Almost every home in the world has an AC unit. It is a big expensive machine that cools the room in no time. But when it comes to maintenance, almost everyone skips on it.
One of the biggest dangers of poorly maintaining an AC unit is a coolant leak or gas leak. In the following article, we will learn about the cause, the dangers, the signs, and the ways to prevent gas leaks.
What Causes Air Conditioner Gas Leakage?
An air conditioner with a gas leak is not only just unsafe; it will also pile up your electric bills. And it is also very damaging on the machine itself; so, be prepared for a huge repair bill too.
So, what causes the refrigerant to leak? Well, there are a handful of causes, and we have listed them below.
1. Wear and Tear
Ageing can ruin the integrity of even the top-rated air conditions. And ageing, combined with frequent use, adds to the natural wear and tear of the AC unit. Basically, if you are using it for a long time, the components inside will be getting damaged after a certain point. That may allow the refrigerant to leak.
2. Factory Defects
A defect during the manufacture of assembling of the AC unit was overlooked. But later when you have purchased and have started using it, the refrigerant will start to leak. This can happen to anyone, and all the blame goes to damaged components, poor assemblage, wrongful handling of the product.
3. Pin Hole Leak
This is a type of leak that happens due to the acid that forms naturally. The Acid is called Formic, and it eats the copper tubing. Unfortunately, leaks such as this don’t show up immediately.
It takes time to present itself, but you find it out, it will not be happening in one place. Almost the entirety of the machine will be consumed, and that calls for a huge repair bill.
The Formic acid is formed by Formaldehyde. It is common in household products. But on copper tubes, it builds up Formic acid produces leaks on copper tubes. The main reason the manufacturers are shifting to Aluminium.
4. Bad Installation
One of the most obvious reasons for a gas leak is a bad installation. It is known to happen. If the AC hasn’t been installed properly, then it can cause a gas leak. Even if the parts inside are assembled improperly, gas could escape.
5. Weak Joints and Connection Issues
We are referring to the joints and the connection of the AC. With time, they can get damaged and weak; this could result in a gas leak.
The HVAC system consists of metal, mainly the copper tubes in the coil. They can erode over time, causing the walls of that to crack, which leads to gas escape.
Signs of AC Gas Leaking
Even if you know the reasons behind the gas leak, it may not be possible for you to prevent it without knowing the signs. So, if you can successfully detect the signs of the gas leak, then you will be able to call upon repairs immediately, which will reduce the repair bill significantly.
So, here are 5 common signs of a gas leak. Read then and try to understand them, you will surely be able to reduce the repair bills.
1. Low Airflow
The first symptom of a gas leak is low airflow. Detecting airflow is not easy for a regular person. It mostly falls under the expertise of the professionals. If you are using the AC for a long time, then it might be possible for you. Remember, if the gas is leaking, the AC won’t be able to produce as much cool air.
2. AC Blowing Warm Air
It is a fact that once gas starts to leak, the AC fails to produce enough cool air. It takes longer to cool the room, and in a worse situation, you might feel the AC is releasing warm air into the atmosphere.
3. Built-up Ice on the Copper Lines
The ice build-up on the copper coil is a definite sign of a gas leak. When your system is leaking the coolant necessary to cool your room, the copper tubes or the evaporator coils consume as much heat as possible. The build-up is a result of that.
4. High Electric Bills
When your AC system is leaking refrigerant, the AC has to work much harder to take the temperature down. So, it starts working harder and consumes more energy, resulting in a higher electricity bill. If you are worried about high power bills, then consider following some tips that help in reducing AC power consumption.
5. Takes Longer to Cool the Room
Now, coming to the working of the refrigerant. The refrigerant absorbs the heat from the room and sends it outside. But if your AC is running on less refrigerant, then it won’t be able to cool the room as effectively. Apart from that, there are several reasons for AC not cooling properly.
What Are Some of the Dangers Posed by Gas Leaks in an Air conditioner?
Leaking refrigerant is not only damaging for the Air Conditioner units, but it is also very damaging for various life forms, including your body. Let’s find out the dangers of leaked refrigerant.
1. Dangerous for Human Body
The leaked refrigerant is dangerous to our body. It can give you nausea and headache. The CFCs consume the heat, and prolonged exposure to them can give you frostbite.
But if you are not exposed to it for a long time, then you may get conditions like skin cracking, problems with coordination, tremors, convolutions, increased heart rate. These leaks can lead to serious medical conditions; they were responsible for several cases of asphyxiation in the past.
2. Damage to the Air-Conditioner
Of course, it is damaging to the AC itself. According to the experts, an AC with a gas leak consumes 20% more power. If the leak doesn’t get a fix as fast as possible, it can increase the pressure on the compressor that can result in the breakage of the compressor.
3. Danger to various life-forms
All the AC units use Chlorofluorocarbons as coolants. And they need to be disposed of properly. But when it gets leaked, it turns into a gas. Gets mixed up in the soil and damages all the organisms.
How To Prevent
To prevent a coolant leak, you must service your AC unit in time. This is the first step to a longer lifespan for the machine. But there are other ways that we are going to mention below.
We know that the type of maintenance we are recommending can be costly. But once the AC gets damaged, the repair cost will be even higher.
1. Bimetallic or Galvanic Corrosion
Metal is involved in the manufacture of the AC units. But in the cheaper models, more than one type of metal is used. And if 2 different metals touch each other while they are moist, corrosion appears.
So, while purchasing an AC unit, you need to think of the long term investment. Get AC where only a single type of metal is used. It will certainly be costly, but in the long-term, it will be an effective investment.
2. Formicary Corrosion
Unfortunately, even pure copper is also prone to corrosion. But it will not happen without outside impact. The fact is, corrosion will not happen if more than 2 elements are not present.
This type of corrosion depends on the user. The cleaning agent, cosmetics, paint all interact with the metal and damages it.
So, get AC units with coating. There are two types of coating available, but we recommend getting the Cooper coating. It is more efficient and lasts longer.
So, do you fix a refrigerant leaking AC or go for a new AC?
Immediately after reading this article, most people might think that their AC is leaking coolant. Do not jump to any conclusion by yourself. Maybe your room is not being cooled as efficiently as it was in the past. But this can be the result of clogged filters.
First, do the simple things to improve the performance, and if that didn’t work, you could move on to more complicated issues. If you have a coolant leak, then you have to make a service call, but if you had followed the routine in the past and called for service in time, you could have avoided this issue.
You should always call a reliable HVAC service. The professional will come to your home and take a look at the AC. And they will provide you with all the details.
If you find out the coolant leak is significant and it has caused severe damage, then you have to decide if you want to carry the huge repair cost or invest in a new AC system.
The coolant leak is dangerous. It is dangerous for the machine itself and the user as well. So, after checking out this article, you have a clear idea of the damages of the gas leak on AC systems and the ways to detect them.
The most promising part for you is the prevention, must take the steps. Get Ac units with the proper coatings and make the service call at least once a year.
Still, this doesn’t guarantee that you will not get leaked coolant, but the chances will get significantly lower. Least of all, you will be able to get the most out of your AC, as with proper maintenance; it will run longer, effectively cooling the room.