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Understanding The Fundamentals Of Air Conditioning Refrigerant Leaks

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One of the most common problems with household central air conditioning is leaking refrigerant. Although the cooling system is designed to be a closed system, which keeps the refrigerant completely contained, it isn't impervious to seal wear and damage to the refrigerant lines. However, many homeowners miss the signs of refrigerant leaks until their air conditioner is no longer cooling their home. Here's a look at what you need to know about the signs to watch for when you're concerned about your air conditioner leaking refrigerant.

Prolonged Air Conditioner Operation

When you have a central air conditioner to cool your home, you will get used to hearing your air conditioner operate at specific intervals. You'll get a feel for how long the air conditioner usually runs. If you find that your air conditioning system is running far longer than it used to, or seems to be turning right back on after it turns off, that's an indication that your air conditioner is struggling to keep your home cool. 

The most common reason for this struggle is a loss of refrigerant in the air conditioner, which can make it inefficient. When your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, it won't be able to cool the air as effectively, which will cause it to run far more than it otherwise would.

Warmer Airflow

Central air conditioners should produce cold air that they will push through the vents of your home. In an ideal situation, that air will feel noticeably cold in your home. If your air conditioner is running and you notice that the air coming through the vents isn't as cold as it has been, that's a warning sign you should never ignore.

Reduced levels of refrigerant in your air conditioner will cause your air conditioner to be unable to cool the air sufficiently. That leads to warmer air when it reaches your home. For this reason, it's important for you to reach out to an air conditioning repair technician right away if you notice warm air from your vents.

Sounds Of A Leak

The refrigerant system in your air conditioner is pressurized. That means that the refrigerant flowing through those lines is under pressure, which can make it far easier to identify a leak than you might think.

In many cases, if you stand beside your air conditioning unit outside, you'll be able to hear a refrigerant leak. Listen closely for any kind of hissing, whistling, bubbling, or popping sounds from your air conditioner. If there's refrigerant leaking from a small gap or hole, the pressure in the system will cause it to make noises like these.

Any time you hear something like this from your air conditioner, it's important that you call an air conditioning repair technician as soon as possible. Quick response will help you to preserve as much of that refrigerant as possible, reducing your costs associated with recharging the system.

For more information, contact a local air conditioner repair service.


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