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A Few Things To Know About The Refrigerant In Your Central Air Conditioner

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If you hear an odd hissing noise coming from your air conditioner, you might have a refrigerant leak. A loss of refrigerant is not good, and your AC will slowly lose its ability to cool your home as the refrigerant escapes. Here are some things about AC refrigerant that you might want to know.

Refrigerant Is Not Supposed To Leak Out

You might think refrigerant is slowly lost over time and the HVAC technician fills it during an annual inspection. The refrigerant isn't supposed to leak out at all, so if the technician finds the level is too low, that means your AC needs to have repairs done.

Only filling the refrigerant doesn't do much good since the new refrigerant will just leak out too. The AC repair technician has to figure out where the leak is and then make repairs before adding more refrigerant to your system.

Refrigerant Pulls Heat From Your Home

Another misconception about refrigerant is that it chills air so cool air can circulate through your home. Refrigerant really works by pulling heat out of your home. It does this when the air in your house blows over the refrigerant coils in the air handler. Two things happen when the air contacts the coils.

First, heat is pulled from the air and absorbed by the refrigerant. Second, the cold coils pull humidity from the air through the process of condensation. The condensation drains away from the air handler and empties outdoors or in a drain, so you may not even realize it's happening. That's one reason your indoor air isn't as muggy as the hot summer air outdoors.

A Loss Of Refrigerant Can Cause Ice To Form

It may seem odd, but a loss of refrigerant can cause ice to form on your refrigerant coils. So, if you ever see ice on your air conditioner, you might suspect there's a refrigerant leak, especially if you hear hissing too. Another sign of a refrigerant leak includes the inability of your AC to cool your house even though your AC is running. Your AC may run longer to try to keep your home cool, and that might drive up your electricity bill.

A refrigerant leak can be large or small. A small leak might go on for a long time before you realize it. Call an air conditioner repair professional when your AC makes odd noises, has ice on it, or isn't cooling your house. If a refrigerant leak is the problem, the repair technician might patch the leak or put in new coils depending on what's wrong with the refrigerant lines.