How To Tell If Your AC Is Leaking Refrigerant

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As you prepare your home's air conditioner for winter, it's important that you take the time to address any performance problems or repairs that need to be made before winter sets in. Letting a malfunctioning AC unit sit for an extended period of time could lead to serious damage that will require the replacement of the unit itself.

Refrigerant leaks are common problems that homeowners overlook when preparing their AC units for winter. Here are three signs that you can be watching for to determine if your AC is leaking refrigerant so that you can repair the problem before winter:

1. Your indoor air seems more humid.

Your air conditioner is responsible not only for generated cooled air to circulate throughout your home but for removing moisture from this air in order to help control humidity levels. When an AC starts leaking refrigerant, its ability to properly dehumidify your home's air is compromised.

If you notice the air in your home has started to feel more humid or that condensation is building upon the hard surfaces inside your home, these could be signs that your AC unit has a refrigerant leak.

2. Ice forms on your AC unit's evaporator coils.

As you prepare your outdoor AC unit for the winter, be sure to take a close look at the evaporator coils within the unit itself. When the refrigerant is moving through your AC unit properly, the cold air generated by the cooling process is dispelled into the atmosphere.

If a refrigerant leak occurs, then this cold air isn't dispelled properly, causing it to chill the evaporator coils inside the unit. If you spot ice crystals forming on your AC's evaporator coils, you may have a refrigerant leak that needs to be repaired before the unit is winterized.

3. Your AC becomes less efficient.

Taking a close look at your cooling costs over the summer can help you identify a refrigerant leak. Increases in cooling costs typically indicate an air conditioner that is not running as efficiently as it should. When your AC begins to leak refrigerant, it must work harder to generate the cool air needed to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home.

This extra workload results in the air conditioner engaging in longer cooling cycles than normal and these longer cooling cycles use extra energy. Have an HVAC technician examine your AC unit for refrigerant leaks if your energy costs have increased over the previous cooling season.

Spotting and repairing a refrigerant leak before you winterize your air conditioner will ensure that your AC is ready to perform properly next summer. Contact local cooling services for more information and assistance. 

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