how to spot a refrigerant leak

Given how complex and meticulously designed air conditioners are, it’s not surprising that spotting a refrigerant leak could be difficult. Hoses run all over the place, motors whirr and buzz, and this chemical travels through it all.

So when a refrigerant leak happens, you might not always be able to tell immediately. Oftentimes, we can go a significant period of time before we narrow down the culprit to a case of leaky refrigerant. We usually think that it’s because of some other issue, but by the time we figure out what’s really going on the damage has been done. Here are a few ways to figure out if you’ve got a refrigerant leak from the experts at Acree Plumbing & Air!

Longer, Less Efficient Cooling Cycles

One of the ways you’ll begin to suspect that something is up is through your energy bills. When refrigerant has begun leaking, your air conditioner has a hard time cycling normally. It has to take longer to reach the temperature you set it at, which means it works harder.

This adds up. What would’ve been a normal energy bill can gradually become much more than what you usually pay. Although a refrigerant leak directly leads to this, it’s not the only cause. Make sure something else isn’t going on before you attribute it to a lack of refrigerant.

Humidity Problems

Although it isn’t as efficient as a dehumidifier, your AC works to remove some of the humidity from your home. If it seems like your home is stuffier than usual, or if it’s taking longer to dissipate, a refrigerant leak might be to blame.

Abnormal Sounds

When refrigerant is leaking, keep an ear out for any type of hissing, squealing or other strange sounds. The tubes that the refrigerant goes through are highly pressurized – so when this chemical leaks, it produces a jarring noise.

Follow your ears, and it might just lead you to the place where a tube has busted.

Use Soap to Determine a Leak

As we touched on above, refrigerant is pressurized and will produce a high-powered stream when it leaks. But you can’t always tell where the leak is just by listening for a specific sound. Perhaps you’ve narrowed down a few areas where you think refrigerant is leaking from, but you don’t know for sure.

Take some soap and apply it to the areas you are suspecting. If refrigerant is leaking from it, the soap will bubble up, and you’ll confirm your suspicions. No bubbling? There probably isn’t a leak.


These are just a few of the handy ways you can determine whether or not you’ve got a refrigerant leak on your hands. Whether you’ve identified one and want to have it repaired or just want to find out if you have one at all, let the pros at Acree Plumbing & Air take care of you!

Our team has the knowledge and skills to identify a potential refrigerant leak in no time, and we’ll get it fixed if you do. Give us a call at (813) 530-9061 for the most reliable service in Tampa!