3 Things You Didn't Know about Air Conditioning Refrigerant

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018 by Michele Alicky

To many people who own central air conditioning systems, the refrigerant that allows the AC to provide cooling is mysterious, like a magical elixir with secret properties that permits it to draw heat from the air. The truth is a bit more mundane: refrigerant is a chemical blend that can move between liquid and gaseous states easily, absorbing and releasing heat as it does so. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t fascinating aspects to refrigerant and its properties. Here are three interesting facts about air conditioning refrigerant that you probably didn’t know:

ONE: Air conditioning refrigerant used to be highly dangerous

You would not have wanted the earliest air conditioning systems—the ones used during the first two decades of the 20th century to cool down industrial buildings—installed inside your home. The refrigerants in these early contraptions were either toxic or highly combustible. Ammonia, sulfur chloride, methyl chloride, and even propane were used in these air conditioning systems. Thankfully, non-toxic and non-flammable refrigerants eventually replaced them, and by the mid-1950s air conditioners were widely available for home use.

TWO: Refrigerant does not get “used up” during cooling operation

Refrigerant isn’t like gasoline in a car or the power in a battery. Your air conditioner does not “consume” refrigerant to work. Refrigerant simply changes between liquid and gas states in a continuous cycle to provide cooling, and at no point does any of the refrigerant dissipate. The only way that an air conditioner can lose its charge (its amount refrigerant) is through leaks in the refrigerant lines.

THREE: Refrigerant advances are the reason that modern ACs are more energy efficient

Well, one of the reasons. The technology behind refrigeration systems continues to advance with every year, with more energy-efficient motors and compressors. But the development of new refrigerant blends has played a significant role in making air conditioners use less energy to do their jobs. New blends are also better for the environment as well, such as the current R-410A (often called Puron) which is replacing R-22.

The complexities of modern air conditioning systems means that only professionals should handle service for them, and that includes taking care of refrigerant leaks and loss of charge. Never leave this work to amateurs, and don’t undertake it as a DIY weekend project.

For fast and effective air conditioning repair in: Thomaston, Watertown, Oakville, Waterbury, Plymouth, Bristol, Terryville, Northfield, Morris, Litchfield, Harwinton and surrounding areas,

call Pelletier Mechanical Services, LLC at (860) 283-0316.


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