Detecting and Correcting Leaky AC Coils

Learn what causes leaks in air conditioner coils and what to do about them.

 Detecting and Correcting Leaky AC CoilsWater dripping off the outside of your air conditioner coils is perfectly normal. But coolant leaking from the inside of the coils can be a big problem. Read on to learn more about detecting and correcting air conditioner coolant leaks.

Why Do AC Coils Leak?

The two main causes of leaks in air conditioner coils are manufacturing defects and old age. If you have a new system that has begun to leak, be sure to check your warranty before calling for air conditioner repair. Often, the manufacturer will cover the necessary work which may include tightening connections or re-soldering joints.

If your air conditioner is older, the leak has probably developed due to a process called formicary corrosion. This process begins when condensation on top of the coils interacts with Volatile Organic Chemicals in your indoor air and creates formic acid. Eventually, the acid will create tiny holes in the copper coil walls and cause leaks.

Why Should I Care?

While your air conditioner will continue to cool your home even if it has small coolant leak, your energy efficiency will suffer. Some experts have found that following a 10 percent drop in coolant level, your ac costs will increase 20 percent.

Another reason you should be concerned about coolant leaks is that replacement coolant can be very expensive, especially if you have an older air conditioner. The R-22 refrigerant used in most older systems will be phased out by 2020, and the supply is already dropping. This has pushed up the price of R-22, and you really don’t want to be spending hundreds of dollars on new coolant at each ac maintenance visit.

One final reason you should care about leaky ac coils is that if you are using R-22, your leak is harming the environment. R-22 is a greenhouse gas that is bad for the ozone layer, which is why it is being phased out.

What Can I Do About AC Coil Leaks?

To fix a coil leak, the first thing you should do is call the pros at General Heating & Air Conditioning for air conditioner repair. We’ll seal your leak if possible and recharge your refrigerant.

To prevent future leaks, you need to be vigilant about your preventative maintenance. Get your coils cleaned every year as part of your ac maintenance to help minimize the buildup of formic acid. You will also want to take steps to minimize the coils’ exposure to VOCs, such as cutting back on cleaning products that may emit VOCs and/or adding ventilation to the area where the coils are housed.