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Should You Repair or Replace an AC Leaking Refrigerant?

air-conditioning-manometer-pressure-refrigerantOne of the most concerning problems that can affect an air conditioning system is when it becomes “leaky”—i.e. begins to leak chemical refrigerant. A loss of refrigerant doesn’t just take away the essential fluid for an air conditioner to cool down a space. It also puts the air conditioner at risk of a catastrophic breakdown due to a burnt-out compressor.

Leaking refrigerant is always a reason to call our technicians for air conditioning repair in Brighton, MI. But is it also a reason to schedule a replacement for the system? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Let’s get into the details—but always rely on the assistance of professional opinion before making a choice.

Leaking refrigerant is a frequent problem

A refrigerant leak is one of the most common issues we see in residential air conditioners. It’s not an extraordinary circumstance, and our technicians are familiar with handling the problem fast. We located where the leaks are occurring, and then we can seal the leaks and recharge the lost refrigerant so the system is back to factory levels.

Leaks can occur in relatively “young” air conditioners, not just aging ones. In fact, one of the biggest risk periods for leaking in an AC is when the unit is 5 years older or more, which is usually not even halfway through the air conditioner’s lifespan. This is the point where formaldehyde in the air of a house can start to create formicary corrosion on the copper refrigerant lines. If you’ve had the AC for less than 10 years, it’s usually worthwhile to have the leaks repaired—you should still have many good years of life left in the system after this.

Leaking refrigerant is also a sign of an over-the-hill system

Refrigerant can also start to leak because the air conditioner is too old. In fact, it’s a common warning sign of a system that should’ve been replaced a few years ago. For an air conditioner that’s more than 15 years in service and is no longer under warranty, a replacement is better.

The R-22 issue

If you have an old AC that uses R-22 refrigerant, then leaks probably can’t be repaired. This refrigerant blend has been phased out of use as of this year, and technicians cannot put R-22 into a system. It’s time to put in a new AC that uses the more environmentally safe (and energy efficient) refrigerant blend R-410A.

The leak has caused other damage to the system

A leak that took a long time to discover may have already inflicted damage on the compressor. In these situations, the compressor ­can often be replaced—but this is a prohibitively expensive repair if the system is no longer under warranty. In this situation, it’s best to have a new system put in: you’ll not only have a new compressor, but you’ll also have a new warranty along with the other components.

You can trust to our technicians to give you honest answers to your concerns and the best service.

First Choice Heating & Cooling is here for your AC needs. “If your home had a voice … it would call First Choice!

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