Technician checking the operation of the air conditioner

Causes, Detection, and Prevention of Refrigerant Leaks

Air conditioning is one of the major modern luxuries that our society has today. Most homes, schools, offices, and businesses have AC units circulating cool air throughout the building. The system requires refrigerant to be pumped through coils, creating a cooling effect. As the refrigerant moves through the unit, it absorbs heat from the hot outdoor air, reduces the air’s temperature, and blows the cool air indoors. The refrigerant passes through several parts during its cooling cycle. A leak from any of these areas can damage the system.

Causes of Refrigerant Leaks

There are several causes of refrigerant leaks. Each manufacturer has their guidelines for how to handle their equipment and the specifications of refrigerants that they use. Be sure to read these guidelines carefully when handling your air conditioning unit. Improper refrigerant handling is one of the most common causes of leaks. Some parts may be damaged during the installation or service of the unit. These damaged pieces can cause a leak. That’s why AC service is best left to trained professionals.

AC parts are also subject to wear and tear. Lengthy operation of the unit puts a lot of stress on the system, and leaks may occur from this use. The units are typically placed outside in the elements. Exposure to sun and rain can cause rusting of the metal parts in the system. Harsh weather conditions can also damage the sealant that holds components in place, leading to leaks. Other causes include frayed or loose tubing, cracks, and punctures.

Detection of AC Refrigerant Leaks

There are several signs of a refrigerant leak. If you notice that the AC is not working as well as it used to, check your unit to see if there is a leak. Look for signs of moisture where the lines are connected. A dip in line pressure can also indicate a leak. The system will try to pump more refrigerant, which can cause a noticeable increase in your electric bill. A trained technician can use specialized equipment to detect and trace the leak to its source.

How to Prevent Refrigerant Leaks

Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for the proper handling of the equipment. Regularly inspect all parts of the system for any signs of damage, wear, and tear. Look for signs of loose or frayed tubing and cracks and punctures in the parts. Be sure to replace any damaged parts immediately. Tighten up connections as they start to become loose. Again, these tasks are best left to an HVAC technician.

Have a licensed technician check your system once a year. They can identify any damaged pieces and provide necessary repairs or replacements. It is also wise to consider having your unit professionally cleaned and tuned up at this time.

The symptoms of a refrigerant leak can be subtle, but if left uncorrected, one can result in costly damage. It’s essential to know how a leak may occur and what signs could show up when it does. The next steps you need to take depend on the type of leak that you have encountered. Contact Big Sky for professional air conditioning repair, replacement, and installation in Helena, MT. We have a reputation for excellent service and customer satisfaction. Our HVAC technicians are trained to find the cause of your problem and resolve it quickly.