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What to Do If Your AC Has a Freon Leak

Uniformed HVAC tech working on an outdoor unit.

When warm weather arrives in Phoenix, you rely on your HVAC system to keep your home cool and comfortable through the hottest temperatures. If you turn on your system and it's not blowing cold, one culprit could be a refrigerant leak. Freon leaks are relatively common. Any number of issues, from normal vibrations and movement of your system to physical damage to the outside unit, can result in Freon leaks.

This blog explores the following:

We'll stop your Freon leak as soon as we find it

At George Brazil Heating and Cooling, we can quickly identify the source of the problem and get it fixed in a single visit. If you have questions about your HVAC system or need to schedule an appointment for service, contact us at (602) 842-0009.

Understanding the Role of Freon

Freon, or more correctly refrigerant, is an important gas that makes air conditioning possible. This refrigerant begins as a liquid. When warm air moves over the evaporator coils, the refrigerant absorbs the heat and evaporates, then carries the heat to the condenser coils in the outside unit of your AC system. After the heat is released, the refrigerant cools down to a liquid and starts the process over again. This continuous cycle is what keeps the air inside your home cool. It's important to note that Freon is a term used to describe most refrigerants. The EPA ruled to phase out Freon and replace it with a more environmentally friendly coolant.

Signs of a Freon Leak

Signs of a Freon leak can vary. Lack of coolant plays a big role in maintaining the temperature inside your home, so if you have a leak, the efficiency of your system is reduced. Some of the most common signs you have a refrigerant leak include:

  • Rising utility bills: Without enough Freon, your air conditioner must work harder to maintain the correct temperature. You may find it constantly cycles, which causes an increase in energy consumption.
  • Constant cycles: When your AC unit operates efficiently, it turns off when the interior temperature reaches your set thermostat level. It takes longer to cool your home when Freon levels are low, which means your system may not turn off as often.
  • Standing water: Low Freon levels can cause your system to freeze. As a result, your drain pain will overflow as the ice melts, which can cause pooling water around your indoor unit.
  • Frozen coils: In addition to standing water, frozen coils are a common sign of refrigerant leaks. Without enough Freon, the coils have a hard time absorbing heat, so the condensation on the coils freezes.
  • Strange noises: Holes and cracks in your coils can cause hissing sounds as refrigerant circulates and escapes.

Potential Risks of Freon Leaks

Freon leaks do more than prevent your HVAC system from running as it should. They can also cause other problems that aren't related to your home's cooling system.

  • Health risks: Freon fumes can cause a variety of health problems, including nausea, dizziness, eye irritation, sore throat, and headaches. Long-term exposure to Freon leaks can even cause organ damage.
  • Environmental impacts: Refrigerant leaks pose environmental hazards, such as depletion of the ozone layer and global warming.
  • Fire hazards: While refrigerant is typically a non-flammable gas, it can ignite if exposed to an open flame.
  • Damage to HVAC system: Low levels of Freon make your AC unit work much harder than normal. This can lead to overheating, damage to moving parts, corrosion of metal, and system failures.

What to Do if You Suspect a Freon Leak

If you expect a Freon leak, it's important to address it immediately. Be sure to turn off your HVAC system and ventilate the area to prevent exposure to fumes. Avoid using the system until a technician has inspected your unit and made the necessary AC repairs. You should also never attempt to address the issue alone unless you have experience and are certified to handle refrigerants. To prevent future leaks, schedule annual maintenance.

Need Help with a Freon Leak?

Keep your HVAC operating as it should by contacting us at (602) 842-0009 to schedule an appointment for service. At George Brazil Heating and Cooling, we can diagnose your HVAC problems, locate the location of the Freon leak, and make recommendations on how to fix the issue. With over 2,000 5-star reviews, you'll see why our company is Phoenix's most trusted HVAC company.

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