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Goettl Air Conditioning Tucson Blog

Heat Pump Repairs: Refrigerant Leaks

heat-and-coolThe heat pump is a very popular home heating system in this part of the country. Because our winters are quite mild, many homeowners flock to the heat pump due to the fact that it works as both an air conditioning and a heating system. This is made possible thanks to the system’s use of a refrigerant cycle, as well as a component called a  reversing valve. We’ll get into all of that in a bit more detail below.

First, though, we want to remind you that any system using refrigerant in its operation, from central air conditioners to heat pumps, are inherently at risk of developing refrigerant leaks. Refrigerant leaks can prove to be quite damaging to the system in question, and they also severely limit the system’s ability to keep one’s home comfortable. Learning to spot the signs of a refrigerant leak is something that every homeowner using a refrigerant based system should take seriously. Here are a few tips to help you spot them in your system.

How the Heat Pump Works

Like a traditional split central air conditioner, a heat pump evaporates refrigerant in the evaporator coil in order to remove heat passing through that coil. The warmed refrigerant is sent outdoors to the condenser coil, where it is condensed in order to release the heat that it has absorbed outdoors. The process continues until the desired temperature is met indoors.

Unlike a central AC, though, the heat pump can reverse the direction in which refrigerant flows. By doing so, and also reversing the function of its coils, the system is able to draw heat out of the air outside, and to use that heat in order to warm the air in the house. This is an incredibly efficient method of heating, as no new heat is generated. If there is a low refrigerant charge, however, then problems are going to develop with its operation.

  • Short Cycling: One common sign of a refrigerant leak is short cycling. Short cycling is a situation in which an HVAC system starts up, but runs only briefly before shutting back down. This puts a lot of wear and tear on the system, and can result in lasting damages. If there is not enough refrigerant in the system, then it can overheat as it strains to keep up with the heating (or cooling) demand.
  • Hissing Sounds: Yes, you can actually sometimes hear the sound of refrigerant escaping from your system. If you hear hissing coming from your heat pump, then you don’t have a snake in the system. You’re hearing the sound of pressurized gas escaping.
  • Increased Costs: Just because we don’t have to worry about extremely cold temperatures around here in the winter is no reason to settle for an overpriced heating performance! If your heater is costing too much to run, then it could be the result of a refrigerant leak in your system. Be sure to schedule your heating repairs in Tucson, AZ with the pros here at Goettl Air Conditioning Tucson.

G-O-E-T-T-L it’ll keep you cool, but it’s hard to spell.

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