April 10, 2024

Taking an air conditioner system for granted is normal for many people. When it’s properly working, you probably don’t think about it much. You enjoy the cool air in your home when it’s hot outside. However, it can become all you can think about when your AC stops working or has a severe problem.

Freon is a refrigerant, a chemical essential for your air conditioning unit to function properly. This gas repeatedly goes through an evaporation process inside your AC system. The constant evaporation cycle produces cool air that blows into your home. Under normal conditions, Freon is part of a closed system. When Freon leaks, your AC unit begins working poorly.

Catching a Freon leak early and contacting an HVAC technician to repair your AC is vital to your home’s comfort. Additionally, when you ignore a potential Freon leak, further damage can occur to your AC unit, leading to a more costly repair or replacement later. In this piece, we’ll cover 10 signs that your air conditioning system may have a Freon leak.

1. Hissing Noises

One common sign that an air conditioning system suffers from a Freon leak is when you hear bubbling or hissing noises emanating from it. The Freon in your system is sealed under pressure. When a leak occurs, some of the Freon escapes this pressurized system. The sound of this leak depends on the following:

  • Pressure
  • Location
  • Size

Whether you hear a persistent hissing or bubbling sound, this may indicate a Freon leak.

2. Higher Electric Bill

The symptoms of a Freon leak in your AC system are not always obvious. More obvious symptoms may not occur until the leak is worse or significant Freon leaks out over time. However, one thing to keep an eye on is your electricity bill.

As Freon leaks from your air conditioner, the unit must work harder to cool your home. This additional work by the AC leads to wasted electrical usage. If you notice a drastic increase in your electrical bill without any other explanation, it could indicate a Freon leak.

Consider whether the outdoor temperature has increased or people in your household use the AC more than what’s typical. If neither of these variables has changed, you may want to consult with an HVAC company to diagnose the problem. If they find and repair a Freon leak, you can expect that increased electric bill to go back down.

3. Water Leakage

If your AC unit has a Freon link, water can leak out. Water leakage can occur in different places depending on the type of your air conditioning system. You may notice puddles forming around your AC unit, or you could see water dripping from vents.

Regardless of where you see the excess water, water leaks are not something you should see coming out of an AC system, and they indicate a problem with your air conditioning unit.

4. Insufficient Cooling

There are several reasons that an air conditioning unit may not be sufficiently cooling your home. However, a Freon leak is one of the most common reasons for this lack of cooling capacity. When the amount of refrigerant inside your AC system diminishes due to a leak, the evaporation process that creates cool air also suffers. Are you turning the thermostat down incredibly low, yet the air in your home still doesn’t cool? This issue can indicate that your AC doesn’t have enough Freon inside. After a Freon leak is fixed, any necessary Freon that was lost from the system will need to be replaced.

5. Warm Air

Since Freon is a refrigerant, its purpose is to absorb heat in the air. It does this during the previously mentioned repeating evaporation cycle. The heat is then pushed out of your home, leaving only cool air inside. When a leak occurs, the Freon level decreases, and warm air remains in the AC system. This warm air vents into your home instead of cool air. So, if you notice warm air coming out of your AC vents, it could be a sign of a Freon leak.

There may be some other simple reasons warm air is coming from your vents. If you just turned your AC system on, it may blow warm air for a minute or two before you notice the cool air. This warm air at the beginning is normal. Additionally, if you have a central heat and air system, double-check that you don’t have the heater on instead of the AC.

6. On-and-Off Cycling

When your AC unit lacks Freon due to a leak, you may notice that it cycles on and off more frequently. This additional on-and-off cycling happens because your air conditioning system is trying to compensate for the low Freon level. It’s an indication that your system is overworking. When this overworking occurs over a long enough period, it stresses your AC system, which can lead to damage. Recognizing an increase in on-and-off cycling and repairing the underlying cause can extend the life of your air conditioning unit.

7. Ice Build-Up

While warm air can indicate a Freon leak, the presence of ice can also indicate a leak. When Freon doesn’t flow properly through your AC system, it can freeze your refrigerant line, causing ice to build up. The ice can break away from the build-up location and flow through your system. Sometimes, your AC vents are relatively close to the AC unit. When vents are near, you may notice pieces of this ice shooting or falling from your vents.

8. Weird Smells

Freon can produce a bad smell. It’s a distinctive chemical smell with a slight hint of sweetness. If you notice this smell when your AC is running, there is likely a Freon leak in your system. However, Freon is heavier than air and quickly drops to floor level. So, the smell will be right next to the AC, the vents, or near the floor around them.

9. Health Problems

There are various health effects inhaling Freon can have. Some of these effects are:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

If anyone in your Hanover household suffers from any of these effects whenever your air conditioning unit is in operation, it can be due to Freon leakage. If you suspect Freon is leaking and causing these issues, immediately turn the system off and seek medical treatment for the symptoms. Fixing the leak before turning the air conditioner back on is essential so you don’t experience these leak-related health issues in the future.

10. Air Conditioner Failure

While there are many reasons an air conditioner completely stops working, one of them can be a Freon leak. As stated before, your AC system will work harder to compensate for a lack of refrigerant. If this overworking continues long enough, the AC unit may stop working and require repair or replacement. Catching a Freon leak before this happens helps prevent the failure of your entire AC system.

Don’t ignore any signs that your AC system may be leaking Freon. If you experience anything mentioned in this article and you live in the Hanover area, Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating is here to help. We offer reliable heating, cooling, and plumbing services you can trust. To learn more, contact us today!

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