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5 Signs of AC Refrigerant Leak and How to Fix Them

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Refrigerant leaks are relatively common issues with air conditioners, especially older models that have been through wear and tear. There are a couple of signs that may tell you of refrigerant leaks either in the evaporator coils, or through the refrigerant lines of your air conditioning unit.

It is important to note that you should not be repairing holes in your air conditioner refrigerant lines as coolant gas is highly hazardous to your health and to the environment. When in doubt, unplug your air conditioner, and contact a licensed HVAC technician to solve the problem.

Signs of Air Conditioner Refrigerant Leaks

Sign #1: Air Conditioner Not Blowing Cold Air

If your unit fails to blow cold air into the room, it may indicate an AC refrigerant leak as there is not enough coolant to properly remove the warm air, and cool down the air in the room. While there are a number of other factors that cause an aircon unit to blow warm, room temperature air, refrigerant leaks are common causes.

Sign #2: Frozen Evaporator Coils

An air conditioner refrigerant leak may cause the condensation on the coils to freeze, resulting in frozen evaporator coils. The frozen condensation can damage the evaporator coil, causing the metal components to rust or corrode. The HVAC refrigerant leak may also cause the AC unit to drip water as the ice melts.

Sign #3: Hissing Sounds or Gurgling Sound

A hissing, gurgling, or bubbling sound is most likely an AC refrigerant leak, as the coolant escapes through small, narrow openings in the refrigerant line, or the evaporator coil. These sounds, coupled with an AC unit leaking refrigerant indoors, are tell-tale signs of a refrigerant leak.

If you hear a hissing, gurgling, or bubbling noise coming from your aircon unit, turn the AC system off immediately, and unplug the appliance. Contact a Luce Aircon technician to find and repair the leak, or replace any necessary parts to get your aircon up and running smoothly again.

Sign #4: Strange Sweet Ether or Chloroform Smell

While refrigerant is a colorless, odorless, and flavorless substance, manufacturers often add a scent to alert the homeowner of a refrigerant leak. The smell is often sweet, with an odor of either ether or chloroform. Some people claim the smell of a refrigerant leak is similar to hospital disinfectant, with a clean, chemical-like odor.

Sign #5: Higher Electric Bills

A Freon leak would cause your HVAC system to pull more energy to function without enough coolant in the system, leading to higher electric bills. A digital energy monitor will be able to tell you how much electric consumption your air conditioner uses so you can take note of any changes in your electric bill.

Troubleshooting Guide

Tip #1: Use Accredited or High-quality Coolant

Low quality refrigerant is often cut with other materials, creating a high-moisture coolant that leaves a residue within the coils as it passes through the AC unit. These low-quality refrigerants force the compressor to work harder, causing you to get a compressor replacement later on. Use only high-quality and legitimate refrigerants.

Tip #2: Contact a Repair Service Immediately

Do not attempt to fix an AC refrigerant leak yourself, particularly if you have no prior experience in repairing these issues. You may end up damaging your air conditioner further, or cause damage to yourself with improper handling of the coolant. Always contact a trusted aircon repair instead.

Tip #3: Clean your Air Conditioner Regularly

Clean the aircon filter once every two weeks, as well as the evaporator coils. Wipe down the interior unit, and spray a jet of water through the hose in the outdoor unit to dislodge any debris that may have gotten inside. Proper cleaning of your aircon units will help maintain the good condition of your appliances longer.

Tip #4: Avoid Overworking Your Air Conditioner

Overworking your air conditioning system leads to a plethora of problems. For one, your air conditioner can break down much faster, as it works around the clock to provide you with cool air 24/7. Avoid using your air conditioner beyond its cooling capacity, and let the appliance have sufficient cooldown period between uses.

Overworking an aircon unit is most common in commercial and private spaces, as well as households with inverter type aircons. These units may be able to withstand prolonged use at lower costs, but improper usage and extreme temperature settings will cause these units to break down faster than usual.

Trust a Professional!

We have vast experience in aircon cleaning, maintenance, diagnostics, and repair across different brands of aircon systems! When in doubt, trust in us to provide you quality service at a moderate price, and we'll keep your air conditioning system working smoothly for years to come. Contact us now for the best aircon servicing in Singapore!

Check out our article on how to check aircon gas leaks
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This article is written by our passionate staff writers who seek to share our knowledge from our business

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