“How Can I Tell If My Air Conditioner Is Leaking Freon?” Jon in Rancho Cordova Asks an HVAC Expert

how to tell if my air conditioner is leaking freonJon in Rancho Cordova, CA is trying to play it cool about a potential problem with his AC, but he’s having a tough time. Jon says:

“I had a bad day recently that I’d kind of like to share with you all. At first, it was just a standard bad day: I got a speeding ticket, spilled coffee on myself, and there were a ton of emails to respond to all day at work. But then when I got home and turned my air conditioner on to try and relax, I noticed that there was water leaking under my air conditioner. I mopped it up, but I was kind of careful not to touch it with my skin.

The reason I mention that part is to let you know that I was afraid there might be freon mixed in with the water; I’ve always been told that touching freon is dangerous. Anyway, my question that I’m writing to you with today is how can I tell if my air conditioner is leaking freon? As far as I’ve noticed, the AC still seems to be working fine. It’s leaking, of course, but there’s still cool air coming out of the vents. Even if it’s not freon leaking, though, I’d still like to make sure to address the leak. Can you help me out?” – Jon in Rancho Cordova

First off, Jon, my condolences on your no good, horrible, very bad day. We’ve all been there. Second of all, thank you so much for coming to us with your question. I don’t think we say this enough, but as AC service techs, it really means a lot to have the trust of the community. We’ll do all that we can today to help you out, Jon—and anyone else out there who’s reading this—by answering the big question: How to tell if my air conditioner is leaking freon?

How to Tell If Your Air Conditioner Is Leaking Freon

The easiest way how to tell if your air conditioner is leaking freon is to look for one of the three most common signs:

  1. Vents not blowing out cold air
  2. A hissing sound
  3. Frozen coils

Freon Leak Sign #1: Vents Not Blowing Cold Air

how to spot a freon link in your home acNow, our friend Jon in Rancho Cordova doesn’t seem to have this problem, as far as I know, but it can be a key way to tell if your AC unit is leaking freon. All this takes is a quick analysis. Just put your hand by the vent when the AC is on and see if it gets cold.

If the air coming from your air conditioner is warm, chances are good that leak on the floor also contains freon.

If the air coming from your air conditioner is warm, chances are good that leak on the floor also contains freon, but there are gradients to this stuff. Even if the air is cool, but not as cool as it usually is, you may have a problem. If you suspect this is the case, I suggest calling a trained professional ASAP.

Freon Leak Sign #2: You Hear a Hissing Noise

Jon didn’t really report hearing a hissing noise either, but listening for unusual sounds can be a really effective method for telling whether or not your unit is leaking the freon that it needs to cool the air.

An AC freon leak can often be caused by holes or cracks in the coils that circulate the freon. A hissing noise could indicate a few different troubles, and one of them is that you have a small freon leak. You should also be warned that if you hear a gurgling noise, you may have a large leak. Again, regardless of what you’re hearing, I highly recommend calling a trained HVAC tech.

Freon Leak Sign #3: Coils Are Frozen

When the amount of freon circulating through an AC unit drops, the coils inside cannot absorb the heat they need to convert to cool air. When those coils don’t have that heat available to them, condensation begins to form and then eventually freezes. Sometimes, the leak you find on your floor is simply this ice melting. It’s not a big deal at first, but unless you have a trained tech out to take a look, it could eventually lead to a system breakdown and a bigger repair bill than necessary if caught early.

So, those are the three most common answers to the question, “How can I tell if my air conditioner is leaking freon?” One thing they all have in common is that the best course of action once you’ve identified one of them is to call out a trained HVAC technician. Here at Bell Brothers, we can not only quickly identify whether or not you have a freon leak, but we can also start the process of fixing it.

It’s no secret that our region gets pretty dang hot in the summertime. Because of that, many of the homes here end up running their air conditioners more than folks who live in other areas. That’s fine, too, but it does mean that you have to be a little more attuned to signs of trouble, like frozen coils, hissing noises, and hot air coming out of your vents. If you come across some or any of these indications that you may have a freon leak, I strongly urge you to give the pros at Bell Brothers a call. Make sure you stay cool this summer.

At Bell Brothers, our trained HVAC professionals would be happy to help you fix an AC unit that has started to leak water into your house. We can also help make your home more energy-efficient by cleaning and sealing up your leaky ductwork. Contact us today to schedule a free in-home consultation.

Wondering how to finance a new HVAC—or even a furnace or window upgrade? HERO is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a HERO-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local HVAC, plumbing, and window specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.

Image courtesy kuchina