Rick, What Causes Freon to Leak from an Air Conditioning Unit?

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An air conditioning unit that is low on Freon will have difficulty operating efficiently. Many people mistakenly believe that Freon is used up over time, but that’s not actually the case. If your unit is low on Freon, there are a number of things that could be contributed to this coolant loss.

Holes in Copper Tubing

The tubing in an air conditioning unit can be damaged by a number of things, including flying rocks or debris from a lawn mower. Tubing could also crack or break under extreme temperatures, or as a natural part of aging. Even a tiny hole in your system’s tubing can lead to a significant amount of Freon loss over time, and the only way to counteract that loss would be to repair the leak.

Damaged Seals and O-Rings

An air conditioning system consists of various o-rings and seals that are designed to help keep Freon inside it. Unfortunately, these components wear out over time, and may consequently be ineffective at preventing Freon loss. In order to ensure this doesn’t happen, seals and o-rings should be lubricated often, and replaced whenever they begin to show signs of excessive wear.


Adding too much Freon could cause too much pressure to build up inside a system. When this happens, a unit could burst a seal, which would consequently lead to coolant loss. There are also valves inside an A/C unit that are responsible for charging the system. If one of these malfunctions, it could also lead to too much pressure and consequently result in lost Freon.

You won’t be able to see, hear or smell Freon leaking. The only way you may become aware of a leak is when your system fails to function as it should. Having regular inspections is the best way to discover leaks, and refilling your system won’t cost as much when you catch leaks early on. For an inspection of your home’s heating and cooling system, contact us.

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