Refrigerant leaks and what to do about them

Is your HVAC system making weird sounds and not cooling your house very well this summer? If so, chances are you have a refrigerant leak.

Refrigerant is an essential part of your HVAC system. It is the liquid/gas that actually turns your home’s warm air into cold air. When your HVAC system is low on refrigerant, your AC can’t cool your home efficiently and you risk damaging your air conditioner. We’ll tell you the cause of refrigerant leaks, how to get it fixed correctly and how to keep it from happening again.

What causes a refrigerant leak?

Whenever your system was installed, the proper amount of refrigerant was added. If working and sealed correctly, this refrigerant should stay inside your AC’s coils and constantly recirculate.

However, sometimes holes and cracks develop in the coils, which causes the refrigerant to leak. As the refrigerant level drops, your space gets harder to cool, causing the air to become warmer. Usually these leaks happen due to the age of your HVAC system because the metal coils wear over time. A leak could also be due to corrosion on the coils, like grime and pollutants, due to neglected maintenance.

How to properly fix your refrigerant leak

Some unscrupulous HVAC companies may recommend that you just add more refrigerant to get you through the summer, but this is a very shortsighted solution. Doing this will damage your system and eventually leave you paying just as much as you would to properly fix the leak.

There are two options for fixing your refrigerant leak the correct way:

1. Find and repair the hole(s). Quality HVAC service providers have equipment that quickly detects leaks and repair them.

2. Replace the AC coil. If your system is old or in poor condition, it might be time to replace the entire coil. This option is the most expensive, but when your system is properly repaired you’ll experience better performance, lower energy bills and no more recurring leaks.

How to avoid refrigerant leaks in the future

In most cases, refrigerant leaks are preventable with regular system maintenance. At least once or twice a year, invest in maintenance to keep your HVAC system in optimal condition.

The HVAC professionals at W.G. Speeks can provide you with regular maintenance to make sure everything is running properly, and if it’s not, we can fix it. Call us today at 804-776-5770 and see why W.G. Speeks has been the reliable Richmond, VA heating and air conditioning experts since 1943.