Signs Of AC Refrigerant Leak
The refrigerant is the blood of the air conditioner (AC); without it, your AC will not be able to perform its function and can easily stop running. This is why you should always be on the lookout for refrigerant leaks. Here are some of the signs that should tell you that your refrigerant is leaking:
Hissing Sounds from the Indoor Unit
This is one of the most obvious signs of a leaking refrigerant. The hissing sounds are produced by the escaping refrigerant which will be escaping from the refrigerant lines in the form of a pressurized gas. However, this will only be the case if the size if the size of the hole or crack causing the refrigerant leak is large enough; otherwise you may not hear any sounds. Such large holes typically stem from physical damage of a refrigerant line.
Warm Air from the Registers and Reduced Cooling
You don't have to wait for hissing sounds to know that you have a leaking refrigerant. The temperature of the air coming out of the registers can also give you a hint about the level of refrigerant in your AC system, which should tell you whether there is a leak or not. As you know, the refrigerant's main role is to cool the air before it's circulated (via the air ducts) in your home. If the refrigerant is leaking and its level has fallen low, it won't be able to remove as much heat as before, and the air coming out of the supply registers will be warmer than it should be.
However, you don't have to place your hands near the supply registers to know that your AC is not circulating cool air. You will just notice that your home is warmer than it should be. Note that there are other possible causes of reduced cooling other than leaking refrigerant so a further investigation is needed to confirm the diagnosis.
Frozen Evaporator Coils
This is another classic sign of a low refrigerant level, which can only happen if the refrigerant is leaking. This happens because when the level of refrigerant in the evaporator coils falls too low, the refrigerant will not be able to able absorb as much heat as it normally does. The result will be condensation buildup on the coils, and it is this condensation that will freeze over the evaporator coils.
You should never ignore a leaking refrigerant. If you suspect a leak, turn off the AC and call a residential air conditioning service immediately.