A variable refrigerant flow system leak is one of the worst things that can happen to your air conditioner. If you have an older model, the chances are that the refrigerant it uses is Freon, a CFC gas that is harmful to both your health and the environment.

Newer models will probably use more health and environment-friendly refrigerant, but even so, you can’t afford to ignore a leak. It will adversely affect the performance of your air conditioner, increasing your utility bills, and ultimately lead to a complete breakdown of the system if it is not fixed in a timely manner.

Freon (or a more modern equivalent, for the purposes of this article, we’ll refer to all refrigerant types as Freon) is the blood of your air conditioner system. It circulates round and round the system, removing the heat and providing you with that life-giving cool air during the hot summer months. And, just like your blood, the level should remain constant throughout the lifetime of your air conditioner unit.

If your air conditioner is losing Freon, something is wrong. Unfortunately, there is no easy way how to check the refrigerant level of an ac without calling in a technician, so you need to be aware of the signs of a Freon leak.

What are the Air Conditioner Freon Leak Symptoms?

  • You need to turn the thermostat down to maintain a comfortable level of temperature.
    Freon cools the air going through your system by absorbing the heat from it. If the levels are dropping, less heat will be absorbed, so you’ll constantly have to adjust your thermostat downwards to keep the same level of coolness in your home.
  • The air coming out the vents is not cool.
    If you’re standing or sitting beside one of your vents and you notice that the air coming out is not the cool refreshing breeze you’re used to, you could possibly have a Freon leak.
  • Your air conditioner starts to sound more like a reptile than a machine.Gas escaping under pressure will make a hissing sound, so if you notice your unit is trying to imitate a snake, you’ve got a leak. If it’s a big one, you’ll hear a gurgling sound reminiscent of a baby animal suckling at the teat.
  • Ice or water in unexpected places.If the heat is not being absorbed properly, condensation will form on the inside of your system. This could lead to water dripping from your vents or ice forming on your coils and even the exterior of your outside unit, so if you notice either of these symptoms, it’s time to call the repairman.
  • Freon leaks hit where it hurts, your wallet.
    Even if you’ve sprung a small leak and none of the symptoms that we’ve outlined above are immediately obvious, one place that you’re sure to notice the effects is in your electricity bill. Once it starts to lose even small amounts of Freon, your system will have to struggle and work overtime to keep the temperatures down, and this means it will use more power than normal. And you’ll pay for it, so any unexplained increases in your monthly utility bills could be the result of a Freon leak.

These are the main symptoms of a Freon leak. If you think you’ve sprung one because you can hear a hissing or gurgling sound, the easiest way how to find a leak in home AC system is the soap and water method. Just like with a bike puncture, cover the area where you think the noise is coming from with a soapy water solution and look for the bubbles.

If you suspect a leak because of any of the other symptoms, it’s better not to waste time looking for it, just call in the professionals. At  Chills Air Conditioning, we have the equipment and training to find and fix the problem in the time it would take you to figure out where to start looking, so call us the moment you suspect a leak, and we’ll save you time and money.