A home’s air conditioning unit is important no matter where you live, but it’s especially crucial in a hot, humid climate like Tampa. As we wade into the spring and eventually transition to the muggy summers of Florida, you need to stay aware of how your A/C unit functions. Learn what signs to keep an eye out for should something go awry. One problem to be ultra-alert of is something that can creep up on you. It festers for a while before you’re even aware it’s happened: a refrigerant leak.

If the coils powering the cooling unit in your A/C break or spring a leak, the consequences can build up for some time before you even know anything’s gone wrong, depending on the severity of the leak. What signs you should look out for, as well as what steps you can take to prevent them in the first place, are good pieces of knowledge to have in your back pocket so you can stay a step ahead. If you suspect there might problem – or if you’ve found one and want to know the next steps – the experts at Acree Plumbing, Air & Electric are equipped to handle any and all problems with your refrigerant leak without any hassle.

Identifying leaks

Your A/C unit is a self-contained cycle involving a handful of intricate pieces of machinery both inside and outside your home, but a critical component is the set of coils that house the refrigerant – the liquid that eventually becomes the cool air you feel.

When the coils that hold refrigerant pop holes or crack, the refrigerant begins to leak out; however, the crack might not always be able to spot right away.

You could hear a hissing sound, or you might notice the thermostat needs a significant amount of over-adjustment to reach a temperature it didn’t usually require before. The coils could have ice forming on the outside, or the vents inside might have stopped blowing cold air.

Importance of Spotting Leaks

It’s vital to identify and repair any leaks in your A/C unit early. The benefits vast outweigh the short-term burden of paying to have them fixed, and you’ll be kicking yourself down the road if a smaller leak grows larger and becomes a serious issue.

  • Savings! – When refrigerant leaks, the A/C unit has to kick into overdrive to compensate for the loss. As a result, your energy bill is going to spike to match that extra work.
  • Environmental factors – An improperly charged unit becomes much less energy-efficient, and the carbon dioxide emissions contribute greatly to the greenhouse effect. By getting ahead of refrigerant leaks, you’re helping out the environment!
  • Prevents damage – If an undiagnosed leak flies under the radar, it can gradually become something that can cause significant damage to your home. Water that freezes due to the leak can thaw and seep into the rest of the house and wreak havoc.

Methods for Repairing Leaks

Luckily, there are a few ways to fix a leak, depending on what factors are present in your system.

  • Bubble solution – Soap placed at the point of a suspected leak can bubble up when refrigerant is expelled into it, although this doesn’t work with every type.
  • Electronic Detectors – Split into two types: Heated-diode sniffers and corona-suppression.
  • Halide torches – The flame on the torch will turn from red to green if exposed to the chlorine elements present in the expulsion of refrigerant; keep in mind that not every refrigerant has them, though.
  • Fluorescent dye – Placed inside the A/C cycle and mixes with the refrigerant. If there’s a leak, the dye will show up again. It gets scanned, leaving a trail for the technician to follow to the source.
  • Ultrasonic Detectors – Use special types of microphones to listen to a sound – inaudible to human ears – that the refrigerant leak will make.

Regardless of how the leak is found, it’s critical to spot it in the first place. By doing so, you save money, time and further damage from rearing its head. If you suspect a leak might be present in your A/C system, take the first step in efficient, long-lasting quality refrigerant service and give the experts at Acree Plumbing, Air & Electric a call at (813) 524-6313 today. We’ll have someone come take a look!