How to Tell if Your Air Conditioner Has a Refrigerant Leak

A common problem that can happen with your home's air conditioner is a refrigerant leak. However, you may not notice that you have a refrigerant leak until well after it happens. Here are some signs to look for that indicate you need air conditioner repairs.

The Air Is Hotter Than Normal

A refrigerant leak is going to start out slowly until more refrigerant leaves the system. This is why you probably will not notice a refrigerant leak right away. The air will feel cool at first, but will slowly get warmer and warmer. It will eventually get to a point where you notice that the air coming out of your vents feels hotter than normal, which causes you to look into the problem.

One way to monitor the temperature of the air is to place a thermometer in one of your vents. This will allow you to actively check the temperature of the air over time, and you'll notice if it starts dropping a few degrees. Air produced by your air conditioner should consistently be the same temperature and does not get hotter or colder based on your thermostat settings. 

The Air Conditioner Runs All the Time

If the air conditioner doesn't have enough refrigerant to produce very cold air, the air conditioner is going to take a long time to get your home to the desired temperature. This can result in the air conditioner running longer than it usually does to get the job done. If you have a smart thermostat, look at the history report for how many hours your air conditioner has been on. If you see that the unit has very little downtime, rather than turning on and off during the day, then you know that it is constantly running. Look into the lack of refrigerant as a possible reason.

The Evaporator Coils Are Frozen

Not having enough refrigerant is going to cause a problem with the evaporator coil. This is the coil that removes the heat from the air inside your home, it tends to freeze up when it doesn't have the right amount of refrigerant. This is another reason that can happen in combination with the warm air and constantly running the air conditioner.

Experiencing one or more of these symptoms? Reach out to a local HVAC technician for their assistance. They'll identify the leak, repair it, and refill the air conditioner with more refrigerant.