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Dangers and Signs of Refrigerant Leaks


Heating and air conditioning are some of the most essential parts of the home, keeping you comfortable during the changing outdoor temperatures. The refrigerant is one of the most overlooked parts of your air conditioning system, even though refrigerant is one of the most imperative parts of an AC unit‘s function.

This chemical blend is responsible for cycling through the system, changing from a liquid to a gas as it absorbs and releases heat from inside your home. In most systems, R-22 or R-410a refrigerant is used to cool your home in an effective and efficient manner. However, over time, issues in your line sets can lead to the loss of refrigerant, which can cause many problems. This guide and your contractor’s help will teach you the dangers of refrigerant leaks.

Dangers of Refrigerant Leaks

The loss of refrigerant can cause your system to cool inefficiently. Your system may struggle to produce adequate air conditioning, preventing your home from reaching the desired set temperature.

This not only causes your system to work harder, but it can also increase your monthly energy bills.

If the refrigerant is leaking, you will not only be spending more money on cooling costs in the summer. In most cases, a leak left unrepaired will require continuous recharging of your unit.

Certain types of refrigerant are most costly than others. For example, R-22 is being phased out in hopes more homeowners will opt for the eco-friendly R-410a. Because R-22 is being phased out, it is more difficult to find. If your system is leaking R-22, you will pay more to have it recharged.

Lastly, but still important, refrigerant leaks can be harmful to your health and hazardous to the environment.

Refrigerant, which is more commonly known as Freon, contains chemicals that can affect air quality and enter your respiratory system. While tasteless and odorless, Freon does make a large impact on your air and health.

Refrigerant poisoning is a serious condition that can lead to difficulty breathing, headaches, nausea and vomiting, skin and eye irritation, and coughing. If left untreated, the poisoning can lead to life-threatening issues, including the following:

  • Labored breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Buildup of fluid in the lungs
  • Confusion, mental fatigue
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms of refrigerant positioning, consult a doctor immediately.

Signs of Refrigerant Leaks

Knowing the signs of a refrigerant leak is key to repairing the line sets and restoring your air conditioning system back to an efficient, functional state.

One of the most common signs of a refrigerant leak will be noticeable near the vents. If you feel weak or warm air moving through the vents while running the air conditioning, you may have leaking refrigerant. The leak may be preventing the system from producing cool air.

Weak or warm air does not always indicate a leak because this problem may also stem from air loss in your ductwork or a dirty filter clogged with dirt and dust. Check your filter and replace it if necessary. Then, have your contractor inspect the ductwork for holes or tears.

If you have holes or cracks in your line sets, refrigerant will escape through these openings. While the refrigerant moves out of the lines, you may notice a light hissing sound. This will be most noticeable inside your home where the indoor unit is located. However, the hissing may also be heard near your outdoor units.

Refrigerant leaks are dangerous to your system’s function, your finances, and your health. Thankfully, contractors can help diagnose and repair these leaks. For more information or assistance with your HVAC needs, contact HELP.

Posted in: Air Conditioning, Cooling, Health & Safety Issues, Maintenance

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