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Understanding the Role of Refrigerant in Your AC

Refrigerant plays a crucial role in helping your air conditioner cool your home. Without an adequate refrigerant charge, your air conditioner will never be able to keep up with lowering the indoor air temperature enough – if at all.

What is refrigerant? Maybe you’ve heard of refrigerant, but you don’t know exactly what it is. You can keep reading to learn more about the role that refrigerant plays inside your air conditioner. We’re also highlighting some key signs that can indicate you have a refrigerant leak. If you ever notice any of these signs, give our team a call to schedule AC service right away.

What Is Refrigerant?

Refrigerant is a chemical inside of your air conditioner. It is unique because it has the ability to change back and forth between being a liquid and a gas, which aids in the cooling process. Refrigerant is confined to airtight lines within your air conditioner, so you are never exposed to the chemical.

How Does Refrigerant Work?

Refrigerant cycles through the AC lines between the indoor portion of the unit and the outdoor portion of the unit. When it cycles through the indoor coils, it absorbs heat, converting refrigerant from its liquid form to its gas form. When the refrigerant cycles outside, that heat gets expelled, and the refrigerant compresses back down into its liquid state so that it can repeat the cycle of absorbing heat from inside your home again. 

Your air conditioner is not actually producing cool air to blow through your home. Instead, it is using refrigerant to absorb heat from the air and eliminate that heat from your home as a method of lowering the indoor air temperature. It’s a cycle that your air conditioner repeats throughout the day to maintain a consistent comfort level.

Is Refrigerant Safe?

As long as refrigerant remains within the airtight lines, it is completely safe for your home and family. Before refrigerant was used, many air conditioners had a substance called Freon. Freon was banned from use because of the harmful effects it had on our environment. R-410A (Puron) was the approved replacement for Freon.

If you have an older air conditioner, it may use Freon instead of refrigerant. If you suspect that your air conditioner uses Freon, it’s a good idea to give our team a call and talk about the potential of replacing your older unit with a newer model. Newer air conditioners are not just safer to use, they’re all so much more efficient and could save you money on your monthly energy costs for cooling.

Risks of Refrigerant Leaks

Unfortunately, refrigerant leaks do happen from time to time. If you have a refrigerant leak, you may notice that your air conditioner loses some of its cooling ability. It may still blow air out into your home, but if you hold your hand up to an air vent, that air will not be cool enough to lower the indoor air temperature.

You may also hear a hissing or bubbling sound if there is a refrigerant leak. A leak in the line where the refrigerant is in its gas form will produce a hissing sound. A leak in the line where the refrigerant is in its liquid form will produce a bubbling sound.

Contact RKM Heating and Air Conditioning today to schedule an appointment with us for your AC needs. Done Right, Priced Right.

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