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As the early spring and fall seasons arrive, they bring big changes in weather and temperature with them. Because of this, these times of the year are good opportunities to take closer looks at your home or business HVAC system. At Georgia Air Cooling & Heating, our skilled technicians can diagnose and repair any issues your AC or heating system may have.
One issue that many AC systems suffer from is the loss of cooling capacity. Many things can cause this change in cooling capability, but one common culprit is the loss of refrigerant. That’s why knowing how to tell if Freon is low in the house is vital for your comfort and air quality.
Thankfully, you don’t have to earn a degree in HVAC technology to do this. Our air conditioning experts in Richmond Hill from Georgia Air can perform detailed checks on your AC systems during routine maintenance calls. We can also educate you about common signs to look out for that may indicate potential refrigerant leaks.
So, Just What Is Freon?
Even though manufacturers now offer new refrigerants for HVAC systems, many older systems still use Freon. If your system isn’t brand new, it likely uses Freon as well – and if it does, you are covered. At Georgia Air Cooling & Heating, we handle a variety of refrigerants. So, what is it?
Freon is the trade name for refrigerants from the hydrochlorofluorocarbon family. These chemicals have properties that make them good candidates for use as refrigerants. Some of these special talents include ease of evaporation and boiling at relatively low temperatures.
How do these properties apply to cooling your home? When you turn your AC unit on, it does its cooling job by removing heat from the air in your home. Next, it transfers this heat to the outside and then blows cold air back in, and it does this with the help of Freon.
As a liquid, Freon can boil at temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This means it can absorb heat from the air in your home at room temperatures and quickly evaporate, eliminating the accumulated heat.
As you can see, Freon and refrigerants like it are the lifeblood of your home or commercial air conditioning system. It is extremely important to the performance of your AC system, and it has to be present in high enough amounts to get the job done. This is why it is critical to address and fix Freon leaks as soon as possible, and we can help you do this quickly.
How Does Freon Move Through Your AC Unit?
Now that you know what Freon does, let’s talk about how it moves through your commercial or home AC system. Knowing how it gets from one place to another makes it easier for you to detect trouble signs from leaks.
Most modern AC systems have certain vital components that work together to cool your home. These components include:
● Expansion Valve
During a typical cycle, low-pressure liquid Freon moves into the evaporator. Here, it picks up heat from the room or space and evaporates from a liquid into a gas at low pressure. In the next step, it moves as a gas from the evaporator to the compressor.
Inside the compressor, this gas then passes through machinery that reduces its volume and turns it into higher pressure gas. The Freon gas then moves to the condenser, and here it releases heat and turns back into a liquid. Finally, the liquid passes through the expansion valve, which lowers the pressure of the liquid.
With so much travel time, it’s easy to see why leaks occasionally happen. When they do, our experts at Georgia Air Cooling & Heating are here to save the day. Let’s learn more about how to tell if Freon is low in the house.
Common Signs of Freon Leaks
Some may think it is easy to detect Freon leaks from the smell, but this method is unreliable. Freon is relatively odorless, and some people don’t seem to recognize the smell. Others describe a chlorine-like odor, but this can be caused by many substances.
It’s far better for you to keep an eye out for one or more of the following symptoms of a Freon leak.
Do You Have Ice on Refrigerant Lines?
One common sign of a possible Freon leak is ice forming in places on the unit. The evaporator coils are one spot, and ice build-up on these vital parts indicates a serious issue.
When Freon leaks, it lowers the total amount of refrigerant in the system. With less refrigerant present during the evaporation cycle, the remaining Freon can stay too cool. Over time this results in ice deposits, and if left unattended, the icing will increase.
Is Your Electricity Bill Higher Than Usual?
Your AC system is calibrated to run with a specific amount of Freon present in the system circuit. If the total amount of this refrigerant decreases due to a leak, the system will still attempt to cool your home. To get the same effects, the AC unit will have to stay on longer and work harder.
This means that there will be a constant electrical draw from units that leak refrigerants. Thus, if your electric bills are significantly higher, check if your AC is running more than usual. If it is, you might have a Freon leak.
Do You Hear a Hissing or Bubbling Noise?
At some points along its journey through your AC system, the Freon turns to a gas. This gas can be low or high pressure, but it doesn’t take a big hole to allow it to escape from the system. Thus, if you hear a hissing noise coming from evaporator coils, the compressor, or the lines from the condenser to the compressor, it’s likely leaking Freon.
Freon is also a liquid during its trip. If you hear bubbling noises and see moisture around the condenser, the expansion valve, or lines connecting them, this may indicate a leak.
Is It Harder to Cool Your Home?
With less Freon in your AC unit due to a leak, there will not be enough of it to efficiently absorb heat from your home. Even though the unit may still blow some cool air, the refrigerant itself won’t be as cold. Depending on the severity of the leak, this can make it a lot harder to keep your home cool.
If you notice higher indoor temperatures, one culprit could be a Freon leak. Call the professionals at Georgia Air Cooling Heating to solve the problem.
Is There Ice Building Up Where It Shouldn’t?
In addition to ice on evaporators, ice can also form in other places on your AC unit. Most units have copper piping networks that transfer refrigerant from place to place. If ice forms on your copper, a leak could be the cause.
Are There Mysterious Water Leaks or Puddles?
Another possible sign of a Freon leak is the appearance of mysterious water puddles or leaks. These water puddles don’t necessarily represent water coming from inside your AC unit. Rather, they are likely the result of ice build-up.
Ice that builds upon copper lines or on the evaporator coils may be located next to warm appliances like furnaces. When the ice heats up, it produces water that drips onto floors and other areas. As such, the mysterious leaks may be signs of Freon releases.
Does the Temperature Match the Thermostat Setting?
It’s always nice to come home to a nice, cool, and crisp inner environment. Thermostats make this possible, allowing you to choose your desired temperature and walk away. That said, sometimes the indoor temperature of your home doesn’t match the numbers on the thermostat.
While this could be caused by a faulty thermostat, another possible cause is a Freon leak. Your thermostat will maintain the setting you provide and display this number on the screen. If there isn’t enough Freon in the system to do the job, the temperature will not drop low enough to match the stated temperature.
Thus, if you notice that indoor temperatures are higher than the thermostat setting, put a possible leak on your list.You now know more about how to tell if Freon is low in your unit. If you use these methods and discover a leak, we’ve got you covered here at Georgia Air Cooling & Heating. To get the most out of your system, call us now at 912-513-3361 for a free consultation or to learn more about AC replacement and installation from Georgia Air.