Among the common HVAC issues that homeowners face is the issue of refrigerant leaks. The foremost signs that an Air Conditioner displays when it has a refrigerant leak is; reduced cooling and hissing sound. The system takes more than required to cool the home and keeps on producing hissing sounds that are both annoying and irritating. Here we are mentioning ways you can use to find out a refrigerant leak in your Air Conditioning system and how to fix it. Brace yourself:

What is a Refrigerant by the way?

Before we move on to explore how to find and fix a refrigerant leak, let's first find out what a refrigerant is? A refrigerant is basically a gas/liquid that is responsible for cooling your air. Refrigerant leaks or low refrigerant means your system is at a high risk just like insufficient oil in a car makes it vulnerable to damage. Now let’s move on to the ways you can use to suspect refrigerant leaks.

AC Refrigerant Leaks

Sign your system has a refrigerant leak

AC takes time to cool

Usually, your Air Conditioner should not take more than 10 minutes to start giving a cooling effect if it is a Central Air Conditioner. In the case of Split, even 5 minutes are enough to figure out whether or not the system is okay. So one of the signs that there's insufficient refrigerant or refrigerant leak is that your AC will take longer than usual to cool the home and that cooling too will be unusual. For example, even after an hour of Air Conditioner running continuously, you can feel warm blows through the supply vents. When this happens, get alerted! Your refrigerant might be leaking.

Ice builds up around refrigerant coil

Refrigerant line or refrigerant coil gets an ice buildup when there's a refrigerant leak. If your AC is not giving sufficient cooling, and you feel warm air coming out of the supply vents, take the third step on inspection. Go to the outdoor AC unit and check if there's an ice buildup on the refrigerant coil. If yes, your system is certainly leaking the refrigerant.

Electricity bills become are higher than usual

If your electricity bills suddenly get higher than usual, this is another indicator of the refrigerant leaks. With insufficient refrigerant, the system has to insert extra energy to cool. This takes up extra electricity as well. As a consequence, for the same cooling (or even lesser) you have to pay more. So, fatty energy bills are actually one of the possible signs of refrigerant leaks.

How to fix Refrigerant Leaks?

It doesn't take much to fix the refrigerant leaks. The first and foremost thing that you should do is;
1. Find the source of the leak. Find out from where exactly the refrigerant is leaking
2. Fix the leak before filling the refrigerant. Remember that if you do not fix the leak and simply refill the refrigerant, it will take no more than a week for the refrigerant to finish again. Mend the loophole first. Patch the leak!
Refill the refrigerant. Note that you need to be careful about the quantity of refrigerant your system requires. Neither fill it insufficiently nor extraordinarily.  

Most people rely on professionals to fix the refrigerant leaks which is good since it is a little technical job. But there's something you need to remember and that is:
Not all techs are honest techs. What happens with homeowners is that they hire a tech to fix the refrigerant problem. The tech refills it without patching the leak. And mind it! That is on a purpose. They want your refrigerant to keep leaking so that you keep calling them for refilling and keep getting charged. So, how to tackle that?

Well, we've already told you the ways to figure out the refrigerant leaks. So the next time you suspect a leak, call a tech and he tells you your system is low on refrigerant, ask him where the leak is and also to fix it before refilling the refrigerant. This simple step can save you from getting robbed. Your tech will know you know some HVAC. ;)

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