Do you have a heat pump that’s giving you trouble? Heat pumps are great for cooling in the summer and heating in the winter – when they’re working, that is.
Like most Arizona homeowners, when the sun gets hot, you likely reach for your AC system for relief and comfort. Suppose you’re noticing some issues with your system, strange noises, and even stranger energy bills – it might be the result of a Freon (refrigerant) leak.
Not only can such a leak cause your HVAC system to underperform at the worst possible times, but it also poses a threat to your health and well-being, making quick detection and repair crucial.
At River Valley Air Conditioning, we understand that your home is your sanctuary. An issue with your heat pump’s refrigerant is more than inconvenient — it’s potentially dangerous. In this article, we’ll delve into some warning signs so you can stay comfortable and safe in every season.
6 Signs of a refrigerant leak
If your heat pump is causing issues, here are six signs it could be the result of a refrigerant leak:
- Hissing sounds: This sound often means that refrigerant is escaping from its designated path within your AC system, which can spell trouble for maintaining a cozy and consistent temperature at home.
- Inconsistent heating or cooling: If you’re having trouble cooling or heating your home and experiencing uneven heating or cooling from room to room, it’s potentially a sign that your system is working overtime to compensate for the lost refrigerant, and yet can’t keep up to reach the temperature set on the thermostat.
- System is short cycling: Are you noticing your heat pump quickly turning on and off? It’s the HVAC equivalent of a car frequently stalling, and it suggests the system is struggling to maintain the desired home climate. This is not just a trivial tick; it’s a symptom of an inefficient unit gasping for ‘breath’ through the leaked refrigerant.
- Increased indoor humidity makes it feel like your house is a tropical rainforest (which is odd in Arizona’s desert region). This dampness is a telltale sign that the air conditioning unit is not dehumidifying the air correctly, likely due to refrigerant loss, leaving you in an uncomfortably sticky situation.
- The evaporator coil is frozen: Without enough refrigerant, the coil gets too cold and freezes the condensation, which should otherwise be removed from the air in your home.
- A spike in energy consumption: When your energy bills hit you harder than expected, it could be a sign of inefficiency due to a leak. When your system overcompensates it consumes more energy, but, like trying to fill a bucket with a hole, it’s an endless and costly endeavor.
How is a heat pump refrigerant leak dangerous?
When a leak depletes refrigerant levels, the heat pump loses efficiency, leading to inconsistent temperatures. But the dangers go beyond discomfort.
Refrigerant is a chemical compound that is harmful if it makes contact with your indoor air. Prolonged exposure to certain refrigerant gasses can lead to various health issues, from headaches and dizziness to respiratory problems or heart palpitations.
In the enclosure of your home, these risks are only amplified.
Causes of a Freon leak
There are many potential causes of a refrigerant leak. Here is a list of a few so you can be wary of them.
Over time, natural wear and tear can slowly degrade the coils and joints, causing minute cracks that can widen into leak pathways. It’s a stealthy process that can catch any homeowner off guard.
Occasionally, the fault lies within a factory defect or improper installation. So, may this be a reminder that even new systems demand thorough inspection. Manufacturers may overlook defects, or technicians might err during installation, leading to immediate or eventual leaks. It’s also why you should always opt for a reputable brand and a certified installer.
The last potential culprit is damage from external factors. Elements like landscaping debris, hail, or even an errant baseball can affect your AC unit’s exterior parts, leading to punctures or bends that break the seals. Stay vigilant by installing protective measures like a guard fence to avoid this.
At River Valley Air Conditioning, we stress regular inspections to nip refrigerant leaks in the bud, safeguarding your home’s harmony and efficiency.
What to do if you suspect a freon leak
Some homeowners like to do DIY repairs, but this particular repair should be left to a pro. Not only is it a tricky job, it’s a potentially dangerous one.
If you think your heat pump system has a leak, you can take the following steps to assist your technician before they arrive.
- Turn it off and disconnect from electricity: Shut your unit system off immediately, continuing to run your equipment can exacerbate the leak, leading to more extensive damage and higher repair costs. Turn off the power to your unit to avoid electrical issues and harm to your unit.
Do not attempt to repair the leak yourself—refrigerant is toxic and should only be handled by trained professionals.
- Ventilate your home: Refrigerant is toxic and shouldn’t be breathed for an extended period of time. While it’s not a permanent fix, opening windows can help disperse any refrigerant that has entered your living space. Evacuate the area if possible.
- Call a professional: Contact an HVAC technician immediately. A thorough inspection by a qualified individual is crucial to accurately identify the root cause of the leak, assess the extent of the problem, and recommend an effective, lasting solution.
- Secure the area: While you wait, mark the space and keep the affected area clear of pets and people, especially children, to avoid exposure to the refrigerant.
- Follow-up with regular maintenance: Once it’s fixed, consider a scheduled maintenance plan with your HVAC provider. Preventative care (checks, cleaning etc.) will catch leaks early, maintaining the efficiency, safety, and longevity of your heat pump.
A preventative approach is essential when dealing with HVAC issues. River Valley Air Conditioning is here to provide skilled service at a reasonable price to keep your environment safe, comfortable, and efficiently cool.
Need heat pump refrigerant leak repair? Call River Valley.
If you’re experiencing any of the above, you can count on River Valley Air Conditioning for prompt and reliable repair services. Whether you’re facing increased energy bills, short cycling, or frost accumulation – these issues warrant a professional’s touch.
Be proactive about the health of your HVAC system, and reach out to us. Give us a call, and our expert technicians will help restore the comfort and efficiency of your home at an affordable cost.
We have over 50 years of experience serving the tri-state area, including Bullhead City, Fort Mohave, and more! Remember, timely customer response and effective repair solutions are just a phone call away with River Valley Air Conditioning. Contact the team and ask about our maintenance program.