Allergies and AC filters

How An Air Conditioner Refrigerant Leak Can Be Detected And Repaired

If your air conditioner isn't keeping up with the heat as it usually does, the problem could be a refrigerant leak. A refrigerant leak could be a potentially serious problem that's expensive to repair, so you should hire an HVAC technician to take a look at your system before the situation gets too bad. Here's how a leak might be detected and repaired.

Methods Of Finding A Refrigerant Leak

One problem with refrigerant leaks in air conditioners is that the leak can be tiny and difficult to spot. Your system might be losing refrigerant very slowly, so it takes a long time to become aware of the situation. The technician might not be able to find the leak just by looking or listening. Fortunately, there are various ways to detect a refrigerant leak. The technician might use an electronic sniffer that can pick up on refrigerant that's outside the lines. Another option might be to put gas in the system and listen for hissing or put soap on the lines and look for bubbles.

When you have slow leaks or multiple tiny leaks, then dye might be used. This is injected into your refrigerant lines and allowed to circulate for several days. Then, the system can be checked with a black-light to pinpoint areas where refrigerant is leaking out.

Ways To Repair Refrigerant Leaks

Leaks can develop in different places. A valve might be loose, parts of the AC might be corroded, or a copper tube might have a pinhole. A simple and inexpensive repair might just involve tightening joints or a valve. However, it's also likely the technician will have to solder a copper tube or repair other parts of the air conditioner. Depending on the location of the leak, the number of leaks, and the condition of the air conditioner, you'll have to decide if it's a good investment of your money to make the air conditioning repairs or if you should think about buying a new AC.

Once repairs have been made, the technician can pressure test the lines to make sure there are no more leaks. When it's verified that the system is not leaking, then additional refrigerant can be added so your AC works as it should. Under normal conditions, the refrigerant shouldn't leak out of your system. If your refrigerant is low, then that means there's a problem an HVAC technician has to diagnose and repair. Your AC won't work properly with low refrigerant, and the condition will slowly get worse until repairs are done. Speak to your repair technician about your air conditioning repair.