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Steve,
Where did you hear this hiss? The refrigerant moving through the lineset will make some noise, most noticeable at the outdoor unit and near the air handler. If you can hear it in the house I might be a little concerned. (Only as far as the installation goes)
If your furnace/air handler is in the garage or basement (standard for Portland) I would expect to hear it flowing while standing next to the indoor air unit. Likewise at the outside unit or condenser. Frankly you shouldn't hear it within the house.
Another possibility is if you have a condensate pump which should cycle every now and then to empty itself of the accumulated condensate drainage. We were pretty humid yesterday and the AC's were running like crazy today.
PM me if you have any other questions.
Rob
 

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Steve,
The hiss (or sound of liquid moving through the pipes) is generally a result of the refrigerant being "metered" through either an orifice or a TXV device which holds back the refrigerant flow and meters it out. If you are concerned about a low charge a quick hands on checkout for you would be to measure the air temperature just before the air handler and the leaving air temp just after the air handler. If you have for example 74* entering and 54* leaving you are running strong. Generally a 16-20 degree difference is acceptable. With the Hot weather of today a properly sized system should be able to maintain 71* in the house. My system is on now because I just lowered the setting to 71 it was holding at 73 which is where my wife likes it.
You will of course notice it running a lot today, so don't be too concerned.

If you have a leak that you can hear, you wouldn't have much cooling happening, that is a lot of freon lost pretty quickly.
Rob
 

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Steve, An easy quick check you can do to see if your low on freon.
Go outside to the condenser and there are two copper lines. The
larger of the two is the suction line. Touch the line and it should feel
like a can that just came out of the refrigerator. Also the fan (outside)
should be blowing warm air.

If its not cold or mildly cold its probably a little low or if its iced up its
low. You would need an ac check to tell for sure but its a good tell
tail.

As Rob says it will still hiss especially with a piston. You might also look
at the copper lines coming thru the inside. If they are not tied down
they will make more noise.

Good luck
Chuck
 

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AC is nice and quiet if you shut it off and open the windows.
 
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