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Refrigerant Leaks in Your Commercial AC Equipment

commercial-hvac-technician-servicingOne of the common repair issues we often deal with when it comes to commercial air conditioning in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area is refrigerant leaks. This isn’t a problem that only strikes residential equipment! If your facility uses refrigerant-based heat pumps or air conditioners, they can begin to leak refrigerant at almost any point in their service lives. 

Refrigerant leaks require quick action to repair, otherwise the equipment is in danger of a full breakdown due to compressor failure. In this post, we’ve provided a list of ways to detect refrigerant leaks as early as possible so you can alert our technicians. We’ll work to avert greater problems and have your proper cooling restored.

There’s a drop in cooling in the facility

Any decline in an HVAC equipment’s ability to provide the expected cooling for a facility is a cause for concern. Leaking refrigerant is often the reason that you’ll find parts of the building turning hotter than normal. Pay close attention to any reports from employees and clients of rooms that feel too warm. If you have building automation systems, they’ll point out discrepancies in output for you.

Humidity levels have risen 

You may notice an alteration in the facility’s indoor humidity before the refrigerant leaks start to affect temperature levels. Air conditioning systems are not dehumidifiers, but they do capture some moisture from the air as they operate. Less refrigerant from leaks means less humidity removed, leading to a detectable rise in humidity indoors.

A large increase in regular energy costs

Losing refrigerant will cause an air conditioner or heat pump to also lose efficiency: with less refrigerant to remove heat from the air, the equipment will need to work harder and run for longer to reach temperature targets. You’ll see the results of this on your regular energy bills—and the increase can be significant. Never shrug off these spikes in energy bills: if you can’t account for the rise, have professionals inspect the equipment right away.


This is when an air conditioner or heat pump begins to turn on and off rapidly over a short time, ending its cooling cycles early and then starting up again. You can expect a cooling system to run its compressor for 15 to 20 minutes. If it starts to run for 10 minutes or less, it’s short-cycling—and this is a red flag for refrigerant leaks. It’s more difficult to notice this in commercial equipment because the compressor is usually located on the roof. However, you can often hear the compressor through the vents. 

Important note: All of the warning signs above can also come from different problems. Commercial HVAC systems are complex and different malfunctions can create similar symptoms. We don’t advocate that you attempt to diagnose any problem yourself—that’s why you have experts like us. When in doubt about your commercial cooling, leave the inspections and solutions to Advantage Airtech. We’ll find out exactly what’s wrong and the best way to remedy it. 

Advantage Airtech Commercial Ltd. is the Double “A” Name with the Triple “A” Rating. Call us for commercial and industrial HVAC service in the Greater Toronto Area.

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