Could Your HVAC Refrigerant Be Leaking?

The Signs May Be There, Here’s How to Tell

refrigerant, AC refrigerant
Ice cubes belong in your drinks, not on your evaporator coils.

While indoor comfort is important for residential spaces, some would argue that it’s even more critical in a workplace environment. Research has clearly linked employee productivity with a comfortable temperature. And if it’s seemed hotter lately than you might like inside your office or warehouse despite a reasonable thermostat setting, you may have a problem with your AC refrigerant.

A quick inspection may be necessary. What to look for? See below.

Puddles on the floor around your HVAC equipment

Condensation around your coils will result in puddles or drips. How did it get there? If the refrigerant levels are low, then the coils aren’t able to absorb heat. This is a problem. While a little bit of water coming from the coils may not seem like much, coils that can’t do their job lead to bigger issues down the road, including a total compressor breakdown.  Moral of the story? If there’s water, you need a professional HVAC technician to inspect and assess what’s going on as soon as you can.

Ice deposits on evaporator coils

Like seeing pools of water, visible ice deposits on evaporator coils can signal a major problem. Essentially, frozen coils mean you don’t have enough refrigerant to allow them to absorb heat. Don’t let this go. Evaporator coils must perform correctly to allow the system to function as it should. Leaving this problem to only grow worse means more expensive repairs, if not complete replacement of your equipment, later on.

Funny noises from your indoor unit

We’ve discussed multiple reasons for strange noises, including dirty filters, plastic toys in the vents and even the presence of your ventriloquist cousin Larry. However, hissing sound from your indoor unit could be telling you that your evaporator coils are broken or damaged. Hear a gurgling sound? Assuming Larry’s okay, it could mean an even larger leak. Have it checked!

Hot air blowing out of your registers

While there are lots of reasons hot air may be blowing out of your registers instead of cold, it could mean your refrigerant is low. As mentioned above, the evaporator coils need enough of this liquid to do their job. If it leaks or runs low, it could spell trouble for your overall HVAC system.

Higher electric bills than normal

Along with the obvious signals above, the fact is that your employees may be turning down the thermostat even lower to get the same temperature they’re familiar with inside your building. And the harder the system has to work, the more energy you’re using, not to mention the more money you’re spending. Higher than normal energy bills mean it’s time for a visit from your HVAC tech to check out the system.


So what happens if your refrigerant is low or leaking? It’s not as simple as just topping it off. Your HVAC professional will need to determine why it’s happening, and address the larger overall problem to avoid future, more expensive repairs. Call Air-To today to find out more.


Get the commercial HVAC professionals Southern California trusts for indoor comfort, since 1969. Call us today at (626) 357-3535.