The home's air conditioning unit relies on pressurized refrigerant to pull heat from the air before it circulates through the property. While this is a closed system, leaks can develop after the appliance experiences damage, lowering the efficiency of your HVAC equipment. If your AC isn’t operating properly, below are several indications a refrigerant leak may be the culprit.

How Can You Identify a Refrigerant Leak?

1. Hissing Sounds

These leaks commonly occur when small cracks form in the refrigerant line. Then, because the refrigerant is under high pressure, the AC unit forces it through the openings. This creates a hissing sound because the pressurized gas is escaping through a small hole. Generally you will hear this after the unit turns on and runs for several minutes. While leaking refrigerant is the most common cause of this, it could also be due to faulty mechanical components or air intake problems. To narrow the issue, pay attention to a sweet smell and clear liquid around the unit, as these show that refrigerant is leaking.

air conditioning

2. Warm Air

When the air conditioning system activates, it may produce warm air for several minutes before it cools to the desired temperature. However, if the air stays warm for long periods, only cools intermittently, or doesn't cool at all, the system likely doesn't have enough refrigerant. This can occur if contractors didn't fill it up enough after installation, but this is uncommon. Instead, there is likely a leak in the system.

3. Frozen Evaporator Coils

The refrigerant line in your AC runs through a series of evaporator coils that extract heat from indoor air. When refrigerant levels are too low, the evaporator coil can’t efficiently absorb heat, causing ice crystals to form on them from condensation. When your AC stops running, this ice will melt and form puddles around the unit. Without prompt attention, the water can damage the wiring and other components in the air conditioning unit, requiring costly repairs to fix.


If your air conditioning system is showing signs of a refrigerant leak, turn to Air One Heating & Cooling LLC in Foley, AL, for prompt repairs. For more than 20 years, this family-owned and -operated business has been providing comprehensive AC repair, maintenance, and installation services to residents throughout Baldwin County. Call (251) 967-1665 to request a free estimate, and visit them online to learn more about their services.