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What Happens When Refrigerant Leaks Out of My Air Conditioner?

The term “refrigerant” refers to a number of different chemicals used to make air conditioning possible. Your air conditioner essentially circulates the refrigerant through a series of values and coils which first shift it to a liquid state (bleeding heat into the air outside your home) and then shift it back to a gas (cooling the air in your home, which passes through the duct system via a fan). Many people falsely assume that the refrigerant is consumed by this process, but it actually isn’t. In fact, losing refrigerant to a leak will quickly cause the entire system to be thrown off, which is why refrigerant levels need to stay constant at all times. What happens when refrigerant leaks out of your air conditioner? We’ve provided a short list below.

  • The system becomes unbalanced. When refrigerant levels are insufficient, the cooling process is disrupted and the air conditioner has to work harder to cool the house as efficiently. Over time, this can increase wear and tear on individual components as well as requiring more energy for the system to do its job.
  • Frost forms on the evaporator coils. You may think that frost is a good thing in your air conditioner, but frost forming on the coils actually serves as an insulator between the remaining refrigerant and the air you need cooled. Never scrape the frost off of the coils; it won’t solve the problem and you could damage them in the process. Instead, call a service technician to seal the leak and recharge the refrigerant.
  • Higher bills. All of this circles around the simple fact that leaking refrigerant both increases the chance of a repair bill with increase stress on the system and forces you to pay higher monthly energy bills for the same level of cooling.

Leaking refrigerant isn’t something to take lightly, especially now in the heat of our Salt Lake City, UT summers. Call At Your Service Plumbing Heating & Air to get the trouble taken care of!

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