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Understanding Air Conditioning Refrigerant

Posted on: January 22, 2016

AC refrigerant is a vital component of your HVAC system, and without it, your air conditioner would be incapable of cooling your home. As 2020 approaches, homeowners are reminded of the deadline for elimination of the refrigerant R-22, which is most commonly found in older model units. Whether you are aware of the phasing out of R-22 in favor of a more environmentally friendly alternative or you are experiencing issues with your AC and are in need of AC maintenance or repair, the certified experts at Jacob Heating & Air Conditioning can help.  

How Does Refrigerant Work?

Your air conditioner contains a chemical refrigerant which has the capacity to change from a liquid to a gas and back again. The refrigerant is added during the installation of your cooling system and cycles in a continuous closed loop throughout the various system components when your AC is in use.

As the refrigerant absorbs the heat from your indoor air, it is converted from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid. Copper coils transport the refrigerant to the outdoor unit, where a fan blows air over the coils to help release the heat, and the refrigerant is cooled and returned to a gaseous state. Another fan is utilized indoors, which blows air over the cooled coils and channels the airflow into your ductwork to be distributed throughout your living space.

Types of Refrigerant

Pierson Air Conditioning RefrigerantAs environmental awareness has increased and technology has evolved, there have been a number of changes and enhancements to AC refrigerant. Types that have been used over the years include:

Chlorofluorocarbons

CFCs were developed in the late 1920s, and around 1970 were identified as greenhouse gases. Due to the resulting depletion of the ozone layer, production was phased out by 1995.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons

HCFC refrigerant, including R-22, is currently being phased out of use due to environmental concerns, although it has been in use since the 1960s.

Hydrofluorocarbons

Most new model air conditioners utilize the HFC refrigerant R410-A, which, due to the absence of chlorine, is a more efficient, environmentally friendly option.

Refrigerant Leaks

One of the most common problems related to AC refrigerant is leaks. An air conditioner repair is necessary when the refrigerant is leaking, and this usually happens when your system is aging. Since it takes several steps to repair your air conditioning refrigerant leak, this repair is best left to a certified team of professionals.

Common Signs of Refrigerant Leaks

Individuals who are unsure if they have a refrigerant leak need only to look at the way their system is running. The system likely runs well, which indicates it is not the motor. If it turns on and off, this indicates it is not usually the thermostat. The underlying problem, then, may be the refrigerant—especially if you notice liquid pooling around your unit.

To find out for sure, call a technician for air conditioning repair. Upon inspection, the technician will be able to tell you right away if this is the problem. It is essential to identify and repair the leak in order for your unit to operate smoothly. The cost of this type of service will ultimately depend on the scope of the problem. However, most professionals can offer a clear quote for the service if you request it before getting started.

Do I Need to Replace My Air Conditioner?

Before you consider upgrading your cooling system, determine which type of refrigerant it uses by looking at the nameplate on the outdoor unit. Depending on the cooling agent used and the age of the air conditioner, it may be identified by a name such as Freon®, R-22, or R-410A.

If your AC contains R-22 refrigerant, you are not obligated to stop using it or to replace it, but in the event of a leak, it may become increasingly difficult and costly to find additional R-22 to adequately charge your system.

Benefits of R-410A Refrigerant

Upgrading to a new model AC which uses R-410A refrigerant has a number of benefits over R-22, including:

  • Higher efficiency
  • Increased comfort
  • Lower cost to recharge
  • Environmental friendliness

Schedule Air Conditioning Services in DeLand, Deltona, Pierson & DeLeon Springs, FL

Since 1921, the experienced, certified professionals at Jacob Heating & Air Conditioning have been providing quality products and services to homeowners throughout the West Volusia County area. We service every brand of HVAC equipment, from Tempstar to Carrier® and everything in between. We offer services related to air conditioning, heating, whole-house dehumidification, and more.

Call today for AC refrigerant leak repair and more in AstorDeLandDeLeon SpringsDeBaryDeltonaLake HelenOrange City, and Pierson, Florida.