Your AC can develop a refrigerant leak at any point in the coil system. However, a common place for refrigerant to leak is in the evaporator coil. A refrigerant leak can be a difficult problem to work with depending on the age of your system and the type of refrigerant it has. You may need to discuss options with an air conditioning repair professional. Here are some things to know.
Types Of Refrigerant Leaks That Might Develop
A refrigerant leak that develops at a joint might be easy to repair if all it entails is tightening the joint. A leak might also develop if a coil was hit and cracked. A common reason for refrigerant leaks occurs in the evaporator coil because of corrosion. This type of corrosion happens because of a reaction of gasses in your indoor air that combines with moisture and the copper of the coils.
The gasses that cause corrosion are called VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, and they are found in many products you use around your home. They also outgas from flooring, carpet, and building materials. The type of damage these gasses cause is usually widespread rather than being a single crack, so that makes repairs much more difficult.
Ways Evaporator Coils Can Be Repaired
Since the coils are made of copper, it might be possible to patch a crack by soldering in another piece of copper. Joints can be tightened and made more secure so they don't leak. However, the widespread corrosion pitting caused by VOCs may not be repairable. The AC technician may need to replace the evaporator coils instead.
Problems Associated With Replacing Coils
Replacing bad evaporator coils may not be as simple as it seems. The AC repair technician may recommend replacing the condenser and evaporator coils as a set since refrigerant flows through them in a loop. Another problem is the refrigerant in your air conditioner might be outdated and no longer available if you have an old system.
If you need to switch to the new refrigerant, you might not only need new coils, you might need other new parts for your AC. If your air conditioner is old, you may need to discuss getting a new air handler or an entirely new system.
Ways To Reduce Corrosion Damage To The Coils
Once you've had the repairs done and the refrigerant filled, you'll probably want to maintain your AC coils so you don't have to go through that again. Talk to the air conditioning repair technician about your options. One thing that helps is to have the coils cleaned professionally once or twice a year so the corrosive acid is removed.
You may also want to reduce the VOCs in your house by switching to brands of personal and cleaning supplies that have low amounts of VOCs and looking for flooring and carpet that don't outgas as much when it's time to upgrade your home.
Your AC professional might also recommend upgrades to your HVAC system that improve ventilation in your home, control humidity, or that filter out gasses. A typical AC filter doesn't remove gases, so if you buy an air purifier, confirm it has carbon or some other method for removing the destructive VOCs from the air in your home.
For more information about air conditioning repair, reach out to a local HVAC contactor.