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Refrigerant 101: What to Know

Refrigerant 101: What to KnowRefrigerant is the vital substance in your air conditioner that extracts indoor heat and moves it outdoors.

As we know it today, refrigerant was invented for air conditioners in 1937 by Dupont and trademarked under the now recognizable name “Freon.” Modern refrigerants have the very useful characteristic to convert from a cold gaseous state that absorbs heat into a hot liquid state that releases heat. Circulating between the evaporator coil and condenser coil of your air conditioner, refrigerant extracts household heat at the indoor evaporator, then carries the heat energy to the outside condenser coil and releases it into the air. What’s left behind in your house is cool comfort, even on the hottest days.

Here are some important takeaway facts about the refrigerant in your HVAC system:

It’s Critical to Cooling

If the refrigerant charge in your air conditioner drops below specifications, cooling performance suffers and serious system malfunctions that can damage critical components like the compressor become likely. Air conditioners don’t consume refrigerant. When all components are intact and fully functional, the system should never require “topping up” with refrigerant. Low refrigerant is usually indicative of a leak somewhere in the system. A qualified HVAC technician utilizing leak detection equipment can pinpoint the problem, repair it, then restore the system refrigerant charge to manufacturer’s specifications.

It’s Changing

For decades, the standard air conditioner refrigerant was designated R-22. For environmental reasons, this type is being withdrawn from the market and will be totally eliminated by the year 2020. Its replacement, R-410A, is already the standard refrigerant in all new air conditioners manufactured today. As the 2020 date approaches, R-22 refrigerant will become scarce and more expensive when required to repair older A/C units that still utilize it. Ultimately, all of the outdated R-22 air conditioners will have to be replaced by newer units that utilize R-410A.

For more about professional service for refrigerant issues in your home air conditioner, in San Antonio contact the cooling experts at Beyer Boys.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).