Common Signs Of An Auto A/C Refrigerant Leak
An A/C unit that has either low or warm airflow is the first sign that something is wrong. Other things include ice which appears near the evaporator coils, or a pool of water that appears on the floor beneath the A/C unit itself. Below are some additional indications of an auto A/C refrigerant leak.
If the level of refrigerant circulating within the evaporator coil becomes inadequate, the coil will not efficiently absorb heat. This will cause the freezing of coil condensation. The condensation might then melt and fall to the floor, which means the entire system could be on the verge of breaking down. If this happens the compressor will need to be replaced.
Cooling Ability Is Lost
Refrigerant is essential for cooling, as it is responsible for absorbing heat and then releasing it externally. Should the levels of refrigerant become depleted, this will increase the time needed to cool the car down, which will usually prompt drivers to adjust the temperature of their thermostat.
The A/C Makes Hissing Sounds
Refrigerant leakage is usually the result of cracks and holes within coils which are responsible for circulating it. Although hissing can be caused by other issues, refrigerant leaks are the most common culprit, with bigger leaks producing the sound of gurgling.
The A/C Unit Is Not Producing Cool Air
The state of your A/C’s refrigerant can be determined by inspecting the quality of air coming through the vents. If the air seems warmer than usual, this could be a sign of a leak. This will reduce the comfort of the passengers and require you to change the thermostat in an attempt to make the air cooler, but it will most likely use additional resources with little effect.
How Refrigerant Works
An A/C system that is in good working order will not have a refrigerant reduction in any form. When the system is running properly, it will maintain and circulate an identical amount, and should not be confused with automotive oil which has to be replaced periodically.
Some drivers, upon realizing that the refrigerant in their car is leaking, will contact an air conditioning specialist so that they can replenish it. They prefer this option because it is inexpensive compared to an outright repair. However, refilling the refrigerant is not recommended, and in fact, car owners should be wary of any technician that offers it as a solution. Some also try using sealant as a stopgap. However, at best using sealant is a temporary measure that could actually cause more problems because it may create a blockage which can damage the A/C system further.
Preventative maintenance is the best way to stop refrigerant leaks before they occur. This can be done by having your A/C system inspected periodically. However, it must be remembered that standard mechanics will often not evaluate the A/C during a routine inspection, so you should have it done by a specialist.