Get to Know the Common Reasons and Causes of AC Gas Leaks
Date: February 24, 2020
How to Prevent Gas Leakage in AC
Arizona homeowners, if your HVAC system was manufactured before 2010, take note! Our scorching hot summer weather along with warm fall, winter and spring seasons mean dependable air conditioning is a year-round necessity. Knowing the most common AC gas leak causes as well as the symptoms of a gas leak in your split AC system is more important than ever before.
The reason most AC gas leaks happen is age. A large number of AC units still use freon refrigerant to cool. Supply and demand are becoming bigger problems each year, and scarcity is driving prices up for system recharges and AC gas leak repair.
Here’s why: In 1987, the Montreal Protocol was established to gradually phase out the use of ozone-depleting fluorocarbons worldwide. In 1992, it was amended to add hydrofluorocarbons (HCFC-22). HCFC-22 is more commonly known as freon gas, and it’s another big contributor to climate change and global warming.
According to the EPA, units that were manufactured and installed pre-2010 can continue to be serviced, but there are some BIG caveats, which can quickly get very expensive for homeowners who need to repair an AC gas leak and recharge the AC system.
- Domestic chemical manufacturers may no longer produce new HCFC-22
- Importers may no longer import new stocks of HCFC-22
- Currently, existing domestic stocks of HCFC-22 can be used to service existing AC equipment (this ends after 2020)
- After 2020, only recycled, reclaimed, or previously produced HCFC-22 can be used to service existing AC equipment
Symptoms of Gas Leaks in a Split AC System
An AC refrigerant leak means higher electric bills, so it’s wise to know the symptoms of a gas leak in split AC systems. These include:
- AC system not blowing cool air
- Hissing sounds from the indoor AC unit
- Frozen condenser coils
- Loss of cooling power
- AC unit working harder to cool/won’t shut off
Air Conditioner Gas Leak Cause
The most common cause of AC freon leaks is metal corrosion that allows gas to escape the AC system. Replacing separate metal components such as the condenser coils may solve the leakage. However, depending on the severity of the damage and age of the AC unit, installing an entirely new air conditioning unit might be your best or only course of action. Take note, refrigerant leaks in the AC can also expose you and your family to high levels of chemical irritants, which can also damage the HVAC system. Prevention is your best path forward. Eventually, you’ll need to replace the AC unit with a new energy-efficient cooling system that costs less to operate.
How to Prevent Gas Leakage in AC
While you can’t prevent AC gas leaks forever, you can certainly hold them at bay for a while. That’s why HVAC professionals recommend having preventive maintenance on your HVAC system at least once per year. Twice is even better. Schedule service during the early months of the year so your AC operates efficiently during summer, and then again after a long season of round-the-clock service. However, know that even with the best maintenance program, the average lifespan of an AC unit is 12 – 15 years. It’s the price we pay for living in such an incredible state.