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Residential Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

Refrigerant 101—Everything You Need to Know

blue-question-markRefrigerant is quite the topic when it comes to your air conditioner. Refrigerant is an important aspect of the system and it’s discussed often, but it’s not always understood. We’re here to change that today. This is your comprehensive crash course in everything air conditioning.

If you’re considering air conditioning system replacement in Minneapolis, MN, then you should come to our team. We’re knowledgeable. We don’t just leave this information in our blogs either. We make sure to relay the necessary information to you during our visits. We want you to be comfortable, informed, and assured throughout the entire process.

What is Refrigerant in Air Conditioning?

Refrigerant is the chemical the produces a cooling effect while it vaporizes.

Don’t think that refrigerant fuels your system—it doesn’t. It is absolutely necessary to the overall process of cooling though.

How Often Should You Recharge Your Refrigerant?

This is a bit of a trick question. You should never recharge your refrigerant.

You’ll hear about refrigerant being topped off or recharged often, but this really isn’t something that’s accurate. It’s a common misconception that your air conditioner’s refrigerant “runs out.” This isn’t the case. If you’re lacking refrigerant it’s completely because the refrigerant is leaking. Make sure that you come to a professional that’s prepared to do the job. Don’t go to anyone who claims they can recharge your unit.

What Are Signs Your Refrigerant is Leaking?

Are you trying to figure out if your refrigerant is leaking without seeing a leak? Watch out for these problems:

Poor Cooling

You’re not cool enough. You might have to run your air conditioner in new ways to compensate for this lack of cooling. Watch out for habits like leaving your air conditioner running on end even when it’s not that hot out and choosing freezing thermostat settings. These are both bad and a signs and clear indicators that you have poor cooling.

Higher Utility Bills

High utility bills happen when you have a refrigerant leak. This is because the air conditioning unit is still functional even with lowered refrigerant. It’s just not going to function well. The inefficiency you’re experiencing will show up in your utility bills.

Humid Indoor Air

Your air conditioner is typically able to handle a bit of humidity control. If you’ve started to notice that your air conditioner can’t control humidity the way that it used to, you’re going to need to improve your home’s AC. If you’re already having other troubles that indicate refrigerant leaks, then this is a clear sign that you need AC care.

Longer Cooling Cycles

Longer cooling cycles are a telltale sign that you have a refrigerant leak. Your AC will run in longer cycles because it’s laboring to work. Don’t force your AC to work this way. It can result in breakdowns and further AC issues especially as the summer heats up. Our professionals know how to handle your air conditioning needs. We’re prepared to get your air conditioner back in great shape.

Ice on Evaporative coils

Ice forms on the coils of your AC system when there’s a refrigerant leak because your system can’t self regulate. This happens because if your air conditioner is functioning properly, there should be refrigerant circulating through the coils to help absorb the heat. When there’s a leak, then that means that there’s either not enough or no refrigerant circulating through the system. The coils can start to freeze up because of this.

Bubbling or Hissing Noises

You might notice a bubbling or hissing sound coming from your air conditioner when there’s a leak. What you’re hearing is the sound of your refrigerant struggling to move through the system. Don’t ignore these issues. We’re going to figure out all the spots of your air conditioning system that have been affected and handle them for you.

What Does Refrigerant Smell Like?

If you have a keen nose, you might note a sweet chemical scent emitting throughout your home before you actually notice a refrigerant leak. If this smell is coupled with any of the signs of trouble that we mentioned above, then you’re definitely experiencing a leak.

The scent alone is typically a great sign to contact a professional. You shouldn’t be able to smell the refrigerant in your home if it’s operating in a closed loop. A scent wafting through your home is a sign that something has gone wrong.

Is Refrigerant Toxic?

Yes, refrigerant is toxic. If you inhale this chemical or ingest it then you should get in touch with a medical professional.

We don’t want this information to scare you. It’s rare that anyone ingests or inhales this chemical on accident. Even if the refrigerant is leaking, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to leak all over your home.

What is R22?

R22 is a type of refrigerant that is currently being phased out.

After 2020, R22 stopped being produced. You can only get R22 through recycled or reclaimed sources. While you’re not required to replace any of your systems that function with R22, it’s going to become an increasingly inaccessible resource. We suggest upgrading your air conditioner if it still uses R22. If you need suggestions or a team of professionals that can make things much easier, we’re the team that you should schedule an appointment with.

What Refrigerant Replaced R22?

R22 is currently being replaced with R-410. This is a safer refrigerant that meets our new environmental guidelines. It’s main benefit is that it contains no chlorine so it’s much easier on the ozone layer. Choosing a system that runs on this refrigerant is the smartest decision going forward.

Contact Residential Heating and Air Conditioning today for your refrigerant services and “Feel the Difference.”

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