Air Conditioning / July 13, 2021

What You Need to Know About AC Refrigerant

Homeowners need to have a functional AC system to get through the summer months comfortably. Your home’s AC system comprises many different components that work together to keep your living space cool. One of these components is a chemical compound known as refrigerant.

Refrigerant is stored as either a gas or a liquid inside copper coils in your AC system’s evaporator. When your AC system kicks on, refrigerant starts to move throughout the condenser. This movement of refrigerant is critical when it comes to producing cool air.

The more you know about the role refrigerant plays in cooling your home, the better prepared you will be to maintain the refrigerant levels in your AC system over time.

How Does Refrigerant Work?

Refrigerant begins its journey through your AC system in the compressor, where it is stored as a high-pressure gas. While there, it absorbs heat in the home. From the compressor, the refrigerant travels to the outdoor condenser.

In the condenser, the warm air is released from the refrigerant. Fans blow the warm air away from the refrigerant and help it to cool back down. The refrigerant transforms back into a liquid as its temperature drops.

The cooled liquid refrigerant then moves from the outdoor condenser to an indoor evaporator coil. The warmer air passing over the cooled refrigerant goes through an endothermic evaporation process that turns the refrigerant back into a gas, which simultaneously warms the refrigerant and cools the air.

The cooled air is pushed into your home by a blower fan, and the gaseous refrigerant is sent to the compressor to begin the cooling process again.

Does Refrigerant Go Bad?

Many homeowners operate under the misconception that the refrigerant in their AC systems must be recharged seasonally. This is a false assumption. Refrigerant is an extremely stable chemical compound.

Refrigerant in your AC system moves through a closed loop, so the chemical compound is never exposed to outside contaminants. The refrigerant that helps cool your home never loses its efficacy. In fact, most refrigerants can easily outlast the lifespan of the AC equipment they function within.

If you think that your AC unit needs a refrigerant recharge because your cooling system isn’t performing as well as it once did, your system might have a leak. The only way that refrigerant can escape from your AC system is through a damaged component.

What’s the Big Deal With Refrigerant Leaks?

A refrigerant leak is a major cause for concern. Not only will leaking refrigerant pose a threat to the environment, but a leak could also put the health of your family at risk. Refrigerant poisoning can occur when too much refrigerant is inhaled.

A leak can allow some gaseous refrigerant to enter your home’s air supply. This may result in symptoms like eye irritation, headaches, or nausea.

Liquid refrigerant can also leak from your AC system when one of the hoses that transports this liquid throughout the system sustains damage. Exposure to liquid refrigerant can accelerate the effects of refrigerant poisoning.

If you detect a strange odor inside your home or see small puddles where refrigerant has started to pool beneath your outdoor compressor, it’s time to contact an HVAC technician for help.

Never try to clean up or stop a refrigerant leak on your own. Doing so puts your health and safety at risk. Experienced HVAC technicians have the ability to safely remove any leaked refrigerant from your property and repair your AC system to prevent leaks from forming in the future.

Refrigerant is an essential but often misunderstood part of many residential cooling systems. Without an adequate supply of refrigerant, your air conditioner will be unable to meet your cooling demands. Contact Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar for help if you think you have a refrigerant leak.

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