Coolant is also known as “Refrigerant.” It plays a vital role in cooling the house or the building. Typically, the coolant is meant for lifelong function. It means as long as the AC lasts, there is no need to refill the coolant. Nevertheless, things don’t always go as we want them to. There are occasions wherein the coolant leaks. When that happens, the cooling capacity of the AC is compromised. The only way to get it back up is topping the coolant to the predetermined level. The main question here is, how does one come to know when their AC unit needs coolant recharge? Well, that’s precisely what we aim to answer through this article.
Always Rule Out Maintenance First
One thing that every person must do first is, rule out problems that arise due to lack of maintenance. How do you do that? Simply by ensuring your AC gets an annual tune-up right before the start of summer. If the maintenance got skipped for some reason, schedule it as soon as possible.
Ruling out issues that arise due to lack of maintenance is necessary because then you can drill down to the actual core of the problem. This will save a lot of time, money, and inconvenience. On the bright side, maintenance may just catch the problem of a probable coolant leak and get a handle over it before it happens.
Signs That AC May Need Coolant Recharge
Despite all care, coolant leaks may still occur. It is essential is to identify these signs at the earliest and allow the technician to repair the problem. Here are some signs of a refrigerant leak:
1. AC Runs Continuously, But There’s Minimal Or No Cooling – The coolant is responsible for extracting heat and humidity from the air. Whenever there is a coolant leak, the first thing you will notice is that your AC runs continuously, but there’s the barest minimum or no cooling at all.
When the coolant level drops, the AC cannot extract heat and moisture from the air. Consequently, the air that goes into the AC comes out of it with minimal change, if at all.
2. Icing Of Evaporator Coil – Insufficient coolant level often results in ice formation over the evaporator coils. This is also known as freezing of the coils. When the refrigerant level is low, the temperature of the evaporator coils drops significantly, and the refrigerant changes from gas to liquid. As moisture in the air comes in contact with the icy coils, it freezes. The ice buildup increases slowly and steadily.
The compressor of the AC is not meant to handle liquid refrigerant, and hence, in trying to compress it, the unit can develop a major fault. It is best to switch off the AC and let the ice melt. The other option is to let the fan run without cooling. This, too, will melt the ice. But after that, you will have to call the HVAC technician because using the AC in its current position will only make the coils freeze again.
3. Water Puddles Near The HVAC – Eventually, whenever the ice that has formed on the evaporator coils melts, it will cause water to drip down and make water puddles near the HVAC system. Therefore, even if, for some reason, you did not come to know of the frozen evaporator coils, you can still take a pointed guess with the water that drips down and collects close to the AC.
A small piece of advice – never ignore water around the AC even if the amount is very little. We say so because water and electricity are a bad combination that puts the safety of the equipment and yours as well at risk.
4. Hissing, Gurgling, Or Bubbling Sounds – The force with which the pressurized coolant, in the form of gas, is expelled through a hole or a crack causes the hissing sound. The refrigerant can also escape in its liquid form. In that scenario, it produces a bubbling or gurgling sound.
An air conditioner should make no sounds other than probably a gentle hum in ideal conditions. Hissing, gurgling, and bubbling sounds are an indication of leaking refrigerant. When you hear either of these sounds, switch off the air conditioner and ask your HVAC contractor to send a technician as soon as possible. Until the leak sources are fixed, and the coolant topped, it is best not to use the AC.
5. Chemical Odors – The coolant is a chemical that is odor-free. The chemical used as a coolant is enriched with a smelling agent to detect leaks. Some people describe the smell of the added agent as either-like or sweet, while some say it’s acidic. If you smell something similar, it means you are dealing with a refrigerant leak.
What Will A HVAC Technician Do That I Can’t When There’s Coolant Leak?
The coolant is a dangerous chemical that cannot be handled carelessly. Typically, homeowners neither have the right equipment nor appropriate knowledge to handle such chemicals. Therefore, strict advice is not to take matters into your own hands. Instead, call a professional HVAC technician.
A professional HVAC technician will inspect the complete refrigerant line for points of leaks. Once identified, they will plug the leaks and top the refrigerant to the fixed level. Critical is to note that they will test the system to ensure everything is working fine and only then consider the job complete.
Refrigerant leaks don’t happen normally, but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen at all. If your AC is running yet the house feels warm, you can hear strange hissing and gurgling sounds, smell ether-like strange odor, come across frozen evaporator coils, or see water near AC for no good reason, you might be dealing with a coolant leak. Immediately switch off the AC and call a technician for repairs. To avoid such situations, stay on top of the annual AC maintenance routine.
If you live in South Florida and think your AC may have a refrigerant leak, call the expert team of professionals at Aztil Air Conditioning. We provide top-notch services at pocket-friendly rates and that too promptly. Our business is licensed and insured, and all our technicians are certified. To book an appointment, call us anytime at +1-888-729-8452. We shall be glad to be of service.