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Bayonet Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

The Importance of Fixing a Heat Pump Refrigerant Leak


With our mild winter weather, some Florida homeowners think that a designated heating system isn’t necessary. Many are hesitant to invest in a system that is used only for heating which is why a heat pump is a popular option.

The heat pump is an HVAC system that both heats and cools the homes. A heat pump is dependent on the refrigerant cycle to function properly and efficiently. That’s why a refrigerant leak in your HVAC in Orlando, FL is such a cause for concern.

What is Refrigerant in Heat Pumps?

Refrigerant is a compound used in air conditioners, heaters, and heat pumps. The refrigerant in a heat pump operates as the heat transfer medium. These systems don’t consume refrigerant, so a low charge means either an insufficient charge at the time of installation or a leak. A heat pump needs to maintain a certain level of refrigerant for it to function properly. 

Signs Of a Refrigerant Leak

You’ll notice a number of symptoms if your heat pump is low on refrigerant or has a leak. The most obvious red flag is decreased heating and cooling output. If you think your heat pump is not working as it should, check for a refrigerant leak by looking for these other signs.

Moisture or Ice

Low refrigerant levels may result in ice building up on the evaporator coil.

Decreased Airflow

A typical sign of a leak is decreased airflow. When a heat pump is low on refrigerant, it cannot produce either enough warm or cool air and the airflow will be weak.

Increased Energy Bills

If your energy bill has increased with no correlation in usage, this is a red flag. If there’s a refrigerant leak, the system is being forced to work harder to produce warm air. 

Hissing Sound

When a refrigerant leak develops, you might notice a light hissing sound as the refrigerant escapes from the coils. It escapes as a gas and can be a health hazard.

Short Cycling

Short cycling occurs when the system rapidly starts up and shuts down without completing a heating (or cooling) cycle due to the system overheating.

Dangers of a Refrigerant Leak

If a refrigerant leak gives way to significantly low levels of refrigerant, then your HVAC system will malfunction. It can freeze or heat up significantly. Both of these can be costly to repair and if it goes long enough without being repaired, you may end up needing to replace it.

Refrigerant leaks are harmful to your health and can cause headaches, coughing, nausea, vomiting, skin and eye irritation, and difficulty breathing. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.

If you suspect your heat pump has a leak, be sure to contact us as soon as possible. If you’re having a refrigerant leak during winter, then getting quick repairs is going to save you a lot of trouble. Our team has the expertise to work on these systems.

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact a member of our team right away. Contact Bayonet Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning for all of your heat pump services.

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