If your air conditioner is giving you trouble all of a sudden, you might want to check and make sure it’s not the worst-case scenario. We’re talking about Freon leaks, of course.
Believe it or not, Freon (also known as refrigerant) leaks are more common than you might think! If you’re conscientious about keeping up with regular AC maintenance in Grand Cayman and your system springs a leak, there’s a good chance this can be identified before it causes major damage to your equipment. It’s good to be informed about major air conditioner problems — especially ones that may not have readily available repair parts in Cayman.
Is a Freon leak dangerous? What should you do if you spot a leak in your home? Do refrigerant chemicals cause health symptoms? We’ll answer all these questions and more below.
What Causes AC Refrigerant Leaks?
Most AC breakdowns are caused by age-related wear and tear, and refrigerant leaks are no exception. As your air conditioning system approaches the end of its useful life, the joints, evaporator coil and condenser coil are the first parts of your AC unit to deteriorate. When they become worn down, they develop holes that leak refrigerant.
With that in mind, there is a specific type of corrosion (called formicary corrosion) that causes refrigerant leaks even on relatively new air conditioning systems. Fortunately, most manufacturers have made improvements to the materials in order to prevent these issues.
Below we share 5 signs of a freon leak. If you notice any of these signs, contact your friendly technicians at Polar Bear, and we may recommend a professional refrigerant leak search to confirm if there is a leak and exactly where it is. Doing so will protect your home from the dangers of freon leaks and empower you with concrete options to solve the problem for good.
5 Common Symptoms of an AC Freon Leak
If you’re like most homeowners, you probably don’t make a habit of checking your outdoor air conditioner daily for signs of low refrigerant levels. When everything is working properly, you shouldn’t have to! But keep these inconspicuous signs in mind, so you know when to check if your AC is leaking refrigerant.
Does Refrigerant Need to be Replaced?
No! Refrigerant does not get “used up” like oil or gas. Unless there is a leak somewhere in your refrigerant lines, Freon should remain intact for the lifetime of your air conditioning system. It also does not have an expiration date, so you never have to worry about replacing it.
Is a Freon Leak a Major Problem for an Air Conditioner?
We referred to freon leaks as a “worst-case scenario.” You might be wondering why that is. Apart from the potential health risks there are a number of reasons refrigerant leaks are usually major problems.
Firstly, fixing freon leaks properly requires a very specific procedure, as well as replacing all of the original refrigerant! This is a bit like doing surgery on your AC system and can be expensive.
When an air conditioning system runs on low refrigerant levels, it can cause damage to the compressor – the heart of the system – thereby shortening the system’s lifespan. You might have to replace your air conditioning unit sooner than necessary.
It can also cause frozen evaporator coils by reducing the unit’s refrigerant levels and subsequently lowering the evaporator coil’s operating pressure. This pressure drop causes the refrigerant to boil at a temperature much lower than normal, leading to frozen condensation — and ultimately, the formation of ice on the coil’s surface. As ice accumulates, it acts as an insulator, impeding heat exchange. If undetected, the ice can melt and can cause damage to the internal insulation and air handler cabinet.
Lastly, as a consequence of the melting ice in the evaporator coil, fluid buildup in the air handler and ductwork can promote the growth of microorganisms like mold and mildew.
This is why finding refrigerant leaks early is a huge advantage and why preventative air conditioning maintenance in Cayman is so important!
What Are the Health Risks of an AC Freon Leak?
So, is a Freon leak dangerous? This largely depends on several factors:
- Whether your exposure is long-term or short-term
- The levels of exposure
- The type of refrigerant
- If the solution was ingested or inhaled
- If the solution spilled onto your skin
If your air conditioning system is installed in a well ventilated area, as most units in the Caymans are, you most likely don’t have to worry about developing posioning. However, it’s still important to be aware of the dangers of a refrigerant leak.
Beware of Freon Poisoning!
Freon poisoning occurs from ingesting or inhaling Freon. You might suffer from headaches, coughing, shortness of breath, eye irritation, or skin irritation. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with poison control or a medical professional if you’re showing symptoms of refrigerant poisoning!
Severe symptoms include difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, cousciousness seizures, and hypoxia. It’s crucial to emphasize that severe symptoms of refrigerant poisoning are rare and typically occur with direct exposure to high concentrations of refrigerant gases over a long period of time.
Freon doesn’t just cause health problems for humans and our furry friends, but it’s also dangerous for the environment overall. It contains harmful chemicals that deplete the ozone layer, which is why most countries have taken action to phase out R-22 refrigerant. The Environmental Protection Agency has even banned the production of new equipment containing R-22.
Contact Polar Bear for AC Freon Leak Detection and Repair Services
Being aware of the potential dangers of a Freon (refrigerant) leak is crucial for both your health and the environment. Taking proactive steps to maintain your HVAC systems, promptly address any leaks, and ensure proper ventilation can help mitigate these risks.
Now that you understand the dangers of a Freon leak, we bet you’ll never skip another quarterly air conditioning maintenance check. So don’t wait until you need an air conditioner repair — especially if your system is showing any of the following symptoms of a refrigerant leak, such as blowing warm air or taking a long time to cool down.
When you choose Polar Bear AC, you can trust that our experts will conduct thorough inspections, using advanced leak detection techniques to pinpoint even the smallest leaks that might otherwise go unnoticed. Once identified, we’ll proceed with precision and care to repair the leaks promptly, ensuring that your system operates at peak efficiency and with optimal safety. Our commitment to excellence extends beyond repairs, as we also offer preventive maintenance services to help prevent future leaks and extend the lifespan of your HVAC equipment. With Polar Bear AC by your side, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a comfortable and eco-friendly cooling system.
To restore cool air and peace of mind in your home, contact us today for professional help. We’ll thoroughly check your condenser and evaporator coils using specialized technology and offer you an affordable, long-lasting solution.