Four Signs That Your Air Conditioning System Is Low On Refrigerant And Why You Should Take It Seriously

by Grace Motley

Refrigerant leaks are one of the easiest types of air conditioning repairs for consumers to recognize, but they must be repaired by professionals. When air conditioning systems lose refrigerant, they become undercharged. Continuing to operate an undercharged unit can damage it. Simply adding more refrigerant to the system will not fix the issue. The leaks have to be repaired first. Then refrigerant is added which is followed by recharging the unit. 

Why is this important?

Your air conditioning system is a complex system that cools your home. The process involves removing hot air from your home. This is referred to as exhaust. Refrigerant is an important part of this exchange process because it is responsible for ensuring cool air is maintained inside the home. 

What are the signs of a refrigerant leak?

Higher Energy Bills - One telltale sign that a leak is present is a spike in energy costs. If you have the same usage patterns as you have in the past, and your energy provider has not raised their rates, one or more refrigerant leaks could be the culprit.

Bubbling Noises - When the refrigerant in your system is low, it may make sounds that can be compared to a hot pot bubbling due to the water level being low in the pot. You may also hear a gusty sound every now and then. 

House not as Cool - Low refrigerant will impact your system's ability to exhaust heat from your home. The longer you wait, the more the refrigerant levels will decrease. Eventually the system will blow and circulate warm air. This is a sign that you are in need of immediate repairs. Stop using the air conditioner at this point to prevent damage.

Frost and Ice on Components of System - Your air conditioning system is designed to keep your home cool. It does not need to accumulate ice to accomplish this. Ice and frost on condenser coils and other components of the system are indicative that a refrigerant leak is present. Refrigerant should not be visibly accumulating outside the system because systems are designed for it to flow freely throughout them. 

If you suspect that your system has low refrigerant levels, an AC repair contractor, like Atlantic Heating and Cooling, is a good resource to use to determine where the leaks are located. They can also charge systems after repairs are completed. Sometimes air conditioning systems are overcharged, which can affect cooling efficiency too.