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Serving the Greater Columbia Area


What’s the Deal with Refrigerant Leaks?


With August upon us, homeowners throughout the area know that there is some serious heat yet to come. We are not even quite in the home stretch of the summer’s heat, truth be told, and this is not a point at which you can start to ignore potential signs of trouble with your air conditioning system in Columbia. Of course, we’d also argue that there is never a point at which you should be ignoring such warning signs, but that’s beside the case.

That being said, not all air conditioning problems are quite as serious as others. Any and all warning signs should be taken seriously, because even those that seem “minor” could be indicative of very serious issues. Many AC problems actually share warning signs, muddying the waters further, so your best bet is to have the situation assessed by a trained professional regardless of what the actual symptoms may be. You certainly would not want something like a refrigerant leak to go undiagnosed, after all.

What Does Refrigerant Do?

Is refrigerant like gasoline or oil in a car? Not really, no. Refrigerant is not consumed in order to power the AC, as gasoline is used to fuel your vehicle. And it’s certainly not a lubricating element, as oil in the car is. There is one similarity between oil and refrigerant, though—neighter is consumed. That is why a low refrigerant level, like a low oil level, suggests one of two issues. There was an improper charge to begin with, or you’ve got a leak!

This is a major problem considering the function that refrigerant does serve in your air conditioner. Remember, your AC doesn’t create “coolness” the way that a furnace generates new heat. Instead, it removes heat that is already present in the air in your home. This is made possible through the evaporation of refrigerant. If you don’t have enough refrigerant in the system, then the whole cooling process is compromised.

What Are the Symptoms

As you can imagine, your AC is not going to do as good of a job cooling your home evenly and effectively if it is not fully charged with refrigerant. This is a very obvious warning sign, especially on a very hot day! If your AC is struggling, regardless of what you may think the problem is, let us know right away.

You may also find that your evaporator coil is icing up. This is because the coil is not removing a sufficient amount of heat from the air passing through it. If there is ice on the coil, or you notice water pooling around the indoor unit (the result of this ice melting and overwhelming the drainage assembly), then you need to contact us right away.

Your air conditioner may also start to short cycle, as it struggles to remove heat from the air in your home and starts to overheat. If your AC is running in short bursts, it could definitely be due to a refrigerant leak. Of course, it could also be due to a very dirty air filter. If that’s not the case, then your next step is to have us test for leaks, resolve them, and recharge the system.

Schedule your AC repairs with MBS Mechanical, Inc.

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We’ve been serving the greater Columbia, Maryland area since 2000.

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