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Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

Why a Refrigerant Leak Is Bad News


A steady supply of cool air is something homeowners need to make it through the summer months. A residential HVAC unit has many components that have to work together in order for this to happen. 

If your unit suddenly stops producing cool air, then you need to contact professionals that specialize in AC repair in Santa Fe. The absence of cool air is usually an indication that you have a refrigerant leak. Below is more information about the refrigerant in your HVAC unit and why having a refrigerant leak is bad news. 

What You Need To Know About AC Refrigerant

When trying to understand what the refrigerant in your HVAC unit does, many people think of it as fuel, but that is not what it is. Where a vehicle is supposed to use up fuel as it operates, your AC system is not supposed to “use up” refrigerant. Upon manufacturing, it is filled (charged) with enough refrigerant to ideally last its entire lifespan. So if you’re losing refrigerant, it means there is a leak that has to be repaired.

The hot air pulled in by the outdoor portion of your HVAC unit will need to be cooled down before it is dispersed through your vents. The refrigerant is located in coils which are located in both your condenser and evaporator. Refrigerant is designed to absorb the heat in the air and expel it to the outdoors. During this cooling process, your refrigerant will change from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid. 

How Does An HVAC Unit React When It Runs Out of Refrigerant

Now that you know more about what the refrigerant in your HVAC unit does, it is time to discuss how your unit will react when it runs out of refrigerant. One of the first things that will happen when your refrigerant levels get low is ice buildup on the refrigerant line. This line is connected to the outdoor portion of your unit. 

As the evaporator coil attempts to send refrigerant through the line, the moisture on this line will freeze. 

Signs That AC Refrigerant Leaks Are Present 

Staying a step ahead of serious HVAC repair issues should be one of your main concerns as a homeowner. It is important to establish a baseline for how your unit acts when it is running at peak operation. Knowing how a functional HVAC unit is supposed to act will help you discover potential repair issues quickly. 

If the refrigerant is leaking out of your HVAC system, you will probably notice things like:

  • A drastic increase in your monthly energy bill
  • Issues involving short-cycling
  • Lukewarm air coming from your vents
  • AC leaking water
  • Low airflow
  • Increased indoor humidity levels

As soon as you notice one or more of these problems, you need to take action. With the help of an experienced HVAC technician, you can find and fix refrigerant leaks quickly. 

Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing is your trusted local resource for HVAC services and more. Contact us today!

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