Your air conditioner uses refrigerant–a gas that is used to transfer heat and produce cool air in air conditioners, refrigerators, and basically anything that provides cooling. It’s mission critical for any air conditioner, but if it leaks, it doesn’t just impact your ability to use your AC. It has negative health implications as well.
A refrigerant leak is a serious enough problem that you should never attempt to clean one up on your own. In fact, you should clear the premises and call for emergency air conditioner repair. We know this leaves you with a lot of questions, so let’s break it down.
What Refrigerant Does to You
Refrigerant is a chemical that can hold either a gas or liquid form. It changes states, which is why you’ll see it referred to as a gas or a liquid interchangeably. If you see it on your floor, it’s currently in its liquid state.
When you inhale refrigerant in any capacity, it can cause long-term negative effects on your brain and lungs. But that’s not the most serious part of a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant is heavier and denser than oxygen, which means it can push the breathable air out of a room and cause suffocation in the most severe cases. This is where the danger comes in.
How it Impacts Your Air Conditioner
Because your air conditioner uses refrigerant to pull warm air out of your home and replace it with cool air, as you can imagine, it’s pretty important for your AC to function in the first place. When it leaks, your air conditioner can’t do its job properly.
If it’s a small leak, likely caused by corrosion or a pin-sized hole in the refrigerant line, it may not become immediately apparent. Your AC might run for longer than it usually does, but it’s pretty hard to notice in the beginning stages.
The reason this is dangerous for your AC is because it can cause the remaining refrigerant to freeze, resulting in ice on your evaporator coil and compressor. Your air conditioner can’t detect this and just shut itself off, though.
It just knows that the temperature isn’t where you want it to be, so it keeps running. When these components freeze up, it causes severe mechanical strain on your air conditioner and can lead to components failing, or a full-scale breakdown.
You Never Need to “Top it Off”
Refrigerant sits in a closed loop. It expands into a gas and returns to liquid all within the loop, so it isn’t spent. If you ever read an article or hear advice saying to just “top off” your refrigerant, ignore it.
It’s not akin to a car running out of gas where you just pour more in. This indicates that there’s a leak somewhere in your system. Once the leak is repaired, a technician will replace the missing amount of refrigerant.
Leaks Are Always a Big Deal
Refrigerant leaks are always a problem. If you can’t live without your air conditioning while you wait for an appointment, call for emergency repairs to bump up the priority level. If you can see refrigerant anywhere in your home, it’s a health risk–always take it seriously.
Contact Air Supreme Heating and Air Conditioning today to schedule your AC repair and stop that refrigerant leak as soon as possible.