If a service company has had to add refrigerant to your air conditioning system, especially more than once, you have an AC Freon leak. But can that refrigerant leak be fixed? Keep reading this article to determine how.
Whether you are a service technician or a curious homeowner, oily spots are the first thing to check for. Refrigerant contains a small amount of oil that travels through the system from the compressor of your outdoor unit. If there is a leak, there will usually be an oily residue visible at the location.
Common leaking points
Unfortunately, the indoor coil is the most common place for leaks to develop. Sometimes these can be repaired, but frequently the constant moisture they have been subjected to has made the materials too thin to work properly.
If the copper lines that connect your indoor and outdoor line sets are running unprotected through concrete, touching metal, or resting on something hard, those could all be potential leak points.
The braze joints and valves are another commonplace for your unit to develop a leak. Sometimes, a pinhole leak at a braze joint was missed during the installation. Perhaps a valve seal has worn out, allowing refrigerant to slowly leak by. Maybe, the Schrader valves, just like a car, have gotten stuck where the gauges connect. These are all likely possibilities that should be checked.
Repairing a leak in the copper
If one of the copper lines has developed a hole, it is likely to be fixable. This could occur if it has a rubbed through spot because of a foreign material or because a braze joint is not sealed correctly.
The repair technician will use oxy-acetylene torches to heat the copper, add a silver-solder rod and melt it over the hole. This should seal the hole and fix the problem. However, this cannot be done with refrigerant in the system. Any refrigerant left will need to be appropriately recovered and then reintroduced to the system once the repairs are complete.
If a valve is leaking Freon, then it may have to be replaced. This will depend on where exactly the leak is located.
Once the technician has made the air conditioning repair, the system will be charged with nitrogen to ensure there are no remaining leaks. Then it will be evacuated to an appropriate level. Finally, the refrigerant will be reintroduced to your system, and you should, once again, have a properly working air conditioner.
A professional HVAC service technician should diagnose refrigerant leaks. It is not always enough to find an oily residue to determine if there is a leak or not. A service tech will be able to use gauges to determine whether the system is low on refrigerant and diagnose any other potential problems.
Once they confirm there is a leak, they can use a refrigerant leak detector and nitrogen, if necessary, to ensure that the leak is found and that there are no additional leaks. Call your local trusted professional today if you suspect you may need a leak repair on your home air conditioning system.