Skip to main content

Experts forecast Madisonville, Kentucky, to have seven hot days this 2024. That may not seem a lot, but a hot day can be very uncomfortable, even dangerous. After all, it has a “feels like” temperature of over 108 ºF.

Such high temperatures can put you at risk of heat-related illnesses.

That’s why you must ensure your air conditioner works optimally before those hot days arrive. That includes monitoring it for a potential refrigerant leak. Because if your AC leaks refrigerant, it won’t be able to cool your home adequately.

To that end, we created this guide discussing common symptoms of refrigerant leaks. So read on, as we’ve also shared tips on what to do if you suspect your AC has this problem.

How to Tell Your AC Has a Refrigerant Leak

Your AC’s refrigerant absorbs heat and moisture from the air inside your home. That makes it easier for the cold evaporator coils to cool the air.

A refrigerant leak will interfere with that process, causing the following symptoms and problems.

Insufficient Cooling

Typically, an air conditioner leaking refrigerant cannot produce enough cool air. That’s because, as mentioned above, this substance absorbs heat from the air. So, if its levels drop due to a leak, the air will remain too warm for the evaporator coils to cool it effectively.

Extended Cooling Cycles

Even if your air conditioner can’t cool the air properly, it’ll keep trying to reach your desired temperature. It may do so by running longer cycles.

For reference, a typical cooling cycle is only about 15 minutes. If your AC’s cycles are longer than that, it may indicate a refrigerant leak.

Your Home Feels Overly Humid or Stuffy

Your air conditioner not only cools your home down but also helps maintain optimal indoor humidity levels. It does so with the help of the refrigerant that sucks moisture from the air.

So, if your home cooling system starts to lose refrigerant due to a leak, it’ll also begin to lose its ability to dehumidify your indoor air. That can result in your indoor space feeling oppressively muggy.

There’s Ice on Your AC

Your air conditioner can ice up when the evaporator coils’ temperature falls below freezing. Such can happen because of a low refrigerant level, which often results from a leak.

An iced-up AC is a problem because it restricts the system’s ability to cool the air. However, it can lead to even more issues, such as water damage from the melting ice. Water damage is expensive to fix and can promote mold growth, which can have adverse health effects.

Higher Cooling Bills

Whenever your air conditioner has to work harder, it consumes more energy. As a result, your energy bills increase, wasting money since your AC isn’t doing its job right in the first place.

You don’t want that, especially since Madisonville’s electricity rates are already over 3% higher than Kentucky’s average price.

Hissing Noises From the Indoor AC Unit

When refrigerant leaks out of your air conditioner, it comes out pressurized. That pressure often generates a hissing or bubbling noise.

So, if you hear those noises from your indoor AC unit and experience the symptoms above, you likely have a refrigerant leak.

What to Do if You Think You Have an AC Refrigerant Leak

The symptoms of a refrigerant leak, such as insufficient cooling and extended cooling cycles, can also be due to other common HVAC woes. For example, dirty filters, blocked vents, and thermostat issues can cause the same problems. On the other hand, water damage can stem from an AC pan leaking or overflowing due to a clog.

So, before assuming you have a refrigerant leak, do the following first:

  • Replace or wash your AC filter
  • Check and ensure your vents are clean and unobstructed
  • Change the batteries on your thermostat
  • Inspect the AC condensate tray for clogs or damage

Those steps can help you rule out other causes of your AC problems. They’re also critical HVAC maintenance tasks.

If the issues persist, though, you may have a refrigerant leak. In this case, your best bet is to Google “reputable AC repair near me” ASAP.

How an HVAC Technician Fixes Refrigerant Leaks

Only HVAC technicians with EPA Section 608 Technician Certification can address refrigerant leaks. It’s a federal requirement, considering mishandled refrigerants can pose health, safety, and environmental risks. Please ensure the technician you hire has this qualification.

Once the certified HVAC technician arrives at your home, they’ll perform the following steps.

Test for Leaks

The technician will first thoroughly inspect your system to confirm the presence of a refrigerant leak. They’ll use specialized tools like ultrasonic detectors, electronic sniffers, and detection lamps. These devices also help them pinpoint the leak’s location.

Repair the Leaks

The repair process depends on the size of the leak, but it generally starts with cleaning and preparing the damaged area. The technician may then use epoxy or solder for tiny leaks.

If there’s extensive damage, the tech may need to replace the leaking component. This task often involves recovering the remaining refrigerant and replacing the leaking component.

The pro may then pressurize the system using nitrogen to look for more leaks. If they don’t find any, they’ll evacuate the system to remove air and moisture. They’ll then recharge it with the appropriate amount of refrigerant.

Finally, the technician will test the system for proper operation. They’ll monitor the refrigerant pressure, check temperatures, and confirm your AC efficiently cools your home.

Don’t Delay Addressing a Refrigerant Leak, Contact Fulcrum Mechanical for AC Repair Service in Madisonville, KY

Regardless of the size of a refrigerant leak, it can impair your AC’s cooling and dehumidifying abilities. These problems can make your home dangerously hot or, at the very least, cause discomfort and higher energy bills.

So, if you’ve been experiencing the symptoms above, let our team here at Fulcrum Mechanical help. As one of Madisonville, KY’s leading heating and AC companies, we provide same-day and 24-hour emergency services. Our skilled technicians have the knowledge, experience, and tools to address the most complex HVAC problems.

So, call us now to schedule your refrigerant leak detection and repair service! We’ll happily provide you with a free AC repair estimate.

(270) 975-3419