6 Signs of a Freon Leak in Your Cooling System

 Do you have a freon leak in your AC? Find out by learning the signs.


 Even if you're a conscientious homeowner that gets an HVAC inspection every year, it doesn't mean that problems won't crop up in the between inspections. For example, components can fail or start to fail. That second option can prove more problematic than the first.

If a component simply breaks, your AC unit won't work. If a component starts failing, it can cause a refrigerant leak. With the ongoing EPA phaseout of HCFCs, a freon leak on an older AC unit will make for an increasingly expensive problem as time goes on.

Refrigerant leaks don't make themselves immediately apparent, but there are indications. Keep reading for signs that your AC unit has a refrigerant leak.

1. Strange Noises

Refrigerant leaks often cause air bubble formation in your refrigerant line. That can trigger strange noises in the unit, such as gurgling or hissing. Strange sounds of any kind should cause you some concern since it almost always indicates a problem.

2. Less Cool Air

A well-tuned AC unit starts producing cool air almost immediately. If you find your AC unit takes a while before you start getting cool air, it's a sign of low refrigerant in the unit.

3. Dirty Refrigerant Line

As leaking refrigerant dries, it can turn sticky. That sticky spot on the line will accumulate dust and pollen, which causes a dirty refrigerant line. 
If you spot a dirty refrigerant line, you should contact HVAC contractors for repairs. Most refrigerants can prove toxic if handled improperly.

4. Warm Air

In the more extreme cases of refrigerant loss from leaks, your AC unit can actually blow warm air. Warm air from your AC unit calls for immediate attention from HVAC professional.

5. Frozen Coils

In an odd twist, as your system loses refrigerant, it can cause frozen condensation on your coils. While not an absolute signs of a freon leak, it's something you can look for if you spot other signs of a freon leak. Just as importantly, that ice buildup from a refrigerant leak can end up damaging mechanical components of the unit like the compressor.

6. Higher Electric Bills

When the refrigerant leaks from your AC unit, it forces the AC unit to run for longer and harder. It's the kind of thing you can easily overlook on a day-to-day basis. You will see it on your electric bill, though.

All that extra time and effort the AC unit puts in will eat electricity and cause a spike in your utility bill.
Parting Thoughts on Freon Leak Signs
A freon leak or other refrigerant leak will throw off warning signs. That can let you get a jump on repairs before the costs get out of hand if you know what you should watch out for.
Of course, it'll prove easier for you to spot the obvious signs like strange noises and warm air. There are the other signs you should check for periodically if your unit seems to underperform. 
A malfunctioning AC unit can damage your quality of life, but so can hidden pests. Check out our post on pests that hide in your attic to learn more.


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