What Refrigerant Is and How It Works

November 18, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The chances are high that you’ve heard the term "refrigerant" if you have a home air conditioner or car. Maybe you don’t completely understand what it is precisely and how it works, though. The following is a thorough explanation of it so that you can better understand it. 

What Is Refrigerant?

Refrigerant is a fluid or gas used in air conditioning systems to provide refrigeration. The most common types of refrigerants used today are R134 and R410A. People use R134 most commonly inside their vehicular systems, and R410 is what your home air conditioning system would take to provide adequate refrigeration.

Both of the above-mentioned refrigerant types contain hydrofluorocarbons, which are less dangerous to the environment than the types people previously used. 

Although R410 is much safer than other refrigerants, it still poses somewhat of a threat. Therefore, governmental entities have created guidelines for its use. Two examples involve technicians and how they must handle refrigerant. They must dispose of it safely and repair leaks within 30 days. Additionally, only technicians and HVAC companies can purchase the product. 

How Does Refrigerant Work?

The way refrigerant works is quite complex but phenomenal. First, it’s essential to know that refrigerant primarily sits inside an air conditioner’s copper coils. From that position, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the room, which causes it to switch from a gaseous to a liquid form.

The air conditioner then sends the liquid outside, and the fan blows hot air over the top of the coils. The refrigerant then cools and returns to a gaseous state.

A second fan blows air over the chilled coils to send comfortably cool air to various parts of the room. This cycle repeats itself continually until someone turns the air conditioner off. Is refrigerant necessary for AC? Yes, it is necessary to produce cold air. 

Common Problems With Refrigerants

These are a few of the issues that occur the most with refrigerants:

Outdated Refrigerant

Some people have older air conditioning systems that still use harmful refrigerants like R22. While no organization requires such people to upgrade their systems immediately, they can still run into problems if they have a leak, as the technician will not be able to use R22. It may be in those people’s best interest to upgrade their systems. 

Refrigerant Leak Problems

Leaks are the most frequent problem associated with refrigerants, and they can happen within AC systems for various reasons. For instance, tube walls can become thin over time, which is a normal process that occurs.

An AC system can also be improperly installed and have a leakage issue because of that. Another issue that can cause a leak is a factory defect. Signs that your AC unit is leaking refrigerant include longer than usual cooling times, frozen coils, and hissing sounds. 

How To Fix an Issue With Refrigerants

It is best to contact a certified technician to help with a refrigerant problem. That way, you can feel confident that someone has filled your refrigerant correctly, and you can enjoy your AC system’s effective operation afterward. 

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