September rarely offers us much relief from the heat here in Southern California, and this is one of the reasons you need to keep an eye on your air conditioning system at this time of year. Because the AC has been working hard for months, if it’s going to suffer from a malfunction, it’s likely to happen now.
A common issue that an air conditioner can suffer from because of this amount of stress is losing refrigerant. We’ll look into why this happens below.
How Refrigerant Leaks Start
The only way that an air conditioning system can lose refrigerant is to leaks. The AC doesn’t “consume” refrigerant as it works, it just shifts it back and forth between liquid and gaseous states.
But what causes the actual leaks? There are a number of possibilities:
- The vibration of the AC can eventually create enough stress at the joints of the refrigerant lines for small gaps to open up. This is more common in an older air conditioner—especially one that has seen a lot of use during the year already.
- Joints will also weaken over time, and in this case a drop in the refrigerant is often a sign to replace the air conditioner.
- In younger ACs, a condition called formicary corrosion can cause the copper material of the refrigerant lines to develop pinhole leaks. Formaldehyde is the usual culprit for this; most homes have some traces of this volatile organic compound in the air.
Leaking refrigerant is a major problem for an AC. Not only will the reduced refrigerant take away the system’s cooling ability, it will cause damage to the compressor that may lead to a full breakdown. You must have professionals seal the leaks and then recharge the refrigerant that was lost.
JW Heating and Air offers fast AC repair services in Downey, CA and throughout the Greater Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Valley Areas.