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What to do when you detect a refrigerant leak

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Whether you’re talking about an air conditioner that keeps your inside environment cool on a hot day or the refrigerator where you store your food all year long, it’s important to know the refrigerant in either appliance is doing the work intended. Remember that if the levels drop in an air conditioner or other appliance even 10%, there can be a 20% rise in electrical costs for the homeowner or business.

If the levels fall low enough, the compressor can fail or the evaporator coils can even freeze. These systems are not designed to use any refrigerant and because they are completely sealed, the levels of refrigerant should never drop.

In some cases the valves or access ports might need to be cleaned or replaced by a professional. Where there is copper tubing used, the repair is often about soldering the damaged part. When it comes to air conditioners that are over a certain age, the problem is often with the condensing or evaporator coil and these usually need to be replaced entirely.

While the issue could very well be with a dirty cooling coil that needs to be blown clean, adding more refrigerant to a broken system isn’t generally considered a good idea. The best bet when you notice there’s a change in performance on any of your cooling appliances is to call in the qualified professionals that can find and fix the problem properly the first time.