How Much Does It Cost To Fix An AC Unit Leak?

The most common question asked by many homeowners. Whether it's fixing an air conditioner that leaks, or a furnace for that matter, there are different causes and reasons why they leak.

AC units have a lot of different parts, but most indoor units are remarkably similar. Replacing something like an evaporator coil is not uncommon- these things often last over 10 years. Learn what to look out for if you think your AC unit leaks somewhere and how much AC repair and maintenance costs.

AC Unit

A little background on air conditioners and refrigerants

For an AC unit to work, gas must be used- a refrigerant. If you've ever heard the word 'Freon,' that's just one brand of refrigerant. The most common type of AC unit today uses R-410A (there are other types as well, but that's all we'll discuss here). The refrigerant is what cools the air. 

It works simply: it travels between two metal tubes- one inside the other. These tubes are located within the AC unit and can easily be seen when opening the casing. The tubing inside is copper or aluminum and is used to transport heat away from your AC unit. 

To keep everything nice and cool while transporting heat, the refrigerant boils (or turns into a gas), just like water does when you boil it on a stovetop burner. It then travels between the two metal tubes, picks up heat, and becomes a liquid again.

What are the symptoms of a leak in the AC unit ?

The most common symptom is hearing blowing or noise when the outside compressor isn't running. Some other things to look for are:

  • Warm air blowing from your vents
  • An unexplained increase in electricity bills
  • The unit taking longer than usual to cool your home
  • Ice buildup on the outdoor unit's lines and service area
  • Frequent cycling of the AC unit on and off
  • Unusual noises when the AC unit is running
  • A noticeable decrease in airflow from the AC vents
  • The AC unit is struggling to reach the set temperature
  • The formation of wet spots around the AC unit

AC leak repair cost

The cost of fixing an AC unit leak can vary depending on the repair and the severity of the leak. If you suspect your AC unit has a refrigerant leak, it is always best to call an AC repair contractor to diagnose and fix the issue.

Some common types of AC unit leaks and their estimated costs include:

  • Evaporator coil replacement: $600-$1,200
  • Refrigerant leak detection and repair: $300-$1,500
  • Recharge of refrigerant levels: $200-$400
  • Compressor replacement: $1,200-$2,000

[Note these are estimated costs, and the actual AC repair cost may vary] 

What causes leaks in the AC unit?

It depends on what type of leak it is. A leak from the inside of an air conditioner or a leak from the outside?

Or you saw a pipe with a leak. There are different causes for each of these types of leaks, and some common ones include:

  • Age: As your AC unit ages, it becomes more susceptible to damage, leading to potential leaks.
  • Corrosion: Over time, the copper or aluminum tubing inside your AC unit can corrode, creating holes and leaks.
  • Poor installation: If your AC unit is not installed properly, it can lead to issues down the road, including leaks.
  • Physical damage: Accidents or severe weather events can cause physical damage to an AC unit, leading to leaks.
  • Lack of maintenance: Regular maintenance is important for keeping your AC unit in good shape. A lack of maintenance can result in leaks.
  • Improper repair: If a previous repair was not done correctly, it can cause new problems, including leaks.

Preventing AC unit leaks

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to HVAC systems. Regular maintenance and check-ups by a professional AC repair technician can help prevent AC unit leaks and costly repairs in the long run. It is recommended to have your air conditioner unit serviced at least once a year, preferably before the hot summer months start.

Another important factor to consider is changing your air filter regularly. A dirty air filter can cause strain on your AC unit, leading to malfunctions and potential leaks.

 Keeping the area around your air conditioner unit clean and debris-free is also a good idea, as this can cause damage and leaks.

What happens when you have a leak in the air conditioner?

If you think that you are leaked, look for some of these signs:

It's much louder than usual- especially when it is running. This is especially noticeable when you turn on your AC. 

You can hear a whirring sound in the outdoor compressor, and it probably sounds like something is shaking inside the unit when you run it. The fan may also be running much louder than usual or even staying on (this depends on how fast the refrigerant leaks are happening). 

The air coming out is hotter than usual -or- the unit is not cooling at all. Therefore, the air coming out should be cooler. Once you turn on your AC and feel warm air blowing out, there's a good chance you have a leak. If there are no leaks, the heat transfer between the refrigerant and heat (coming from inside) should be more efficient. 

If your AC is not running, there's a good chance you leak as well. Whenever there are leaks, the entire system has to work harder because the refrigerant isn't working properly- and it takes more power to run the compressor. This will make your bills much higher than usual- and it can also shorten the life of your AC unit. Call an AC repair specialist today by contacting MileHi HVAC contractors. 

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