One of the reasons your air conditioner may not be performing up to standard is due to a Freon leak. Freon leaks can occur in a number of places, including in the evaporator coils and the compressor. They can get worse over time and should be dealt with as soon as possible.
If the leak is outside, the Freon can contribute to depleting the ozone layer, and if it’s inside it can affect your family’s health by getting into the airflow. It’s important to note that your air conditioner does not use up Freon like a car uses up gas. Adding more Freon to your air conditioner will not make the problem go away.
How Do You Know You Have a Freon Leak?
A Freon leak can occur for a number of reasons, such as poor manufacturing, improper installation, major damage to your air conditioner system, and even formaldehyde (yes, it’s a common chemical found in your home), which can deteriorate and corrode the copper components of your air conditioner.
You may have a Freon leak if you become aware of any of the following issues:
- It takes a while for your home to cool down.
Because Freon absorbs the heat from inside your home and brings it outside, if there’s not enough Freon in your system, it will take much longer for it to remove the heat and make it cool.
- Warm air is coming out of your registers.
If your system is running low on Freon, the air that’s coming out of your registers will not feel very cool. If the air is warm, it could be due to a Freon leak.
- You can hear a hissing sound.
If there’s a leak in the refrigerant lines, whether it’s inside or outside in the condenser unit, you may hear a hissing sound.
- Your evaporator coils are frozen.
If there is not enough Freon in the evaporator coils, they will not be able to absorb as much heat, which can cause the coils to freeze.
Why You Need to Have the Leak Fixed
If you find out that you have a leak, you want to have it fixed as soon as possible because it will likely get worse over time. Leaks often begin as the size of a pinhole in the evaporator coils, where the Freon is a superheated gas; however, if Freon leaks as a liquid, it typically happens outside in your condenser unit. If this happens, repairs can be expensive.
Depending on where the leak is located, repairs can cost between hundreds and thousands of dollars. Often welding small leaks is only a stopgap, because more leaks may occur due to corrosion and cost you more money over time. During the past decade or so, aluminum evaporator coils have become more prevalent in air conditioners, eliminating the chance of leaks due to corrosion. As a result, sometimes replacing the coils is the most cost-effective solution.