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HVAC Refrigerant: What You Need To Know

The refrigerant is an essential component of your air conditioning system in your Maumelle, Arkansas, home. It is often assumed that air conditioners make cold air and send it into the house via the ducting system. However, what really happens is that the refrigerant absorbs heat from inside of your home, and through a complex process, expels that heat to the outside, which makes your home feel cooler. Read more to understand how important the refrigerant and other components of your air conditioner are.

What Does the Refrigerant Do?

The refrigerant is a chemical that changes from a fluid state to a gaseous one through a combination of compression and pressurization. As mentioned earlier, its main function is to remove heat from inside your home and transfer it to the outside.

Inside of your house sits the air handler, and in it are the air filters, the evaporator coil, the expansion valve, and a fan. When the refrigerant is inside of the evaporator coil, it becomes very, very cold and is in a vaporous state. It evaporates and absorbs hot air. It then flows through a series of tubes to the compressor, where it becomes pressurized into a hot gas.

This gas then goes into the condenser coil which eventually expels the heat to the outside. The refrigerant loops back inside, becomes cold again, absorbs heat, and this continuous cycle runs while the air conditioner is turned on.

The Evaporator and Condenser Coils

The evaporator coil uses a heat-diffusing metal, such as aluminum or copper, and has several fins and vanes attached to it to help capture heat. The evaporator coil helps to get the refrigerant cold, with the help of the blower fan, and the refrigerant evaporates and absorbs heat. The condenser coil, which sits in the outside unit of the air conditioning system, also has fins and vanes that help with heat dispersal. All of these components work together harmoniously so that your home is nice and cool.

Regular maintenance is crucial to keeping the air conditioner performing in optimum condition. The best way to ensure regular maintenance is by investing in a maintenance plan with us.

The R-22 Phase-Out

The chemical refrigerant that was originally used, R-22, was found to have a negative impact on the environment. As of January 2020, the importation or manufacturing of R-22 will become illegal. If you have an older system that still uses R-22, that doesn’t mean that your air conditioner will be obsolete or illegal. It just means that there will be a limited supply available of the refrigerant which will make it more expensive.

When the refrigerant gets too low, there isn’t enough of it to absorb the necessary heat from your home to make it cool, and you may notice your house getting uncomfortable. If your air conditioner is an older model or has not been properly maintained a leak can spell doom for an older AC system.

Newer air conditioners currently use a more environmentally-friendly refrigerant called R-410A. It has been in use for several years, but again, if you have an older air conditioner, it may still be using the R-22 refrigerant.

Should You Upgrade Your Air Conditioner?

What does the phase-out mean to you as the homeowner? Well, you can do nothing as long as your air conditioner is running fine, but AC systems eventually do wear out and need replacement. A new air conditioner will already be using the R-410A refrigerant, so if there are any issues with it, it can easily be recharged.

In addition to complying with new rules and regulations, a new air conditioner is much more energy-efficient which will save you money on energy bills, and you won’t be spending money on expensive repair bills either. A new air conditioner will keep your home nice and cool, you will save money, and it is better for the environment.

When you are ready to upgrade your air conditioner to a model that utilizes the new R-410A refrigerant and improves your energy efficiency, give our experts at Freyaldenhoven, Heating and Cooling a call today. We are standing by and ready to speak with you at (501) 764-9077.

Image provided by iStock

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