Everything You Need to Know About AC Refrigerant

Do you know the importance of the refrigerant in your air conditioner? AC refrigerant is an integral part of keeping your Hampstead, North Carolina, home cool during the hot summer months. A major issue with older air conditioners is that they use a refrigerant called R-22. Starting in 2020, R-22 will become illegal in the United States. Read on to learn more about the basics of how your AC system works, why refrigerant is so important, and the R-22 phaseout.

How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

Your air conditioner works to transfer hot and moist air to the out of your home. The air conditioning system comprises an inside unit and an outside unit. The inside unit, called an air handler, has an evaporator coil and fan inside it. The outside unit has a compressor, condenser coil and fan. These systems work together with refrigerant to keep your home cool and comfortable. But you must maintain your AC system regularly to keep it running effectively and efficiently.

Why Does It Need Refrigerant?

The refrigerant is what actually cools the house, while the mechanical parts are there to create the exchange of hot and cold air. Refrigerant is a liquid chemical that has an amazing ability to absorb heat once converted from a gas to a liquid state.

When the refrigerant changes from one state to another through pressurization and compression, it can then absorb the heat inside your home and expel it outside. The refrigerant runs in a continuous loop to exchange hot air for cool air while the AC system is running.

What Are the Evaporator and Condenser Coils?

The evaporator coil sits inside your home and is a series of metal tubes that have fins attached to them. At this stage, the refrigerant is a high-pressurized liquid. Once the refrigerant goes over the evaporator coil, it gets converted to a gas. The gas then absorbs the heat inside your home, travels through the evaporator coil, and gets converted to a low-pressure gas.

The refrigerant goes through tubing to the outside compressor unit, where it then compresses the low-pressure gas into a high-pressure hot gas that goes into the condenser. The gas flows through the condenser coil, where a fan cools the gas and releases the heat outdoors.

Because the refrigerant is in a constant loop, when it returns through the condenser and compressor, it converts again from a hot gas to a cool liquid. The air ducts then deliver the cool air into your home. Be sure to keep your air filters clean for good airflow.

Why and When Will R-22 Become Illegal?

R-22 and other hydrochlorofluorocarbons have harmful effects on the environment, including damage to the ozone layer. As part of an international phaseout agreement ratified by nearly 200 countries, production and import of R-22 will be illegal in the United States as of Jan. 1, 2020.

If you have an older air conditioner that’s still using R-22 refrigerant, you won’t be able to recharge it after that time. You can limp along with the older model. But as the R-22 refrigerant cannot be replaced, eventually your AC system won’t be able to keep your house cool.

Consider planning now to replace your old AC system with a new model that uses a new safer version of refrigerant called R-410A. As a result, you’ll be compliant with the new law. You’ll also have a new air conditioner that will keep your family comfortable for years to come.

Do you want more information on the R-22 phaseout? Would you like to discuss upgrading your air conditioner to a new one? Give the team of experts at Gideon Heating & Air Conditioning a call today at (910) 447-2905. We look forward to speaking with you.

Image provided by iStock

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