioner needs a specific refrigerant charge to perform efficiently, so when the system is sealed, it always has the proper volume of refrigerant. 

As air conditioners get older, components can wear out, and this can cause an AC refrigerant leak. Refrigerant leaks cause your air conditioner to lose the vital component that makes cooling possible, and your system will have to work harder to cool the home as refrigerant is lost.

Signs of an AC Refrigerant Leak and What to Do

If your AC system is plagued by a refrigerant leak, you will probably notice some signs that indicate an issue. These include:

  • Hissing sounds from the area of the leak
  • Air from vents is warmer
  • Ice on the refrigerant lines or evaporator coils

If you notice any of the signs of an AC refrigerant leak in your San Bernardino area home, you should not ignore them! Shut off your air conditioner, as continuing to use it can cause further damage. Issues produced by refrigerant leaks, such as ice on cooling coils, can harm other components of your air conditioning system. Call Sanborn’s Air Conditioning & Heating when you first notice these troubles.

Our technicians will investigate the issues you face, examining your system to identify the source of leaking refrigerant. Damaged areas or components causing the refrigerant leak will be repaired, and our technicians will recharge your air conditioner with the proper amount of refrigerant needed to perform efficiently. We are happy to show you how maintaining your air conditioner can help reduce the risk of leaks or catch them before they cause major damage to your system.

Should You Replace a Leaking Air Conditioner?

Refrigerant leaks can often be repaired, but repairs are not always the preferred solution. Air conditioners and heat pumps manufactured before 2010 likely contain a refrigerant known as R-22, or Freon. This chemical is known to cause ozone depletion and is being phased out. AC refrigerant leaks in these systems spill harmful R-22 into the atmosphere, posing a danger to our environment.

Environmental risks aren’t the only thing to be concerned about. Because of the phaseout, the amount of R-22 available to recharge these systems is limited and will only continue to become scarcer. As of 2020, the production and import of R-22 has been banned. The remaining reclaimed or recycled refrigerant can still be used to repair these older air conditioners, but since there is a limited amount available, it can be very expensive to do so. 

When older cooling units are losing refrigerant due to a leak, replacement is the best choice. New air conditioner models use environmentally friendly refrigerants such as R-410A, also known as Puron, which don’t pose a danger to the environment should a refrigerant leak occur. There’s also a reliable supply of this refrigerant available for repairs, so fixing AC refrigerant leaks in these systems isn’t as expensive. Plus, new air conditioners offer far higher energy-efficiency levels than older models, which will help you save money on your electric bills!

Air Conditioner Repairs and Replacement in San Bernardino

If you suspect a refrigerant leak, call Sanborn’s Air Conditioning & Heating right away! Our technicians will find and fix refrigerant leaks and recharge your system for efficient cooling. If replacement is needed, we’ll help you find the best new air conditioner for your household!