Preventing, Finding, and Stopping Freon Leaks: What you should know and when to call a pro!

“Check our A/C system now? We can wait until it gets hot, right?”

When your heat pump or furnace is keeping those cold, wintry days away, chances are you’re not thinking about your air conditioning or its state of readiness.

But in just a matter of weeks, it will become a top priority when the temperatures start to rise. In the southeastern U.S., those warm days turn to sweltering hot really fast. When you need your air conditioning is not when you want to discover a problem with the system or find yourself at the back of a very long line for service calls.

One of the most common issues to arise when an A/C unit is brought back into service after winter hibernation is loss of Freon. Freon is the refrigerant in the lines that cools the outside air filtered through the system and sent into your home. If your A/C feels as if it’s blowing warm or even hot air, loss of Freon could be the culprit.

(Quick side note here: Freon is the commercial name for the R-22 refrigerant gas commonly used in older air conditioning systems. By “older”, we mean built before 2010. R-22, or Freon, was found to contribute to ozone depletion so it was eventually phased out by the industry. Newer A/C units use a refrigerant called R410A, or Puron, that has been shown not to harm the ozone. This is why if you need an older system “topped off” with R-22, it can cost hundreds of dollars. People tend to refer to all R-22 refrigerants as “Freon” and we’ll be using that label for ease in this article).

When it comes to Freon, it’s important to know whether you’re dealing with a small leak or a big leak and when to call the professionals at One Hour Heating and Air. Bottom line, you need to stop the Freon leak, fix it, and top off the system so you can enjoy peak performance out of your unit.

The size of the leak matters, here’s why:

If you have to have a leak, smaller seems better, right? However, with A/C units and Freon, it also means the leak is much harder to detect. Here are some of the symptoms a small leak will produce.

  • Hot air versus cold air coming through your A/C unit
  • The A/C blows cold air, but only at night
  • You see visible frost build up on your indoor A/C coil
  • Water condensation on the floor by your furnace
  • Your house feels more humid inside
  • A notable increase in your electric bill

All of these can be warning signs of a larger leak, too, but with a larger leak you will also potentially see or hear:

  • A visible crack or hole in a coil
  • The sound of Freon escaping from your system.

Where are these warning signs most commonly seen?

  • Evaporator coil
  • Condensing coil
  • Suction line dryer
  • Accumulator

You’ve found the leak, now what kind is it?

Once you identify the component that’s leaking, you would have to determine what type of Freon leak it is. There are several; (SL) standing leak, (PDL) pressure dependent leak, (TDL) temperature dependent leak, and (VDL) vibration dependent leak. Each require a slightly different diagnosis and repair approach.

With all of these leaks, your best bet is to call in a skilled, experienced, licensed and bonded air conditioning expert like the technicians of One Hour Heating and Air serving Indian Trail, Concord, Mooresville and the surrounding Charlotte metro area. We address Freon leaks all year round and on all types of units. We can quickly identify which type of leak you have and the exact remedy to deploy. We come with parts on the truck and time built into the service call to address it same day. We know your time is important and we also want to minimize our presence in your home, even while we adhere to a strict standard of Covid-19 safety protocols for our customers’ safety.

“Can Freon leaks be prevented?”

While fixing leaks is a job for the pros, there are two important things you can do to prevent Freon leaks.

  • Seasonal scheduled maintenance is vital to making sure your HVAC system stays ahead of the curve on strong performance during its lifecycle. This way, most problems are caught early, when they are much less expensive to address and many times covered under warranty!
  • Keep it pet pee-free! A little gross, we agree, but we see first-hand the damaging effects of pet urine on outdoor A/C units all the time. Make sure your dog isn’t using your A/C unit as a pit stop when you let him or her outside.

Since replacing Freon can be moderately expensive, homeowners will often ask us if they can still run their system with only “some” Freon in the system.

Technically…yes.

Should you? No.

While the A/C system can mechanically function with less than a full fill of Freon, it can be considered dangerous and counterproductive to do so.

The Freon will not stop leaking, so you may limp along for a little while with moderately cold air, but soon you will be too low on Freon to get any cold air and, by then, you may have seriously damaged other components in your unit, if not suffered a total breakdown.

“Are there OTHER types of leaks possible with an A/C unit?”

Yes! Water

When the chilled refrigerant runs through an evaporator coil in your system, it pulls warm indoor air over the top of the coil. This causes condensation that drips off the coil into a pan beneath the unit, which then drains away to the outside. If you see standing water in the drip pan, that indicates a problem. It could be a clogged drain line or an issue with the pump.

If you suspect you have a Freon leak, let One Hour Heating and Air find and stop the leak fast and affordably. Take away the worry of surprise repairs with our seasonal maintenance program. We do more than just visually inspect and start your unit each spring. Our service visit includes:

  • Cleaning the condenser to ensure consistent operation
  • Checking the evaporator coil for proper function
  • Checking refrigerant line condition
  • Checking all capacitors for proper function
  • Checking all relays for proper function
  • Checking refrigerant/Freon levels
  • Lubricating motors
  • Checking amperage draw
  • Calibrating the thermostat
  • Checking and tightening electrical connections
  • Checking for proper air flow

Our professionals are your go-to HVAC team in Charlotte and the surrounding area, including Indian Trail, Concord, and Mooresville. Visit www.onehourac.com for our weekly and monthly specials. Call our 24/7 customer service line today (704) 703-4220.

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