Can you repair an AC coil leak by yourself?
Most AC refrigerant leaks are caused by a faulty evaporator coil. The evaporator coil is found inside your AC unit. This component absorbs the heat in your home via a refrigerant gas and then moves the heat outside. That’s the reason why your AC keeps your home cool throughout the summer season—until the evaporator coil starts to leak. If your AC coil is leaking, your air conditioner will take longer to cool your home—or fail to do it at all.
What makes an evaporator coil leak?
Most AC evaporator coils are made out of aluminum or copper tubing. The refrigerant gas that passes through this material is what creates the cool air inside your home. But when there’s a hole in the tubing, you will notice an instant drop in the cooling capacity—or complete failure to produce any cold air at all. This can be caused by several factors, including:
- A sharp object puncturing the leaking tubing—like a nail or another metal wire
- Ductwork installed incorrectly around your unit, which causes it to freeze over because of extreme changes in temperature throughout the year
- When rodents are on your AC system or condenser unit, they can easily damage it, creating a significant leak in your refrigerant lines
Signs of a leaking AC evaporator coil
Here are some of the common signs that will tell you if your evaporator coil is leaking:
- Your AC unit shuts off after a few minutes or less
- You start noticing pools of water in front of your condenser unit—or near the base of it. This could be caused by a faulty compressor or another component in your air conditioner. If this happens, there’s a big chance that your evaporative coil has a leak, and so does your refrigerant system.
- You start hearing an odd sound whenever your air conditioning turns on or runs for more than 5-10 minutes straight. This isn’t normal since most units turn on and begin to work instantly. If this is happening, you need to call a professional immediately.
- Your AC unit’s airflow isn’t as strong as it used to be when the evaporator coil was still in good condition. A clogged or damaged fan could cause this. You can easily check this by removing the front grille of your AC unit—and checking if the metal blades inside are bent or broken entirely.
- There’s a constant rustling sound coming from your air conditioner. Not only that, there might even be water dripping out of it whenever you use it throughout the day because of a significant rise in humidity levels around your home.
- If your unit’s fan seems to be spinning abnormally—and the tech specs label on the side of your AC indicates that it should move at 1,850 RPM or more. Anything less than this could also mean that you have a leak in your evaporator coil.
If you notice any of these signs, your evaporator coil may be leaking, and you may decide it's time to start looking for an experienced AC repair service in Coachella, CA, or wherever it is you are, to come out and fix this.
Is it possible to repair a leaking AC evaporator coil on my own?
According to the technicians from Orlando Air Conditioner repair company, Hartman, you should always call an HVAC professional when your unit shows any of the signs listed earlier. They know what they’re doing and will be able to fix the issue as soon as possible—before it gets worse and causes serious damage around your home. However, if you think you can handle this task by yourself, here are some things you need to keep in mind:
- Make sure that your AC system isn’t plugged into a power outlet and that the breaker has been switched off before starting work on anything that could potentially release harmful levels of refrigerant.
- If you’re planning on removing the front grill of your AC unit, make sure it’s placed higher than eye height. This will give you better access to the evaporator coil and allow you to repair any loose connections or replace them if needed—without having to crawl up a ladder.
- Remember that refrigerant is very harmful and has been known to be fatal when inhaled into the lungs. Ensure that everyone stays out of the room while you work with this dangerous substance—and never open windows or doors after using it inside an enclosed environment.
That said, if you’ve determined that repairing the evaporator coil will cost more than replacing it, then it makes sense to buy a new one instead. When searching for replacement coils for your unit, keep the following tips in mind:
- Choose aluminum over copper coils. The former is less expensive and will last longer.
- Buy a coil with the same dimensions as the old one found in your AC unit’s owner manual.
- Verify that the new evaporator coils are compatible with your air conditioner before buying them to make sure they can function properly.
- Shop around for evaporator coils that are higher quality but still within your budget range if you’re on a tight budget. Doing so will ensure that they last longer and give you better value for money in the long run.
- Buy evaporator coils with a good warranty for extra protection. This will cover repairs or replacements in case they go wrong and validates the quality of the product you’ve purchased.