Air conditioners use refrigerants to provide cool air and remove the warm air from the room. The coolant is responsible for the major function of an air conditioning system, which is why a Freon leak is damaging to your unit - and to your health!
Why is a Freon Leak Dangerous?
Freon, which is the brand of coolant turned synonymous to refrigerants, is a flavorless, odorless, and colorless gas that can cause your organs to shut down when inhaled or ingested as a liquid. The coolant can bar oxygen getting into your organs, causing them to shut down in extreme cases.
However, the most common effects of Freon on the skin are mild, especially when contact is limited. Most refrigerant manufacturers place additives in their coolants so homeowners can easily detect a leak. Freon, specifically, smells slightly sweet and chloroform-like, while other brands may smell like skunk spray, rotten eggs, or other odors.
A common misconception is that Freon eventually evaporates or dissipates over time, which is untrue. Freon is cycled around the air conditioning system, turning from gas to liquid and back to gas. None of it is used up. If the Freon levels are low, it means you have a leak in your AC unit.
Signs and Possible Causes of Freon Leaks
Sign #1: Air Conditioner Blow Warm Air
The first sign of a Freon leak would be an air conditioning system that blows warm or room temperature air instead of cool air. The fan may be running, and pumping out air flow, but the air coming from your AC unit isn't cold. This indicates that your air conditioner cannot properly cool the air, and is usually the first sign of an AC refrigerant leak.
Sign #2: Air Conditioner Short Cycles
If your air conditioner constantly turns on and off, or completely shuts down, then you may have problems with AC refrigerant leaks, particularly if you notice other symptoms as well: blowing warm air, hissing sounds, or your AC system freezing up. The low refrigerant levels are causing your aircon to overwork, thereby short cycling.
Sign #3: Frozen Evaporator Coils
A refrigerant leak can cause condensation around the evaporator coils to freeze, causing your AC unit to malfunction as a result. As the Freon leaks out of your system, it freezes any condensation that may have gathered around coils, and even around the air filter.
Sign #4: Chloroform Smell
Freon is an odorless and colorless gas, which is why many refrigerant manufacturers add special scents to indicate a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant leaks may smell like chloroform, with a subtle sweetness that is specific to the coolant.
Sign #5: Hissing Sound
A hissing, bubbling, gurgling, or similar sound is most likely caused by refrigerant leaks as the leaking Freon escapes through a narrow opening in the evaporator coil or refrigerant lines. A hissing sound would indicate a Freon leak.
Sign #6: Overheating System
Without adequate Freon due to refrigerant leaks, your air conditioning system works overtime to cool the air in your room to the desired temperature. This causes your air conditioning system to overheat as it grinds to function properly. Your system may overheat as a result, and would eventually cease to work.
Tip #1: Shut Off the Air Conditioner
The first thing to do when you suspect AC refrigerant leaks is to shut the air conditioning system down. Freon leaks are notoriously hazardous to your health, and to the environment, so you would want to stop your AC unit from circulating this gas as much as possible. Shut your unit off, and unplug the appliance to prevent accidents.
Tip #2: Call Luce Aircon Repair Services
Call our trusted repair service to inspect your unit, detect the leak, and repair AC refrigerant leaks safely and professionally! Freon leaks should not be repaired at home, and luckily, our technicians are knowledgeable in repairing air conditioners, and common AC problems. Let us handle that leak for you!
Tip #3: Schedule Regular Cleaning and Maintenance
Keep your aircon cleaning and maintenance on a schedule. As a general rule, you should be having your air conditioning system cleaned once every 4-6 months, more if you have a centralized air conditioning system, or your space experiences high traffic. This will prevent damages to your aircon, particularly the refrigerant lines.
Frequent maintenance also detects weak points in your AC refrigerant lines long before they leak, saving you from future issues with your unit, and the high costs of repairing the problem. Our Luce Aircon technicians can do a thorough inspection of your unit to reinforce any weak points before they turn into problems!
Tip #4: Go to Accredited and Reputable Aircon Repair Companies
Always look to accredited and reputable aircon companies when looking to have your unit maintained. Low quality refrigerant or Freon can damage your AC unit, leaving you to deal with expensive repairs later on. Accredited aircon companies like Luce Aircon use only legitimate coolants, so you can be sure of the quality of service we provide.
Need a top up of Freon, or other high quality refrigerants? Luce Aircon has got you covered! Make aircon maintenance easy as our technicians will keep your unit functioning well for you.
Check out our article on aircon refrigerant leak.