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If you have an air conditioner in your home or you're planning to buy one, the refrigerant is among the vital components you should know about. It plays a pivotal role in the system's cooling process. 

The refrigerant flows through the indoor and outdoor units, releasing the warm air from inside your home and leaving it cooler. Low refrigerant levels because of a leak will often affect the cooling efficiency of your unit. 

Knowing the signs of a refrigerant leak will go a long way toward saving you significant amounts of money on repairs and even cooling costs. Here are the signs to watch out for:

1.       Your Air Conditioner Isn't Cooling Your Home as Quickly as It Used To

Your AC losing its cooling power or efficiency is among the most common signs of a refrigerant leak. Lower levels of refrigerant mean less warm air will be absorbed from your house at any time, which, in turn, will result in your home taking longer to cool.

If you are amongst homeowners who use their ACs regularly and know the cooling pattern, this won't be hard to notice. Reduced cooling capacity will in most cases be accompanied by an increase in your electricity bill. That's because you will need to run the unit longer than usual to achieve the indoor temperatures you desire.

2.       Your Air Conditioner Is Noisy

A noisy air conditioning unit can be a sign of a series of other issues in the system, such as loose parts, a malfunctioning compressor, or debris in the unit.

For refrigerant leaks, listen out for hissing sounds. Usually, holes and cracks in the coils or refrigerant lines will be the main reason your refrigerant leaks. As the refrigerant escapes through the cracks, it will produce hissing sounds. In some cases, however, especially where the leak is quite large, you may hear gurgling sounds.

3.       Your Refrigerant Lines Appear Frozen

With less refrigerant flowing through the refrigerant lines or coils, their ability to absorb heat will also be affected. This will result in condensation occurring on the coils, which could in turn cause them to freeze. However, frozen coils can also be a sign of restricted airflow. Therefore, check your air filters and clean or replace them if they are dirty.

It's worth noting that replacing the refrigerant is usually not a solution to refrigerant leaks and you'll only end up wasting lots of money. Call Falcon Heating & Air Conditioning instead to identify the cause of the leak and fix it early enough.

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