The “refrigerant” in an air conditioner typically refers to the blend of chemicals responsible for cooling the air. Refrigerant can easily alternate between states of liquid and gas. As it does so, heat is absorbed and released, cooling the air.
Let’s break that down.
Inside an air conditioning unit, there is a compressor. This compressor alters liquid refrigerant into a high-pressure, high-temperature gas; it advances to the outside coil of the air conditioner. Once there, the gas releases heat through condensation. It travels back to the indoor coil and cools through evaporation. This process pulls heat from the air, thus cooling the air inside. Finally, the refrigerant, in liquid form, returns to the compressor to start the process all over again.
Types of Refrigerant
Residential cooling systems use one of two types of refrigerant. They aren’t interchangeable, so it’s imperative to know which your air conditioner uses.
Out With the Old Hydrochlorofluorocarbons
Most air conditioner manufacturers include a label identifying which refrigerant to use in your air conditioner. This is very important because refrigerants, as stated previously, are NOT INTERCHANGEABLE.
NOTE: Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are being used less and less with the emergence of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), as it has a smaller carbon footprint. In addition, Hydrofluorocarbons offer greater cooling potential.
Also known as “Freon,” R-22 is being phased-out due to its negative effects on the environment and sizable carbon footprint. It was used for decades as the standard refrigerant for air conditioning systems. However, as a result of being linked to depletion of the Ozone layer, Freon was banned from manufacturing as of 2010.
Also called “Puron,” R410A is the current industry recommendation and steadily phasing R-22 out for various reasons. Unlike R-22, R410A has a smaller carbon footprint and better cooling capabilities. As the name “Puron” suggests, R410A is a pure, single component refrigerant with one-third the amount of harmful effects on the environment than that of R-22. As a result, Puron is predicted to entirely replace R-22 by 2020.
Have questions or concerns? Ask your HVAC contractor for recommendations. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (402) 731-2727 today.