Air Conditioning

Refrigerant 101: What it is and Why it Matters

Refrigerant 101: What it is and Why it Matters

You don’t need a course in Refrigerant 101 to know whether your air conditioner’s keeping the house cool on a summer day. Without refrigerant circulating in the cooling system, we’d all be a lot less comfortable in hot weather. Here are more basics of Refrigerant 101 and how this remarkable substance handles the household cooling load.

The Cycle Of Coolness

In your central air conditioner, refrigerant passing through the indoor evaporator coil is a frigid vapor that efficiently absorbs household heat from the system airflow. After passing through an insulated line to your outdoor condenser unit, refrigerant is compressed into a hot liquid and rapidly releases absorbed heat into the air as it passes through the condenser coil. The refrigerant flow then circles back to the indoor evaporator, converting to a cold vapor again to extract still more heat from your home.

Low Refrigerant Means A Leak

Air conditioners don’t “use up” refrigerant. Theoretically, as long as the system is intact and functional, it should not require addition of extra refrigerant. If your A/C exhibits signs of a low refrigerant charge—such as poor cooling performance, ice formation on the indoor coil or rapid on/off cycling—there’s usually a leak somewhere in the system. Simply adding more refrigerant without resolving the leak isn't a solution that lasts. Call for professional HVAC service to pinpoint the problem, repair the leak, then restore the refrigerant to the proper level.

Old Refrigerant Is Going Away

R-22 refrigerant, the industry standard in air conditioners for decades, is being removed from the market due to environmental concerns. It will become completely unavailable in 2020. All new A/C units manufactured today utilize R-410A refrigerant, the environmentally-friendly replacement for R-22. As 2020 approaches, expect R-22 to become increasingly less available and more expensive. Ultimately, all R-22 units will have to be replaced with new R-410 units by 2020.

To learn more about the basics of Refrigerant 101, contact the cooling experts at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.