Why Your Air Conditioner Might Leak Refrigerant

An air conditioner (AC) that is leaking refrigerant is headed for failure. If the leak continues unabated, the refrigerant level may get too low and affect the AC's cooling output, energy efficiency, and durability. Knowing why your AC might leak coolant is the first step to dealing with the leaks. Below are some of the common causes of AC refrigerant leaks.

AC Vibrations

The AC has lots of moving parts such as the motors and the fans. These moving parts induce vibrations that travel to other parts of the AC system. A properly installed AC system may not be affected much by the vibrations. Over time, however, the cumulative effect of the vibrations may affect the AC joints and connections and weaken them. Thus, refrigerant leaks due to vibrations typically occur after years of AC usage.

Corrosion and Rust

Parts of the AC system that are made from metal are susceptible to corrosion from acidic elements. Various forms of cleaning chemicals are acidic on nature or contain chemicals that can cause corrosion. Thus, these cleaning substances can cause corrosion if you frequently use them in your house or near the AC unit.

The outside unit of the AC, the condenser, can also be corroded by acidic rain or dog pee. Lastly, any part of the AC may develop rust due to high humidity in the house, especially after years of existence. Corroded or rusted parts can develop pinhole leaks that may trigger refrigerant leaks.

Wear and Tear

The individual components or materials of the AC are subject to wear and tear, just like other artificial materials. For example, rubber seals degrade and develop cracks, holes, or tears over time. The metal parts also degrade due to expansion and contraction caused by fluctuating temperatures. The condenser unit is particularly vulnerable to wear and tear since it sits outside the house where it is subjected to all manner of weather elements. After many years of use, the wear and tear may be too much for the AC and trigger refrigerant leaks.

Accidental Damage

Lastly, accidental damage to your AC can also cause refrigerant leaks. For example, a storm can dislodge the outside unit from its usual base and loosen or disconnect the refrigerant lines. A tree can fall on the AC unit and cause serious damage. Flying debris, during a windstorm or from lawnmowers, can also damage the delicate condenser coils. In short, anything that can damage the refrigerant lines or coils lines can cause refrigerant leaks.

Hopefully, your AC won't leak refrigerant any time soon. Commission regular service for the AC to ensure this is the case. Consult AC technicians like those at Soco Air Conditioning for a diagnosis and repair if the AC does experience a leak.