Refrigerant is the lifeblood of your air conditioner. An A/C cools your home by moving indoor heat outdoors. Heat energy extracted from the air at the indoor evaporator coil is carried by the circulating flow of refrigerant to the outside unit, where it’s dispersed into outdoor air. Without refrigerant of the right type and precise amount, the cooling process can’t function. Here are some important things to know about this vital substance that keeps you comfortable all summer long.
- Refrigerant morphs from a vapor into a liquid depending on pressurization. In its cold, vaporous state in the indoor coil, refrigerant has very high heat-absorbing properties. As it flows into the outdoor coil and decompresses, it converts into a liquid that rapidly releases heat energy.
- Your air conditioner doesn’t consume refrigerant the way an older car uses motor oil and needs an extra quart added from time to time. If the refrigerant charge is low, there’s a leak somewhere. Pinpointing it can be a challenge but a qualified HVAC technician has leak detection equipment to get the job done and the expertise to repair the leak.
- Low refrigerant levels mean more than simply poor cooling performance. Refrigerant also contains vital lubricants that protect the compressor, the most expensive component in your system. Low refrigerant can cause severe compressor damage, requiring replacement of the part or even the entire system.
- Refrigerant is changing. The type used in air conditioners for years known as R-22 is being phased out by law. All new air conditioners utilize new R-410A refrigerant, and industry standards will continue to change. If you’re hanging on to an older air conditioner and it requires expensive repairs, consider the fact that the refrigerant it requires will soon no longer be available. Maybe now’s a good time to upgrade to a newer, more efficient A/C.
For more about refrigerant issues that affect your air conditioner, contact Roth Heating & Cooling.