Freon leaks are a common problem with air conditioners.
Air conditioning systems are engineered as closed systems, which are supposed to keep the air cool and dry, and any leak in the pipes can be catastrophic to the entire system. A refrigerant is similar to the anti-freeze in your car, and is the medium that carries heat from your house and disperses it into the outside atmosphere.
Freon does not dissipate or gets consumed, so there is no loss unless there is a leak in the pipes. HVAC experts recommend that leaks be repaired promptly as they can worsen over time and cause the entire system to become faulty. Rusty coils are the most evident sign that there is a Freon leak in your air conditioning system.
What Causes Freon Leaks?
There are various causes of leaks:
Weld joint fatigue: This is the most common cause of freon leaking and affects the evaporator coils in the attics. In extreme conditions, the coil can have a heat range of 35 to 125 degrees, and can cycle through these conditions over a hundred times in a day. The weld joints comprise of two metals that are subjected to stress and strain as they expand and contract at different rates at high temperatures. The pressure results in microscopic cracks through which the refrigerant can leak out. Modern coils are designed to withstand extreme temperature conditions for many years.
Poor installation and welding techniques: The installation of air conditioners should be entrusted to only reputed contractors. Make sure your HVAC technicican is properly trained and has experience installing and maintaining air conditioners.
Physical damage to the pipes: – Nails and screws that are drilled through the walls to hold the line set can cause damage to the pipes. Normally, it is difficult to spot and repair such leaks because they are located behind the walls or other obstacles.
Repair Solutions for Freon Leaks
There are a number of repair options for Freon leaks:
Fix Leak: This is often an expensive solution, and a proper leak fix process involves the following:
- Removal of the old Freon
- Welding of the leak or the replacement of the coil
- Welding in a new filter or drier
- Checking for welding leaks through pressurizing the system with nitrogen
- Placement of the system into a 500 micron vacuum
Adding new refrigerant: Old refrigerant should not be reused because the contaminants that infiltrate the system turn it acidic, which can erode the pipes.
Leak Seal Treatment: This is a temporary solution that may be considered as an interim step that can be performed before the formal repair.
Add Freon and hope it lasts: There is no guarantee that it will work as it does not fix the leak itself. Eventually, all the Freon will leak out again.
Get a new system: In case of major damage, you may consider a complete system replacement. The choice of repair or replacement comes down to a financial decision of how long it will take you to recoup your expenses. Make sure to weigh the pro’s and con’s with an experienced HVAC tech before making a decision.
Air Conditioner Repair St. Louis
If you suspect a Freon leak in your air conditioner, get in touch with the team at Air Excellence today! We have been serving St. Louis and St. Charles counties for over 30 years and would be happy to serve you and your family. Call us today at (636) 980-0998!