There are many components that make up your central air conditioning unit. One thing that your unit simply cannot function without is refrigerant. This is a substance that is misunderstood by many homeowners. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to get the reprieve you are looking for when you turn your air conditioner on. Steve’s Heating & Air is here to talk about refrigerant and what refrigerant issues you can run into with your AC.
How Does Refrigerant Work to Get Cold?
Many homeowners aren’t familiar with how refrigerant works. It is often thought that when your AC isn’t keeping you cool enough, you must need to have your refrigerant lines charged because it is running low. Refrigerant isn’t something that gets lower as time goes on. Refrigerant is found in the evaporator and condenser coils of your unit. This is a completely closed system. You shouldn’t need to have your refrigerant touched unless you have one of two problems.
– Refrigerant Leak: Over time, it is no uncommon for an AC unit to get a refrigerant leak. If this happens, you will have low levels of refrigerant and may need to add more. This shouldn’t be done unless the leak has been fixed though.
– Improper Installation: When your unit is installed, the unit will get charged with refrigerant. If this isn’t done properly and not enough refrigerant is charged through the lines, your unit will struggle to keep you cool.
Different Types of Refrigerants
There have been a few different types of refrigerants that have been used over time. We are here to explain why they have been phased out new ones have replaced them.
– Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): CFCs were widely used in AC units until it was found that they contributed to the greenhouse gas effect. This type of refrigerant includes R12 and was discontinued in 1994.
– Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs): While this is less damaging to the environment, R22 still caused damage. This is why the Clean Air Act of 2010 started to work to phase it out by the end of 2020. As of the end of last year, you can no longer buy this type of refrigerant.
– Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs): This new refrigerant, R410A and R134, is not only better for the environment but it also is more effective at cooling your home efficiently. With improved air on top of that, the change has been a positive one. This is what is used in AC units today.
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As mentioned above, it is important that you know your refrigerant doesn’t need to simply get topped off when you are experiencing warm air coming from your vents. Any HVAC company that tells you this isn’t being forthcoming. At Steve’s Heating & Air, we will get to the bottom of what is causing warm air to come out of your vents. If you are dealing with a refrigerant issue, we can help you navigate the problem and find the best solution for your home and your budget. Call us today!