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Air Conditioning Question: What Does Refrigerant Do?

Modern air conditioning systems are complicated machines that require a balance of components working in peak condition: the compressor, fans, coils, capacitors, motors, etc. All of these parts play vital roles in providing a home with cool temperatures. If one of the parts starts to fail, it can mean a drastic drop in efficiency and effectiveness.

Refrigerant is one of the most important of all the elements in an air conditioner. This chemical blend is responsible for the process that allows an air conditioning system to remove heat from the air inside a home, cooling it down. We’ll take a closer look at what refrigerant is and what it does.

The refrigerant of modern air conditioning systems

Refrigerant is a blend of chemicals that can transition easily between liquid and gaseous states. As it makes this transition, refrigerant either releases heat (condensation) or absorbs it (evaporation). The earliest refrigerant blends were usually toxic and flammable, but by the 1920s the invention of non-toxic blends allowed air conditioners to begin to move into residential use.

Today, the refrigerant used in most air conditioners is R-410A, often known under the trademarked name Puron. This blend replaced the older R-22 because it allows for more energy-efficient performance from an air conditioning system and it releases fewer environmentally damaging emissions.

Here’s something important to understand about refrigerant: it does not get “used up” as it moves through an air conditioning system going through evaporation and condensation. Each AC has a set level of refrigerant (known as its charge) that should never decrease during the system’s lifespan. However, leaks can start in an air conditioner, and this will soon lead to a system that not only underperforms, but could eventually fail entirely due to damage to the compressor. If you detect a drop in cooling from your air conditioner, notice ice developing along it, or a hear a hissing sound coming from one of its cabinets, don’t hesitate: call on professional HVAC technicians to repair the system. The technicians will find the leaks, seal them, and then recharge the refrigerant to its proper level.

For fast repairs for your air conditioning system in Fresno, CA, call on Purl’s Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning. We are available 7 days a week.

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