Why Does My Air Conditioner Sound Like It’s Hissing?

air conditioner

Have you ever wondered why your air conditioner is making an annoying hissing noise?

If you hear hissing, bubbling, or gurgling coming from your air conditioner, it’s likely because you are low on refrigerant and have a leak.

Refrigerant, commonly called Freon, is the chemical inside your air conditioning lines that turns your homes warm air into cool air. It is an essential part of your system and you can’t have cool air without it.

When your air conditioning system is low on refrigerant, the AC can’t cool your home efficiently, if at all, and it can cause damage to major components.

Think of it like running your car out of oil. How long is that engine going to last? What kind of damage is that going to do to your car?

Let’s look at a few other signs your system has a leak.

1. Your home takes forever to cool off

Refrigerant acts like a sponge with heat. When warm air is blown over cold refrigerant, it soaks up that heat (and humidity) and turns it into cool air. Without the proper amount of refrigerant, your air conditioner won’t be able to absorb the amount of heat it should, causing your home to not cool down very quickly.

2. There is warm air coming out of the vents

Are you near a vent? Put your hand over it. Feel warm? That is a sign that your air conditioner is not absorbing the heat it should out of the air.

3. You have higher than normal electric bills

Are you scratching your head wondering why your electric bill doubled last month even though you were on vacation? An AC with a refrigerant leak will run longer than normal to cool your house down to temperature. This results in a much higher energy bill than normal.

4. You have ice on your refrigerant line

Go to your furnace. Check the line that has insulation on it. Is there ice at the end going into your coil box? If there is, it could be a sign you are low on refrigerant.

So let’s say you notice one or more of these signs. What do you do now?

What should you do if you have a refrigerant leak?

If you notice a few of these symptoms and think you have a refrigerant leak, contact a professional to repair it or give you suggestions on how to proceed.

Only a trained professional has the proper tooling to properly diagnose and repair a leak and handle refrigerant. In fact, it is law that you must be certified to be able to handle refrigerant.

When you hire a technician to fix a refrigerant leak, they should always follow this five step process:

  1. Diagnose your system to confirm there actually is a leak.
  2. Give you, the homeowner, options on how to proceed.
  3. Find the source of the leak.
  4. Repair the leak.
  5. Fill your system with refrigerant.

Look out for scam artists

The most common refrigerant scam we hear (a lot) is if a technician indicates that you are low on refrigerant and promptly fills you up. Here are a few issues:

  1. Your air conditioner is a sealed system, meaning that nothing should ever come in, and nothing should ever come out if all goes well.
  2. If your refrigerant does come out, this means that you have a leak.
  3. If all the technician does is fill you up, all that refrigerant is going to just leak back out leaving you without cooling yet again and most likely frustrated.

A fraudulent company knows that if they simply fill you up with refrigerant, they will get another call from you in a few weeks or months to come do the same repair. Refrigerant is expensive, well over $100 per pound in many cases and your leak will usually take a few pounds to get back to optimal conditions. You can see how this can add up pretty quickly.

So what’s the take away?

When a technician says you have a leak, always ask if there is a fix they can perform either right then or at a later date before they refill your air conditioner. If your air conditioner is over 12 years old, it might make sense to think about replacing your A/C due to high repair costs.

Need an AC repair professional who is trustworthy in the Northfield, Ohio area?

Schedule with Jackson Comfort. We’ll get you fixed up fast, with a guaranteed repair!

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