ice and cold pipe of central air conditioning cooling system

Signs That Your Refrigerant Is Leaking

Refrigerant is a fluid that converts to a gas and back to a liquid. Your AC uses it to pull heat from the air and cool your home. Refrigerants are made up of chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and hydrofluorocarbons. The first two types of refrigerants have been phased out, and most air conditioners now typically use hydrofluorocarbons. Refrigerant leaks are sometimes caused by faulty workmanship on the equipment but more often simply by holes developing in the refrigerant line. Though they’re fairly common, they don’t occur as frequently as most people believe. 

Here are some signs that you are facing a refrigerant leak:

  • Unusually high energy bills even though you don’t believe you are using more energy than you customarily do.
  • Warm air coming out of your air conditioner or your air conditioner hissing or even screaming.
  • Frost or ice on the unit’s evaporator coil. This happens because there’s not enough refrigerant in the unit to pull the heat out of the air, and condensation collects and freezes on the coil.

Dangers of a Refrigerant Leak

A refrigerant leak has dangers that go beyond inexplicably skyrocketing energy bills. Some older air conditioning units still use freon, which is a type of hydrochlorofluorocarbon. Freon is stable and nonflammable, but it is toxic and should only be handled by a specialist. If there’s a bad smell coming from your air conditioning in addition to all the other signs, you may have a freon leak. A freon leak can also have health effects if it happens inside the house. They include:

  • Headache
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irritation of the skin and eyes
  • Coughing

If a refrigerant leak isn’t repaired, it can lead to truly life-threatening symptoms that include an irregular heartbeat, confusion, unconsciousness, and fluid in the lungs. Besides its health effects, freon is bad for the environment, and it was among the culprits disrupting the earth’s protective ozone layer. That’s one reason it’s being phased out. Even hydrofluorocarbons, which are not toxic to breathe, can still damage the ozone layer.

Call Upland Services for Refrigerant Line Repair

Our team at Upland Services assists clients throughout the Greater Joplin area because residents of this historic city should never have to face the risks of a refrigerant leak in their air conditioning system. It doesn’t matter if the cause is a poorly installed unit or one that is so old the refrigerant lines are starting to break down and develop pinpoint holes. If you fear there’s something amiss with the refrigerant in your AC unit, call our HVAC specialists at Upland Services today for trustworthy refrigerant line repair.