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Causes of Refrigerant Leaks

insulated-refrigerant-pipe-linesRefrigerant leaks don’t usually happen until later on down the line in an AC’s system life. If you’ve only just installed your air conditioner in the last year, they’re not something you should expect to see anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t educate yourself about them!

Refrigerant leaks won’t happen to every air conditioner, but there are a few causes of them that are hard to predict or control. Knowing about them ahead of time can give you the insight to call an AC repair service in Allen, TX as soon as trouble arises.

Pinhole Leaks

Pinhole leaks can appear in the copper piping of the evaporator and condenser coils. As the name suggests, these are leaks that start out as small as pinholes. At this stage, they might be identifiable by the tiny bubbles they produce. Pinhole leaks can grow over time and eventually become far more trouble than they’re worth.

If pinhole leaks are suddenly plaguing your AC, there are at least a couple reasons why:

  • Vibrations and rubbing: The copper pipes of the coils are bent into elbow shapes and looped through a cabinet housed with sheet metal. If there is too much vibration between the copper and the sheet metal, it may create some deterioration leading to pinhole leaks.
  • Formicary corrosion: An unexpected cause for pinhole leaks comes from indoor air pollutants. Specifically, the kinds of chemicals that come from hairsprays, cleaners, air fresheners, building materials, and more. The formaldehyde in these products can create formicary corrosion and eat away at the copper piping.

Wear-and-Tear

Every machine is subjected to eventual wear-and-tear. However, maintenance and repairs can certainly help by detecting and fixing problems as soon as they begin (or even before). A few wear-and-tear issues that can cause refrigerant leaks are:

  • Broken seals: The rubber seals on the service valve can wear out over time. This is not the end of the unit, however, as this part can be fixed in maintenance.
  • Rust: The outdoor unit of the AC system is, naturally, prone to abuse from the elements. Dust, dirt, sunlight, and rain can take its toll on the outdoor unit. Rust is one such problem, and it can eventually affect the assembly joints.
  • Joints and connections: These are the weakest parts of the system, so gradual wear-and-tear is all that’s needed to create leaks in these sections.

Poor Installation or Factory Defects

A simple mistake from the AC installation team or from the manufacturer themselves could also be the cause of leaking refrigerant.

This one is a bit tricky to pinpoint since the average homeowner won’t be able to identify if their unit is poorly installed or defective without the help of a professional. If you suspect that your AC was the victim of a poor installation, you can always get a second opinion on that with the help of a different HVAC company.

For factory defects, the manufacturer’s warranty should be your best defense. Again, don’t hesitate to reach out to an HVAC company to have them inspect your system and your warranty.

Refrigerant leaks require immediate service. Don’t hesitate to contact Earthwise Home Services for repairs.

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