Is your heat pump freezing or exerting warming up instead of cooling down your room? If yes, very likely you have a heat pump refrigerant leak. In this troubleshooting guide for we have all the reasons why you may experience these problems and how to repair them.
If you have one heat pump refrigerant leak, you may face a few problems that we need repair or else you won’t be able to enjoy the device as much as you would like. Here we have the perfect troubleshooting guide to diagnose and fix any refrigerant leak. Come and read further to learn more!
The process consists of a process called phase conversion, which is when the refrigerant is turned from liquid to gas, absorbing the heat that is produced inside the device. It goes like this:
As you see, the refrigerant is easily the essential part of the whole process. Without it, there wouldn’t be any air conditioning, and very likely the refrigeration process wouldn’t exist.
The refrigerant is entirely essential, yet it doesn’t only wear out with time, it also exerts a few gasses that could harm the environment, such as CO2. To pick the right refrigerant that lasts longer and protects more the environment, you should know what types of refrigerants there are:
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC): The famous R12 refrigerant and similar ones. Known for contributing to greenhouse effects, it is not produced anymore.
Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC): Less damaging than the R12 to the environment, yet still bad. Will be put out of the market by 2020 due to its lack of efficiency.
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC): Includes the R410A and the R134. These are both known for being much more efficient, reliable, and for offering much better air quality due to fewer damaging emissions.
So, if you have to choose – always go for HFCs such as the R134 or the R410A. Those are the best refrigerants you will find on the market.
Still, having the best refrigerant won’t assure a great performance without a heat pump refrigerant leak.
There are various ways to know whether your heat pump has a refrigerant leak. All these symptoms may also happen with other causes, yet refrigerant leaks are the most common.
Low refrigerant levels immediately produce the device to work intensively, which makes the flow of air to be reduced eventually. Cold air will not come out of the device as usual.
The registers of an AC or heat pump should always exert cool air accordingly. However, this doesn’t always happen. When the air that comes out of the device is hot or warm, it means that there’s something wrong with it. There’s a high chance it is a refrigerant leak.
Iced build-up on the components of the AC or heat pump immediately means that the device is working defectively. The copper lines and the evaporator coils are the most susceptible to this. Whether it is because it is too dirty, the compressor has a mild deficiency or the most common of causes: the device has a refrigerant leak.
The fewer refrigerant the heat pump contains, the more energy it needs to function correctly. Sometimes it happens that due to lack of efficiency, you end up lowering the temperature, which makes it consume even more energy. In the long run, this makes your utility bills go higher than before.
As long as the device is not producing enough cold air, the time it will take to cool down your home will be longer. Without proper refrigerant levels, the effectiveness of the cooling process of an AC or heat pump will immediately lower down.
Especially when you can hear a hissing sound from the coils and/or the registers, it means that the device leaks one of the coils. Some clicking or cracking sounds indicate that the device is freezing over, which is also a sign that it lacks refrigerant.
These are some of the symptoms that will help you find out if your heat pump has a refrigerant leak problem or not. But, why do they happen?
Whether the device has been fixed before from a leak or a component was connected using soldering methods, it needs to be strong or else the device may eventually break again. Poor soldering may cause the following leaks:
When any of the components of a heat pump gets damaged, a refrigerant leak is very likely to occur. Remember, the refrigerant passes through almost all the parts of a heat pump, including the compressor, evaporator, and condenser. You may experience the following leaks:
More and more heat pumps are coming with manufacturing problems nowadays. Most of these wrongly manufactured devices are developing leaks in just a few years of use, sometimes even months. The larger the device, the more likely it is to have these manufacturer-caused leaks.
If can find the leak on your heat pump, you can repair it. In the old days, correcting a device with refrigerant leaks was a nightmare, and almost always it ended on a coil or component being wholly replaced instead of mended. However, finding the leak today can also be a tough job.
Whether it is with specialized equipment such as high-pressure nitrogen compression, a micron gauge with a vacuum, or any other, testing a heat pump for a refrigerant leak can be a tough thing. But if the leak is easy to spot, even visually, on the coils or in the suction line, you may find it easier to repair it by merely mending the hole, cut, or leak, and then add the necessary refrigerant again for the device to work correctly.
When we talk about replacing something, we need to make sure we know exactly what needs to be replaced. For example, evaporators, compressors, and condenser, when they are in horrible situations or are too old to repair, there’s nothing better than to replace them. A deplorable condition would mean coils or overall integrity with too many leaks or holes. Or on the other hand, a component that can’t be repaired as it is too old or needs especial amendments that are not possible to do.
Another component you can replace your heat pump or AC is the refrigerant. To replace coolant, you need to make sure to use the same type of refrigerant. Or else you would have to change the complete refrigerant line, primarily if the device used R22 and you want to use R410A now, for example.
If repairing or replacing the heat pump by yourself doesn’t sound like a good idea, then you can always call an expert technician. They will probably have all the necessary equipment and experience to test, find, and repair the problem you have. And if it comes to replacing something, they will surely know what and how to do it correctly.
However, it is important to stay away from those “AC professionals” who don’t do any testing, who don’t have enough equipment, and who don’t give you tangible answers about how to fix your device. In these cases, find a better expert or do it by yourself, following our troubleshooting tips.
Following these steps will help you find out what problems is your device having and eventually fix them. Make sure you follow them thoroughly and take into consideration each detail.
Having a heat pump refrigerant leak is not a problem impossible to repair. Even though a professional may know more, have a better experience, and possibly have each essential piece of equipment to fix it – you may still have the chance to save a few bucks and do it yourself.
Follow this troubleshooting guide with everything needed to test, diagnose, and fix your own leaks & components so you can eventually say goodbye to any heat pump refrigerant leak problems you may be experiencing.
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