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What Causes Freon to Leak?

TechXpert verified by Ken Kontra

Problems with installation, vibration, pressure, corrosion, and wear and tear can all lead to Freon leaks. If you find yourself fretting over a Freon leak, it is likely due to vibration, pressure, material defects or because of formicary corrosion.

How Freon Works

Your AC compressor compresses cold Freon gas, which is then combined with oil to lubricate the compressor. This compression process makes the gas very hot before flowing through a series of coils where its temperature is lowered and the gas itself is converted to liquid. The liquid then passes through the TXV, where the liquid is cooled until it evaporates. In the end, Freon is responsible for actually creating the cool air.

Champagne Leaks: No Cause for Celebration

You can find Freon leaks in your AC system’s evaporator or condenser coils. Look closely: can you see any oil on surfaces, small bubbles or punctures? That’s a telltale sign that you’re dealing with a Freon leak.

Why Your Freon Freaks

Formicary corrosion is the primary culprit behind a Freon leak, which happens when formic acid penetrates and corrodes thin copper coils over time. But Freon can also leak due to:

  • Poor installation

  • Factory defects in your unit

  • Wear and tear

  • System vibrations

Fix Your Freon Leaks

A band-aid won’t cut it this time. Freon leaks should be taken seriously because they can easily lead to a health hazard. If you detect an unpleasant odor from your AC system, don’t ignore it: it’s likely due to a Freon leak, and that should be handled by an HVAC professional who can prevent the substance from entering the airflow inside of your house.

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