What to Know About Refrigerant

What to Know About Refrigerant

What to Know About RefrigerantAlthough your central air conditioner contains a number of vital mechanical parts, it can’t cool your home without refrigerant. This chemical compound is a type of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), and the most common one used in home cooling systems today is R-410A.

Refrigerants Make Cooling Your Home Possible

Air conditioners don’t create cold air. Instead, they use refrigerants to absorb heat from the indoor air then expel it outdoors. To accomplish this, the refrigerant has to change from a gas to a liquid and back again, so it’s sent through a closed circuit of copper tubing that runs between a compressor, condenser coil, expansion valve and evaporator coil. The compressor and condenser share a single outdoor unit, and the expansion valve and evaporator are located inside the home.

Here’s what takes place whenever your thermostat signals for cooling and the air conditioner cycles on:

  • Refrigerant flows into the compressor as a low-pressure gas, where it’s compressed and heated into a high-pressure gas.
  • The hot, high-pressure gas flows on to the condenser coil where it changes into a liquid and releases its heat into the outdoor air. The condenser coil has fins, like a car radiator, to increase its surface area and a fan is positioned above it to help the heat dissipate.
  • As a high-pressure liquid, the refrigerant flows indoors to the expansion valve, which restricts its flow to reduce the pressure and rapidly cool it.
  • Now a cool, low-pressure liquid, it flows into the metal-finned evaporator coil where it absorbs heat from the air as it converts back into a low-pressure gas. A blower fan positioned just above the coil aids in the process and pushes cooled air out into the ductwork.
  • The heat-laden gas travels back outdoors to the compressor, where the cooling cycle repeats until the thermostat’s temperature setting is satisfied.
  • Too much or too little refrigerant due to leaks or over/under charging can reduce an air conditioner’s cooling capabilities, or even harm key components.

To learn more about refrigerant and other key cooling system components in your Peachtree City home, contact us at Powers Heating & Air.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about refrigerant and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Alhovik/Shutterstock”

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