Why Is My Refrigerant Leaking?


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A common issue homeowners may experience with their air conditioners is leaking refrigerant. This isn’t a problem that’s always obvious because the signs of the leak are often gradual.

A refrigerant leak will cause your system to run inefficiently or ineffectively, impacting your home’s comfort over time. It can also negatively affect your health. Here’s what to look for to identify, fix, and prevent refrigerant leaks.

Causes of Refrigerant Leaks

You might get a refrigerant leak for different reasons, from normal wear and tear to pinhole leaks. Here are the most common causes:

  • Weakening of connections and seals over time
  • Pinholes in older units’ copper tubes, created by formic acid
  • Improper installation, such as overtightened flare connections
  • Flawed or defective equipment

It’s important to ensure you get quality products installed by experienced professionals.

Signs & Symptoms of a Refrigerant Leak

Because a refrigerant leak can be small, especially in the case of pinholes in the copper coils, it’s important to always be aware of the signs of a leak:

  • Little or no air comes from the vents
  • Your home takes longer than usual to cool down
  • Energy bills keep climbing
  • AC has ice buildup
  • Unit is producing a hissing sound
  • Long cooling cycles

Effects of Refrigerant Leaks

A refrigerant leak will cause your HVAC to become inefficient and lead to poor cooling, and it can be detrimental to your health. Prolonged or significant exposure can cause dizziness, shortness of breath, or diminished concentration and balance.

If your skin comes into contact with the coolant, you can actually get frostbite or a chemical burn.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak, it’s important to call a professional technician right away. Never try to handle the coolant yourself.

Choose McCrea Heating & Air Conditioning

With over 80 years in business, McCrea Heating & Air Conditioning has an experienced team prepared to address refrigerant leaks or any other problem with your cooling system. We believe in honest and ethical pricing and on-time service, and we’ve maintained an A+ rating on Angi.

Schedule an AC refrigerant leak repair in northern Virginia with McCrea today. Call 301-304-8789 to get started.

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