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Serving The Greater
Coeur D’Alene & Spokane Area

Serving The Greater Coeur D’Alene & Spokane Area


ACI Northwest Blog

Does Your AC Have a Refrigerant Leak?


There is more than one issue your air conditioner can run into. From broken parts to a disconnect with your thermostat, there is plenty that may cause trouble for this system. But we want to talk about one of the most easily misunderstood issues: a refrigerant leak.

There are misconceptions about the role refrigerant plays in an AC that can lead people to overlook a leak. Let us be clear, a refrigerant leak in your system is something that requires prompt air conditioning repair in Spokane, WA before it leads to an early AC replacement.

Read on to learn what you need to know about refrigerant and the signs your AC has a refrigerant leak.

The Function of Refrigerant in an AC System

First things first, refrigerant is not a fuel. The only “fuel” that your AC uses is electricity.

Refrigerant serves the role of a heat transfer medium. In layman’s terms, refrigerant is used to absorb heat and disperse it outside your home. This is what creates the cool air your AC is meant to provide. If anything goes wrong with your refrigerant supply, such as a leak or a pressure problem, it will hinder the ability of AC to do its job.

Figuring Out If Your AC Has a Refrigerant Leak

While it may start small, the gradual loss of refrigerant will reduce your air conditioner’s ability to cool your home. If it goes on long enough, a refrigerant leak can lead to an early AC replacement. To avoid this you’ll need to get the issue repaired quickly. Here are the warning signs to watch for so you can contact a professional as soon as possible.

  • The AC isn’t producing as much cool air or is producing none at all. With a lower level of refrigerant, your air conditioner will struggle to produce the needed amount of cool air. If you notice your AC is producing warm air, call a technician.
  • Your AC is short-cycling. Short-cycling is when your AC is unable to finish a regular cooling cycle. Usually, a full cooling cycle lasts around 15 minutes. If you notice your AC runs for less than 10 minutes before shutting off, just to start right back up again, it’s short-cycling, which may be due to a refrigerant leak.
  • You hear hissing or bubbling when the system is running. Another sign your AC has a refrigerant leak is when it emits a hissing or bubbling noise. Hissing indicates gaseous refrigerant is escaping the system and bubbling is created by air entering the line where the refrigerant is in liquid form.
  • Energy bills are on the rise despite no change in your usage. High energy bills are one of the best indicators of trouble with any electrical system in your home. An air conditioner battling against a refrigerant leak will eat up much more power than normal to try to “make ends meet,” which will cause spikes in your energy usage.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak or any other issue has developed in your AC, reach out ASAP to talk to a professional technician.

ACI Northwest is here to help with your home comfort needs or concerns. Contact our experts today.

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