Imagine that you’re taking a walk around your air conditioner one day. It’s chugging along keeping your home cool and comfortable as expected, and all of the indoor components seem perfectly fine. However, when you walk by your outdoor cabinet, you hear a strange sound. It starts as a hissing but quickly transitions into a bubbling noise.
Is this normal? How have you never noticed this before? Maybe it’s just from that rainstorm we got the other night as water drains from your property?
The answer is no, it’s not normal. And no, this sound is not water! It’s the sound an air conditioner makes if it’s leaking refrigerant. If you keep reading, we’ll talk about what’s going on in your air conditioner. These noises most likely signify that you need AC repair in Algonquin, IL by a team of qualified professionals!
What Is Refrigerant?
Refrigerant is the lifeblood of the cooling process when it comes to air conditioning. It’s a chemical substance that transitions between gaseous form and liquid form through condensation and evaporation. When refrigerant condenses at a certain pressure, it draws heat into it, effectively cooling the air around it. When it evaporates outdoors, it releases that heat. This basically takes the heat from inside your house and moves it to the outdoors in a simple and effective way.
Contrary to popular belief, an air conditioner is initially supplied with enough refrigerant to last its entire lifespan. A leak theoretically should never happen, and if it does, it needs to be fixed quickly.
Why Is It Leaking?
Refrigerant needs to be kept at high pressures. This is what the compressor component of your air conditioner is responsible for. It pressurizes the refrigerant so that it can turn from gas to liquid over and over again. Pressurized refrigerant lines can sometimes spring leaks due to old age, weather, critters, or wear and tear.
Overall, it shouldn’t be super alarming that your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant. While it’s a bad sign and it needs to be fixed, it’s a pretty common problem that we see often. Patching the leak and recharging the refrigerant is an easy job for us!
Why Does It Make This Sound When It Leaks?
This is straightforward. The hissing noise is the sound of gaseous refrigerant leaking from the lines. The bubbling noise is the sound of Oxygen that has made its way into the refrigerant line as the refrigerant has leaked out. Oxygen forms bubbles in the liquid refrigerant lines, causing it to make a bubbling sound.
Other Signs of a Refrigerant Leak
The hissing and bubbling sound isn’t the only sign you’re dealing with a refrigerant leak. Call us today to investigate the problem if you notice the following:
- Higher monthly energy bills
- Poor cooling output
- A short-cycling air conditioner
- A system breakdown
All of these can be caused by low refrigerant levels, since your air conditioner starts compensating by draining more energy and cycling the remaining refrigerant more.