2 Common Causes Of Air Conditioner Refrigerant Leaks

30 January 2017
 Categories: , Blog


A refrigerant leak is one of the worst things that can happen to an air conditioner. That's because it will result in your AC having to work harder and harder to produce less and less cool air, all while leaking potentially dangerous refrigerant. If you would like to learn more about the sorts of things that can lead to a refrigerant leak, read on. This article will discuss two of the most common culprits behind this problem.

Bad Schrader Valve

If you have ever put air in the tires of an automobile or a bicycle, then you know exactly what a schrader valve is. Yet the purpose of a schrader valve in an air conditioner is not quite so obvious. Here its job is not to allow air into the system, but rather to keep the refrigerant from coming out, while simultaneously permitting an air conditioner technician to measure the system's pressure.

The problem here is that, over time, small rubber seals inside of the schrader valve begin to deteriorate, thus allowing refrigerant to leak out. Alternatively, the valve may allow refrigerant to leak out if it gets stuck in its depressed position. Fortunately, a replacement valve is rather inexpensive. An air conditioner technician will have a special tool that allows them to remove the bad valve and replace it with the new one--all without having to go through the trouble of removing all of the refrigerant from the air conditioner.

Leaking Capillary Tube

The capillary tube is a special component inside of your air conditioner's condenser unit. Its purpose is to help maintain equal pressure across the entire refrigeration cycle. A capillary tube consists of a very thin, coiled copper tube. The delicate nature of this tube is what often leads to refrigerant leaks. As the result of vibrations coming from the condenser motor, the capillary tube often rubs either against itself or against a nearby part of the condenser. Should this go on long enough, friction will cause a small hole to form on the wall of the capillary tube.

Unfortunately, capillary tube leaks can be difficult to diagnose. That's because they require that a portion of the air conditioner be disassembled to gain access to the capillary tube. Holes in the capillary tube can often be repaired by soldering a larger piece of copper tubing over the damaged area. Yet if the damage is more severe or if the hole is located in a hard-to-reach part of the tube, it may be necessary to install a new capillary tube.

Contact a company that specializes in home air conditioner repair for more information.