The short answer to the question posed in the title of this post is: hopefully not. A refrigerant leak is a fairly serious issue that may affect an air conditioner or a heat pump. Because refrigerant plays such a vital role in the heat transfer process, issues with refrigerant leaks will generally present some symptoms. Keep aware of them, as catching refrigerant leaks and having them resolved as soon as possible is a great line of defense against serious damage to your air conditioner or heat pump in Snohomish, WA.
Ice on the System
Now, if you have a heat pump, it is important to remember that ice on the system is not necessarily a sign of serious trouble. Heat pumps may ice over during normal operation, and they actually have a defrost cycle for this exact reason. If the icing is more and more frequent, though, or if you are using a traditional central AC to cool your home, ice could mean that you have a refrigerant leak. An iced over evaporator coil could be the result of a very dirty air filter, but ice on the coil along with frost on the refrigerant lines likely means a leak.
Is your air conditioner starting up, running only briefly, and then cycling back down? If this is the case, it is short cycling, and that could mean a refrigerant leak. When there is not enough refrigerant in the system, it will work harder than it should have to in order to cool the house. In doing so, it may overheat and cycle off for a time to recover.
Does it seem as though your AC is blowing warm air? Again, there are a number of potential causes that could result in this problem. Leaky ductwork, for instance, could result in cooled air warming up on transit. Because a refrigerant leak is also a possibility, though, you should really have the situation assessed by a qualified professional.
G & S Heating Cooling & Electric can keep your AC working properly.