How to Fix a Refrigerant Leak

Needless to say, we’d all be happy if our furnaces and air conditioners just behaved well for the remainder of our days. Of course, we live in the real world, and we occasionally have to know how to fix a refrigerant leak or how to change a filter or how to fix every possible thing that could go wrong.

Or perhaps we just have to know who to call when those things go wrong.

Still, understanding a bit more about repairing refrigerant leaks isn’t going to hurt us or our wallets; we do, after all, need to know how much money and time we’ll be parting ways with when the time to get the repairs done finally arrives.

So what’s the first step to understanding more about fixing your refrigerant leak? Setting boundaries for yourself as a homeowner.

How To Fix A Refrigerant Leak On Your Own

We’re not going to be secretive about the fact that we aren’t exactly fans of turning refrigerant leak repairs into personal projects.

Yes, you can take some home repairs into your own hands, but you shouldn’t make the mistake of overestimating your abilities. Such overestimations do more harm than good in most cases.

That said, we do believe that you are capable of contributing to the necessary repairs in this case, even if only to a small extent.

Identifying Refrigerant Leaks

You’ll first want to ascertain whether or not you have a refrigerant leak.

No, we’re not insulting your intelligence here; we just know how easy it is to misdiagnose a problem in our haste to see it resolved.

Fortunately, the identification process is quite simple, at least on the surface. You need only search for an exit point. Doing so, however, is easier said than done, especially if the exit point is rather small.

If, though, the exit point turns out to be large, you’ll be in good shape since you’ll be able to provide a repairman with vital information about the source of the leak.

If, on the other hand, the exit point is on the smaller side, you’ll probably want to leave the detection to someone who has both a more experienced eye and a number of other tools which help detect leaks.

What You Can Do About The Leak

If you are able to successfully find an exit point, we really don’t recommend that you try to fix the problem on your own.

Of course, we realize that we can’t stop you from trying to take on such a task, which is why we’ll briefly go over a low-cost option for those of you who are determined not to enlist a professional.

Simply put, there are products on the market (i.e. freon leak repair kits) which are designed to help homeowners patch up their leaky air conditioning units. These kits typically come with the necessary sealants and hoses. They should also come with some instructions.

While these kits are certainly cheap alternatives to hiring a professional, they have their limits. If the exit point is too small, for example, you’re not going to get much utility out of them.

To be completely blunt, if you’re really strapped for cash, regular maintenance is going to be much more beneficial to you in the long run than repair kits, something that you should remember the next time you’re thinking of saving cash.

Getting Professional Help

We’re pretty aware of the fact that we hardly told you how to fix a refrigerant leak in the last section, and there is a good reason for this lack of information:

Fixing a refrigerant leak can get complex, which is why there are professionals who’ve taken the time to study these things.

The complexity of the information they rely on (an example of which you can take a look at here) is usually far beyond the average person’s understanding of his or her air conditioning unit. Their detection methods (e.g. ultraviolet dye, electronic detectors, nitrogen pressurization, etc.) are also much more advanced than the average person.

In other words, many people just don’t have the knowledge or the tools necessary to identify and fix refrigerant leaks as efficiently as professionals.

Even so, we aren’t suggesting that professional repairs are cheap. They can definitely be expensive, a fact that we have no desire to refute, and your expenses will typically be determined by the source of your leak.

As you may or may not know, there are many components of your air conditioning unit that can spring leaks, which is why asking someone how to fix a refrigerant leak is equivalent to opening up a can of worms.

Not only that, but there are additional costs that you can’t exactly plan for, even if you’re someone who has decided to fix the problem yourself. Detection methods, for example, can turn out to be pricier than you think they’ll be, and sealing certain types of leaks might end up being challenging for one reason or another.

You might even find that your leak can’t simply be fixed by sealing the hole. For instance, you could chance upon a leak in your unit’s evaporator coil. If the evaporator coil isn’t beyond saving, you’re lucky, but if you have to replace it, you could spend over a thousand dollars just to get rid of the leak.

As you can see, the source and cost of your leak really can vary, and we hope this unpredictability is enough to convince you to leave these repairs to a professional who can get the job done without putting your air conditioning unit at risk.

Conclusion

In the end, our answer to the question of how to fix a refrigerant leak reads a bit like, “Leave it to the pros.”

Consequently, we sound as if we’re promoting our services.

Even so, professionals are professionals for a reason: They know what they’re doing, and relying on them will get you great results that will save you money in the long run.

So what is the takeaway here?

You can only do so much on your own. When it’s time to call a professional, don’t hesitate to do so. Your air conditioning unit is more important than your pride, especially on a hot summer day, which is why taking matters into your own hands just isn’t worth it in the long run.