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Air Conditioning Refrigerant

Homeowners with Air Conditioning systems are generally familiar with the word “refrigerant.” But they don’t necessarily know what it is or how it works within the system. Today we’ll take a look at what air conditioning refrigerant is and what it does to cool your home.

Refrigerant is one of the essential parts of your air conditioning system. It is a compound found in a gaseous or liquid state, depending on the demands placed on it. When cooling is needed, your AC compressor will change the refrigerant into a high-pressure, high-temperature gas. It travels to the outside coil of the air conditioner and releases heat through the process of condensation. When it reaches the indoor coil, it has cooled down enough to cause evaporation when it meets the warmer indoor air. This process draws heat from the air, creating a cooling effect. The cycle repeats until it reaches the desired temperature.

The Two Primary Types of Air Conditioning Refrigerant

  • R22: Known as “freon,” is found in many older air conditioning systems. It was the gold standard in refrigerants up until 2010, but due to its damaging effects on the environment, it is no longer produced. While stocks of this coolant still exist, it is becoming more difficult to source, forcing many homeowners to convert to newer air conditioning systems.
  • R410A: This is a new generation of coolant and the successor to R22. It has the same cooling benefits of R22 but without the adverse environmental effects. Unfortunately, this new refrigerant is not compatible with R22.

What type of Air Conditioning Refrigerant Do You Have?

To find what type of refrigerant your system uses, take a look at the label attached to the outside compressor. Search for either HCFC-22 or R-410A; this will let you know what type of refrigerant your system is using. If the label is missing, or if you are still unsure call a licensed HVAC technician to help you.

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