If you have been told or just think that your HVAC system needs refrigerant, then the refrigerant currently in the unit is leaking from somewhere. Before a technician fills it back up, they will determine where the leak is and repair it for you. Below are some symptoms your system will be having if you are actually low on refrigerant, and common places the HVAC technician will find the refrigerant leaking from:
Low on Refrigerant Symptoms
If you have a refrigerant leak, you will notice the temperature inside your home is not correct. For example, your home will feel a lot cooler in the winter or a lot warmer in the summer. Your HVAC unit will also take much longer to reach the temperature you set on your thermostat. This will cause excessive use of the unit, which will cause the unit to have even more problems. This will also cause your electric bill to go up. The air coming out of the air vents in your home will also feel warm to you.
Go outside and look at the HVAC unit. You will see a grill on the top or side of the unit with a fan inside that spins. Inside this grill, you can see copper lines, which are refrigerant lines. You may need to use a flashlight to see these well. If you see ice built up on the lines, then your unit is likely low on refrigerant.
Common Refrigerant Leak Areas
One common area refrigerant leaks from is in the evaporator coils. These coils have very small tubes that come out of them. When the coil is running, it causes the tubes to either run against an object close to them or rub up against to each other. Over time, this will cause the tubes to wear down, and they will eventually get small holes in them. This is an easy fix as the HVAC technician will only have to replace the tubes.
Another common area refrigerant leaks from is the condenser coils. Condenser coils are U shaped, and a type of tubular sheet metal holds the coils together. When the HVAC system is running, the sheet metal rubs against tubes creating small holes over time. If this is found to be the problem, the HVAC technician will likely replace the entire condensing unit.
Talk with an HVAC technician about this information and they can give you many more details.