The Complete Guide to Refrigerants

The Complete Guide to Refrigerants

Refrigerants 101

While you may not understand exactly what refrigerants are, you should know they are an essential component to the function of your home or office’s HVAC system. So, what is a refrigerant? It is a chemical fluid that allows efficient heat exchange in a refrigerator or HVAC system. In short, it is what is primarily responsible for pumping heat through the system. Refrigerants are a vital part of almost all AC and refrigeration systems. Quite simply, these systems will not work properly without them.

How Do AC Refrigerants Work?

Refrigerants allow the HVAC system to collect heat at one endsuch as inside the house—then carry that heat through the system and allow it to be expelled at the other end, such as outside. All AC systems essentially function in the same way as do heat pumps. They transfer heat from the inside to the outside. That cold air blowing out the vents isn’t created by magic. It’s created when refrigerants capture and release the heat that was in that air.

Want to learn more about how your air conditioner operates?
Check out our blog: How Do Air Conditioners Work?

What Substances Are Used as Refrigerants?

Many substances could technically act as a refrigerant, even regular water. Some office HVAC systems even use water in addition to other refrigerants as part of a complex air conditioning system. The best refrigerants, however, have special properties that make them better at capturing and releasing heat. A key property is their heat of vaporization, or the amount of heat the liquid can absorb before it becomes a gas. The best refrigerants should also be non-corrosive and non-toxic.

Many substances have been used for refrigerants, especially fluorocarbons. Due to growing environmental concerns, many fluorocarbons are being replaced with less damaging ammonia, sulfur dioxide and certain hydrocarbons. If you have an older HVAC system or refrigerator, it could still be using environmentally harmful refrigerants. You may want to consider upgrading to a newer, more eco-friendly and efficient model.

Why Should You Call an AC Technician for Professional Help?

If there is a problem with your air conditioner or you see liquid coming out of it, your system needs help. Most refrigerants are at least mildly toxic. This means they should not be handled and should never be ingested. If you have young children or pets at home, make sure your unit is positioned or covered so they cannot reach it in case a problem arises with leaking refrigerant. Whether your system is suffering from old age or leaks, it may be time to consult a professional. Professional HVAC technicians will inspect your system, deal with refrigerant leaks, properly dispose of any waste and replace any necessary levels.

Contact Blair’s Air for AC Repair, Replacement and Maintenance

If you want reliable and quality service for your home’s HVAC system, Blair’s Air is your number one choice. We have proudly served Tampa Bay area homeowners with all of their heating, ventilation and air conditioning needs since 1974. Whether your refrigerant or entire AC system is leaking, Blair’s is here to help. If you live in the St. Pete/Tampa or Clearwater area, call us today at (727) 800-4148. Or, schedule service online to get started right away!

[caption id="attachment_1074" align="alignleft" width="1666"]r22-phase-out-infographic-westinghouse-hvac Photo Credit: www.westinghousehvac.com

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