Causes for Low Air Conditioning Refrigerant & AC Refrigerant Cost

It’s been a long, hot summer in Arizona, and your air conditioner has been working its hardest to keep your home cool. Much to your surprise, a check of the system revealed that your unit was low on refrigerant — but how can that be? Even though the refrigerant system in your air conditioner is closed, and it recycles the same refrigerant over and over again, sometimes leaks can appear due to rubbing or wear, allowing your refrigerant to slowly make its way out into the environment. Fixing this problem cost a lot less than you think, often below $100 depending on your state.

Common points for leaks to start are valves, connectors, copper lines and the evaporator coil. Sometimes, these leaks can be very hard to find, but you should never let an air conditioning contractor recharge your unit without repairing the leak first — it’s bad for the environment and will end up costing you even more as he continues to feed refrigerant into your system that will simply leak back out.

Finding a Refrigerant Leak

Tracking down a refrigerant leak can be a tricky task, one that may end up costing you much more than the unit is worth. However, if your air conditioner is still relatively young and hasn’t given you other major problems, you want to have it repaired instead of replacing it. In this case, your air conditioner technician will do his best to hunt your leak down and repair it. Here are some of the ways we locate refrigerant leaks:

Electronic Sniffers. A leak in an easy-to-access area is quickly found using an electronic sniffer, a device built to detect high concentrations of refrigerant in the air. It’s not the most precise method, but if the suspected area around the leak can be visualized, it will usually get your contractor close enough to locate a suspect valve or notice a small hole in the tubing.

Bubbling. It’s not exactly high-tech, but bubbling is a great way to find those big, harder-to-detect leaks without breaking out the more expensive equipment. After introducing some inert gas to your air conditioner, we paint the suspected area with soapy water. Soon, the inert gas starts escaping and blowing bubbles. From there we just have to rinse the soap off and fix the problem.

Ultraviolet Inspection. Especially tricky leaks may require an ultraviolet inspection process. A technician will insert a liquid tracer into your system and allow it to circulate along with your refrigerant. After about two weeks of air conditioning use, a tech will return and carefully scan your entire system with an ultraviolet light, looking for signs of the tracer. Very small and intermittent leaks are much easier to uncover using this method.

Once the leak is properly tracked, your air conditioner technician will be able to perform the right repair to your system, ensuring that the leak is completely stopped. Most of the time, it’s a matter of a valve replacement or soldering a small section of copper tubing, but if the leak has appeared in a very thin or corroded portion of your system, it may be difficult or impossible to guarantee a satisfactory repair. This is when you’ll have to decide if it’s time to give up on your old system.

A few signs that your old air conditioner should be replaced, rather than attempting a repair, include:

  • Your unit is more than 10 years old.
  • Other problems that have required professional repair.
  • Unexplained rising costs from running your air conditioner.
  • Your unit runs on R-22 refrigerant.
  • Increasingly noisy operation.

Whether you ultimately decide to repair or replace your air conditioning unit when the refrigerant starts running low, our NATE-certified technicians have the training to complete the job. We’ll be there on time and provide a headache-free repair experience. Call Precision today at 602-349-6922 to get started.

 

Foresold December 19, 2017

Share This Post:

erik - owner

Precision

We want to help you learn about about all things air conditioning and heating! Have any questions or want to see us write about something? Give us a call, chat, or email and we'll do our best to help you out.

RELATED POSTS

  • APS Qualified Contractor
  • BBB Accredited Business Logo
  • SRP certified contractor
  • Arizona Healt Pump Council
  • Energy star logo
  • Electric League of Arizona
  • NATE Logo

Testimonials & Reviews

See What Our Customers Have to Say

    • #
      Brett Walker

      I wanted to make sure my air conditioner was ready for summer. Fernando came out and made sure my unit was tip top. He was friendly, professional and not a sales man. Thanks Fernando!

    • #
      Jackie Barkenhagen

      Colin and Andrea were incredibly professional and knowledgeable. They did a great job representing the company. We will definitely contact them again for any HVAC needs that arise.

    • #
      Nick Corso

      We woke up in the middle of the nite on memorial day to a hot house. I called precision at 6am and they were here before noon. Simple problem fixed, cool house. I love these guys!

    • #
      Jeneen Piche

      Thank you Ray at Precision Air...the compressor on our AC went out last night and the house was HOT. This morning Ray was there to replace the compressor and had us feeling the cool air again in no time. Great customer service...quick response time and friendly from the first call until the repair was completed. Ray even offered to clean the filters! Thank you!!

    • #
      Cara Perlman

      I’m so glad I called Precision for my annual AC checkup!! Austin was professional, super friendly and answered all my questions. I’ve had more bad experiences with AC companies here in the valley than good ones. Precision Air will have all my hvac business going forward!! Thanks for being a reputable and honest company!!!

    • #
      Jeff Stanczak

      He did a great job; professional and knowledgeable! Kalin is the technician’s name and Precision Air and Plumbing should take a bow for hiring such an invaluable employee!!!

    • #
      Kingsley Evans

      Precision Air is a company of integrity. I signed up with them August 1st, 2019 for their AC maintenance plan for 2 years... Someone from their office called me a week ago to set up their yearly maintenance visit. SO GRATEFUL.

    • #
      Andrew Burkhart

      Precision Air and Plumbing is a wonderful company to work with! They are very experienced and professional. They have helped us in our home for many years via a/c service and air duct cleaning.

    • #
      David Topping

      It was time to replace our AC, and so our choice was Precision Air, as we've been with them for over 20 years. Teman & Julian did an excellent job on the installation today, arriving on time.

Contact Us

Feel free to contact us any time at 602-349-6922 for immediate assistance.

We offer 24 hour emergency service, and would be happy to schedule an appointment for you, or simply answer any questions you may have.


Precision Air & Plumbing

3045 N. Colorado St.
Chandler, AZ 85225

VIEW MAP
Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

© Precision Air & Plumbing 2022.