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What Does the Refrigerant in an Air Conditioner Actually Do?

You probably know that one of the basic components that makes an air conditioner work (and most types of refrigeration equipment) is a chemical called refrigerant. But how much do you know about how refrigerant works to keep your home cool during the summer? If you’ve ever been curious about refrigerant, we have some facts to share with you. However, this information is no substitute for professional skill and training, so whenever your air conditioner starts to experience trouble doing its job, make sure to call on HVAC technicians to take care of the necessary AC repairs.

The basics of air conditioning refrigerant

The refrigerant found in a typical central AC of a home today is a chemical blend called R-410A. This is sometimes referred to as “Freon,” which is specifically a trademark name by DuPont that applies to a number of different refrigerant blends throughout history. This refrigerant can most easily between liquid and gaseous states, which is what allows it to absorb heat and release it so effectively.

In an air conditioning system, the refrigerant gains energy from the compressor, which turns it into a hot gas. The refrigerant then goes through condensation when it passes through the outdoor coil; condensation releases heat, and the refrigerant cools down. After passing through an expansion valve, the refrigerant loses pressure and cools down further, and when it eventually moves through the indoor coil, it is cold and causes evaporation to occur as it meets the warm indoor air. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air, warming up the refrigerant as it cools the air. The refrigerant then returns to the compressor to restart the cycle.

The very earliest refrigerants were either toxic or highly combustible chemicals like ammonia, sulfur dioxide, and methyl chloride. The current blends are much safer, and they produce a far lower level of greenhouse gas emissions. The newest blends have also contributed to making air conditioners more energy-efficient than ever.

Loss of refrigerant due to leaks is one of the more common problems that air conditioners can encounter. If you hear a hissing noise from your AC, it is probably because of a leak that is allowing the refrigerant to escape. Don’t wait for the problem to get worse: call on technicians right away to repair it.

In Wilmette, IL, you can reach the repair experts at Malek Heating & Cooling any time of the day or night.

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