Category - Air Conditioning
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Will Scholfield, Engineer

31 Jan : Updated 27 Feb ● 6 min read

Air con leak checks: what are they & why are they important?

After an air conditioning system has been installed in your home or in a property, it’s important to remember that the aftercare is just as important as choosing the right system. If you don’t look after it properly or if it is not correctly installed, you run the risk of finding an air con leak or malfunction.

To ensure you’re not paying out for constant repairs, it’s important to get an air con leak check when needed. In this guide, we’ll explain how to carry out a basic check and why you shouldn’t put it off, as well as how to identify any problems with your current system.

How to identify an air con leak.

There are a number of different signs you should look for to determine if a problem in your air conditioning system could be due to a leak. Of course, as with any system problem, you should always seek the advice of a professional if you’re not sure, to prevent injury to yourself or damage to your air conditioning unit.

  1. Your system isn’t blowing any cool air.

    If the air coming out of your vents isn’t cold, then this can be a big sign of an air con leak. This could be one of the first checks you make to pinpoint the problem. Simply hold up a hand to the vent to test the temperature. If it’s warm, you’ll know something isn’t right.
  2. Your air conditioning system isn’t cooling as it should.

    Refrigerant, the liquid solution used in cooling systems such as your air conditioner, is a crucial part in the cooling process. It absorbs the heat from your home and releases it into the air outside. If the levels of refrigerant are low, this may be due to a leak. It’ll take much longer to cool your home as a result.
  3. Your indoor unit is noisy.

    If you hear a gurgling or rumbling sound coming from your system, this can be an indicator of a larger leak. This can be caused by cracks or breakages in refrigerant coils. However, this sign could also be due to a number of things, not just an air conditioning leak. You should get your system checked out by a professional to be sure if you’re experiencing this.
  4. Your electricity bills are unusually high.

    Pay close attention the amount you’re spending on your electricity bills. If you’re finding them much higher than usual, or you know you’re having to make alternative arrangements on top of altering the temperature of your system in order to stay at a comfortable temperature, then it may be due to an underlying problem.

Air con leak test.

Older air conditioning units use Freon as a form of refrigerant. Leaks from Freon or other solutions are sometimes not so obvious to spot. To assist you in finding an air con leak, there are a couple of steps you can take.

Add a fluorescent dye.

By adding a fluorescent dye into your refrigeration system, you’ll easily be able to identify the exact point of the leak. If there is a leak, the dye will change colour in the precise location of it. This method will require UV lighting and professional advice.

It’s important to remember that this is not a DIY job. A professional should be contacted.

Try the bubble method.

An old trick to spot a leak is to apply a soapy solution to an area you suspect there is a leak. Escaping refrigerant will produce bubbles where the leak is. However, the downfall of this method is that if a leak is particularly small, you’ll probably not get the same results. You may not see any bubbles if this is the case, meaning the leak may be missed.

Purchase a specialised air con leak detector kit.

Another way of helping yourself to get to the root of the problem is by purchasing an air conditioning leak test kit. You can buy these quite inexpensively online. A kit works by detecting the amount of refrigerant in your system. There are many different types of leak detector, so it’s always best to contact a professional for more advice.

If you aren’t sure about any of the methods mentioned, it’s important you seek the help and guidance of a professional engineer.

Repairing a leak.

If you or an engineer spots a leak in your system, it’s important to fix the problem before it becomes much worse. Bigger problems mean that there may be the possibility of your system failing completely. Here are the basic steps to take to fix a refrigerant leak:

  1. Remove the window unit and outer cover so you can get a good look inside the unit. When this has been done, you may see a build up of debris in the drain tray, which can be removed to keep things clean.
  2. Air filters inside the air conditioner should be removed before locating the air compressor. When the leak has been located by yourself or your engineer, you can apply an air con leak sealer to the appropriate area. These can be purchased online and will have their own set of instructions for usage.
  3. The components and main cover for the air conditioning system can be returned to the unit. Kick up the unit again and see if there is any change. If you’re finding the problem happens again, you can add a little more sealer. If it is persistent and you’re not seeing any change, seek the advice of a professional as soon as possible – there may be a bigger problem.

What happens next?

With any air conditioning system comes the responsibility of maintenance. To prevent small problems becoming bigger in the future, it’s important to act on them as soon as they arise.

Simply adding more and more refrigerant into the system will not work if you haven’t fixed the original problem, and it may be expensive in the long run to do so.

For more information about air con leaks, contact our professionals.

When you invest in something, you expect it to work as it should. The same goes for your air conditioning system. Leaks can be a common problem, and the sooner you identify and act on the problem, the sooner it can be fixed.

We’re aware that many people won’t feel confident in air con leak repair or in identifying a leak at all. That’s why we have trained professionals ready to chat. You can use our live chat feature to ask questions about the topic or to request some advice on how to spot and fix air con leaks.

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