The Refrigerant in My Air Conditioner: What Is It, Anyway?

Modern refrigeration technology, from your air conditioner to your kitchen refrigerator, needs a chemical call refrigerant to work. But what exactly is refrigerant, and why does it allow system like a central AC to provide cool temperatures in a home? We’ll look into these questions in this post.

But, before we continue, we need to caution you that refrigerant requires professional training and experience when it comes to repair work for an air conditioner. If something goes amiss with your home’s AC that may be due to refrigerant leaks or an overcharged system, you need to call on skilled HVAC technicians to handling fixing the problem.

Mid-State Air Conditioning and Heating performs air conditioning repair service in Nashville, TN and throughout Middle Tennessee. We promise that your AC will be “Fixed Right or It’s Free”®

Some of the basics of refrigerant

Although there have been many different types of refrigerant throughout the decades (including hazardous and combustible ones like ammonia and sulfur dioxide), the standard refrigerant used in residential air conditioners today is a non-toxic chemical blend of difluoromethane and pentafluoroethane designated as R-410A. It also goes under a number of trademarked names such as Puron and Forane, and has gradually replaced the previous blend, R-22.

Like earlier refrigerants, R-410A is designed to phase transition easily between gaseous and liquid states, evaporating and condensing in a continuous cycle. Moving between these two states is how the refrigerant absorbs heat (cooling down the air inside the home) and releases it (exhausting the heat to the outside).

Something important to know about refrigerant is that it does not get “used up” during this process of evaporation and condensation. The refrigerant will remain at the same level (known as the air conditioner’s charge) for the life of the AC. However, an air conditioner can lose charge if leaks start in the refrigerant lines or the compressor, and this requires professional repair work to fix. An air conditioner can also be overcharged, and this will cause serious problems as well.

The next time your air conditioner starts to underperform, or if it begins to make odd hissing noises, call on expert technicians right away to fix it. If the problem is with the refrigerant, you need to have the issue addressed as soon as possible.

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