Checking for Air Leaks in your AC

When you turn on the AC unit in your Houston, TX, home, you expect that is it going to operate as intended. Sometimes it does not. The issue with the AC depends on the symptoms. If no cold air is being produced, your AC is most likely experiencing compressor issues. Another culprit that causes AC performance issues is leaks. Leaks can be felt, heard, or seen. To be 100% sure, a professional like the technicians at Custom Comfort Air has to come into your home and run a series of tests. Here are some ways we check for leaks in your AC unit and how we can help.

Missing Equipment

Some leaks are caused by the equipment. If the panels are not secure or if there are missing grommets, there may be a leak caused by the equipment. A whole-home system that was not properly installed could lead to leaks, too. Those who would like to inspect the situation for themselves can:

  • Double-check that all the panels and connections are properly secured
  • Double-check that no screws are missing
  • Repair any panels that are bent
  • Repair any damaged seals
  • Utilize Pergamum to temporarily stop a leak if you find it
  • Double-check all equipment insulation

These are all suggestions that can stop leaks on a temporary basis. To fix them permanently, professionals like us would bring in our equipment to complete the necessary work.

Duct Damage Leaks

Ductwork is often installed to provide a whole-home cooling solution. In the past, comprehensive ductwork was the most viable solution, and for several decades, it has done the trick. However, housing has changed. The types that are built today are different from the homes that were built decades ago. For example, new technology allows a multi-unit building to provide comfort to each apartment. Plus, it gives control to each tenant without being dependent on the rest.

Homes that still have ductwork experience up to a 25% loss of output. When there is damage to the ducts, the loss increases. Some homeowners attempt to win the battle against the loss by insulating the ducts. Whether or not there is insulation, duct damage does lead to a great loss of output. So, it is a good idea to have professionals like us come in and inspect the situation.

Water and Refrigerant Leaks

The two types of leaks that you can see are water and refrigerant. An AC unit uses refrigerant to cool off the air that the cooling system pulls into the unit. That air is then conditioned. Then, it is pushed back out into your home. The conditioning process uses the refrigerant and evaporator coils. The refrigerant goes from a liquid state to a gas and then back to a liquid state. This process means that moisture is being created in your cooling system, which is not something you need to worry about unless you are seeing that moisture pool up on the floor underneath your unit.

The unit has a pan that catches the moisture. The moisture that is caught is then directed outside through the drain line. If water is dripping, though, this means that the pan is overflowing or that the drain line is clogged. Neither is an ideal scenario. The condensation pump may also have an issue. If it is not pumping the moisture correctly, it could mean that the water is backed up. In any of these scenarios, it is best to call in the professionals. While you can take a look and work on this issue as a DIY project, technicians like ours have the skills to efficiently fix the problem. Plus, we have the equipment to complete the task in a timely manner.

When refrigerant is leaking, it often indicates that there is a problem with the evaporator coils. Regular maintenance can catch a refrigerant leak before it becomes noticeable. Since the evaporator coil is where the refrigerant is changing from a liquid to a gas and back to a liquid, the coil is experiencing extreme changes in temperature. If the unit is not properly cleaned from the inside out on a regular basis, the outside of the coil will begin to corrode. When there is enough corrosion on the coil, it is just a matter of time before a crack occurs. All it takes is a tiny crack to create a leak. Over time, an untreated crack will become larger. By the time you notice the refrigerant leaking underneath the unit, the coil will require repair or replacement. In this case, we recommend allowing the professionals to take a look. Based on the amount of refrigerant leaking and the amount of corrosion that is present on the coil, we can offer you the best solution.

It is important to note that refrigerant leaking is bad for a cooling system. An AC unit’s refrigerant and cooling process is similar to your car. If your car does not have enough refrigerant, it cannot produce air-conditioned air. When the level gets too low, it could cause this part of the vehicle to overheat. Once a vehicle or AC unit overheats, it can cause unnecessary damage to the rest of the apparatus, which is completely preventable.
A refrigerant leak in your cooling system can occur in the following places:

  • Evaporator coil
  • Condensing coil
  • Suction line dryer
  • Accumulator

Air Returns

When the leak is not obvious, the problem may be the air return. Damage to the ducts can easily be spotted as well as leaks that involve moisture or the refrigerant. Then, there are the tricky leaks that involve the air returns. If all other options have been exhausted and if there is good reason to believe that there is a leak in the cooling system, fixing the air return is the last resort. The air returns require solid lining so that the air can no longer escape. Faulty air returns contribute to poor indoor air quality, too. Therefore, repairing them is a must for more than one reason.

Why Fixing Leaks Is Important

There are many reasons why you are encouraged to ensure that leaks in your cooling system are fixed. First, leaks have a directly negative impact on the level of comfort you can achieve indoors. If the output is not reaching its destination, this means that you are going to run the unit longer. When you have to run the unit longer than the optimal level, you are increasing your energy costs as well as your energy consumption. Most people do not want to pay more to cool their homes. Most people do not want to have a negative impact on the environment, either.

When leaks are fixed, you can move on to other energy-saving and maximizing strategies, such as installing a smart thermostat as well as replacing the ductwork in your home. The ductless AC unit, for example, offers several benefits, such as an improved SEER rating and the ability to create cooling zones in your home.

If you believe that your cooling system has a leak, give us a call at Custom Comfort Air to set up an appointment in Houston. We also offer indoor air quality, precision tune-ups, and heating maintenance services.