Handling an A/C refrigerant fluid Leak in Your Cincinnati Home

  • Plumbing Preventative Maintenance

  • A refrigerant fluid (refrigerant) leak, while not exceptionally common, is still a very real possible cause of the need for air conditioner repair in Cincinnati. This is due in part to our urban environment and hot, humid summers, which pose a number of threats to an air conditioner.

    An Hvac technician searching for a refrigerant leak on an evaporator coil.

    Source: istockphoto
    A man checking for a refrigerant fluid leak.

    Why refrigerant fluid Leaks Happen

    If the joints or valves in your A/C’s copper refrigerant lines aren’t sealed thoroughly during installation, or they came from the factory damaged or poorly welded, refrigerant fluid will slowly seep out. You’ll start to notice a decline in cooling performance within one to five years after installation.

    Formic acid, which naturally occurs in the soil, can cause pinhole leaks and cracks in refrigerant lines. These tend to worsen over time.

    In our densely populated urban area, theft attempts are another potential cause of leaks. While trying to steal the valuable copper in your system, scrap metal thieves damage the refrigerant lines. The resulting leak usually causes a sudden drop in cooling performance.

    How Your Technician Can Stop the Leak

    A refrigerant leak does more than cut your system’s cooling capacity. refrigerant fluid is toxic, so if you suspect a leak, call a technician immediately. Your technician will bring an electronic refrigerant fluid leak detector that can be moved over the parts of your system and will produce a signal when it senses refrigerant fluid.

    Once found, the leak can usually be repaired. This is often the most cost-effective option for systems less than 10 years old that still have most of their refrigerant fluid. Repairs usually involve soldering damaged copper tubing or replacing valves. If a coil is leaking, however, the component may need to be replaced.

    Once the leak is stopped, replacement refrigerant fluid will be added. Alternatively, you could replace the whole air conditioning system while it’s still under warranty.

    If all the refrigerant fluid has leaked out or the compressor or other components have failed, there’s only a small chance a patch will work. You’re most likely better off replacing the system.

    For reliable air conditioner repair in Cincinnati, contact us at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing in the Greater Cincinnati area.