What Refrigerant Does In Your HVAC System

As the temperatures start to climb, can you imagine life without an air conditioner?

While most homes across the Front Range now have air conditioners for indoor comfort control, you might not know how it works.

The air conditioner has many different components that work in unison to keep your home cool and comfortable.

Air return – the return vents on your walls the bring air back into the system to be heated or cooled

Ducts – the ductwork or passageways that allow air to move freely throughout your home

Filter – a lightweight filter that traps contaminants like dust and pollen, preventing it from redistributing throughout your home

Compressor – the motor in the outdoor unit that circulates refrigerant through the coils

Coils – the part responsible for the heat exchange within the HVAC system. The evaporator coil pulls heat through the air to either cool or heat it. The condenser coil regulates the temperature of refrigerant.

Blower – the fan that circulates air to create the desired temperatureWhat Refrigerant Does In Your HVAC System

Thermostat – the control for temperature

Now that you understand the parts, let’s talk about refrigerants.

Refrigerant is used to chill the indoor air supply. It forces refrigerant to repeatedly condense over the coils.

As fans move hot air over the evaporator coils, a flow of refrigerant goes through the coil and absorbs the heat, changing it from liquid to gas. To keep it cool, the compressor uses high pressure to turn the gas back to a liquid state. This creates thermal energy for the chilling process.

There have been different types of refrigerants over the years. Chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and hydrofluorocarbons such as R-22 and HCFC-22 may still be in older air conditioners, but because of their ozone-depleting qualities, they are being phased out of existence.

R-34A and R-410A are commonly used today because they are more energy efficient and have a higher refrigeration capacity, meaning it does the job better without taking away from the environment.

Is your air conditioner no longer as cold as it once was? Is it more than a few years old? If you’re not sure what type of refrigerant it uses, and can’t remember the last time it was inspected, now is the time.

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