Ductless, mini-split air conditioning systems are some of the most reliable and cost-effective air conditioners available today, and these compact cooling systems generally require very little maintenance. Unfortunately, they can still suffer from mechanical problems, especially if they are not properly installed. Refrigerant leaks can be some of the most troublesome issues to deal with.
How Do Refrigerant Leaks Affect Mini-Split Systems?
All mini-split air conditioners rely on a supply of refrigerant liquid to provide cool air for your home or commercial business. This liquid runs through the system's indoor unit, where it absorbs heat and cools the air that passes through the unit. The liquid is then funneled to your system's outdoor condenser unit, where the collected heat is expelled into the outdoor air.
Under normal circumstances, this cycle continues indefinitely until your room is cooled and the system's thermostat reaches its set temperature. A properly functioning mini-split does not consume refrigerant liquid in any way. However, if there is a crack or hole in the refrigerant conduits that connect your indoor and outdoor units, the refrigerant liquid will be lost.
Leaks in a mini-split system's conduits can rapidly drain the system's supply of refrigerant liquid. Because these conduits usually run through the walls of your building, the leak itself may be completely hidden. As such, you should keep an eye out for common symptoms of refrigerant leaks. Additionally, if your system does start to lose refrigerant liquid, you may notice a gradual drop-off in the system's cooling power. Because your system is forced to use less liquid, it will also consume more energy, causing your energy bills to increase.
If the system's liquid supply runs very low, you may also notice ice starting to form on the indoor unit's evaporator coils. When the system is deactivated, this ice will melt, causing liquid water to drip from the indoor unit's air vents.
What Should You Do If Your Mini-Split Has A Refrigerant Leak?
If your mini-split system is not functioning as it should, and you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms, you should call in a professional air conditioning repair service as soon as possible to inspect your system. A number of other problems, such as clogged air filters, can cause similar problems as refrigerant leaks, so determining the root cause of your mini-split's problems is always important.
If a professional repair service determines that refrigerant leaks are causing your troubles, they can use specialized leak location tools to find the problem area and repair or replace the damaged conduit. If your system loses a significant amount of liquid while it is leaking, professional services can also top up your system's refrigerant supply.
Bear in mind that refrigerant liquids are toxic, and prolonged exposure can cause serious health problems. You should never put yourself at risk by attempting to fix the problem yourself. For more information, contact an air conditioning repair service.