To keep your space cool, your HVAC system uses refrigerant. Refrigerant is a liquid that helps your HVAC produce cool air. It is a liquid that is designed to stay inside of your system. It is not designed to wear down over time or to leak out. Leaking refrigerant is a problem as it is not a safe substance for one to just encounter. Besides the visual sign of a leaking liquid, your HVAC unit will give you multiple signs that it is leaking refrigerant.
Sign #1: Lukewarm Air
First, one of the most obvious signs that your unit is leaking out refrigerant is that it is producing lukewarm air instead of cold air. When you turn on your air conditioner, you should feel the temperature in your home drop after about an hour or so. If instead, you are just feeling lukewarm air that isn't really cooling your home, you probably have a refrigerant leak.
As more refrigerant leaks out of the unit, the air that comes out of your system is going to get warmer and warmer. As a result, your HVAC system will not be able to reach the temperature on your thermostat, but it will constantly run, trying to do so, resulting in more damage to your HVAC system.
Sign #2: Strange Sounds
Second, when refrigerant starts to leak out of your system, you may notice some strange sounds coming from your system. You are going to hear hissing and leaking sounds coming from your unit. This is because refrigerant is stored underneath high-pressure conditions within your system. When it starts to leak out, it will make hissing sounds like the gas in the system will hiss, and the bubbles will come from the liquid refrigerant leaking out. If you hear strange sounds from your unit, you will want to get it inspected right away.
Sign #3: Inefficient Operation
As the refrigerant leaks out of your system, your system will not be able to do its job. Your system is going to run constantly to cool off your home without achieving the desired results. You will notice that the average cycle runs for a more extended time.
Not only does this put extra strain on your HVAC system, but this will also run up your energy bills, as your HVAC system will spend more and more time running. Suppose your energy bills have increased substantially, but you have not changed the way you use or consume energy. In that case, your HVAC system may be leaking refrigerant or maybe experiencing another issue impacting its ability to run.
If your HVAC system is pumping out lukewarm air instead of cold air or is making strange hissing or bubbling sounds, or if your energy bill is going up without a change in your habits, your unit may be leaking refrigerant. You are going to want to call an HVAC company and get them to inspect your unit. If it is leaking refrigerant, they can clean up the leak, repair the damage, and fill your unit back up with refrigerant.
To learn more, contact an HVAC contractor.