Air Conditioner Refrigerant FAQs

AC Refrigerant Explained

AC refrigerant is an important part of how air conditioning systems run. Homeowners should have a basic knowledge of what refrigerant is and how it works so they can better maintain their heating and air conditioning units. 

Refrigerant transforms between a gas and a liquid inside the air conditioner’s evaporator coils. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the air that blows over the metal coils. As the refrigerant warms up, it turns from a gas back into a liquid. The compressor coils outside recirculate the refrigerant through the system. 

What Type of Refrigerant to Use?

fridgerantThere are multiple different types of refrigerants used in modern air conditioners. Refrigerants are not interchangeable, and using the wrong one could damage the air conditioner. Homeowners can check what kind of refrigerant their air conditioner uses by looking at the appliance sticker or user manual.

AC units that were made before 2010 likely use a refrigerant called R-22, or Freon. However, in 2010 Freon was recalled for its link to environmental damage. Homeowners still unsure of what kind of refrigerant their HVAC unit uses should consult with a trusted local technician. 

Why Does AC Refrigerant Leak?

hvacRefrigerant is a combination of chemicals used in air conditioners to change the temperature of the air. Problems with the air conditioner could create a refrigerant leak. There are multiple reasons why the refrigerant may begin to leak inside the air conditioner, such as rust, wear and tear, and pinholes in the coils. 

Airborne particles of air freshener, perfume, and aerosol sprays can make their way into the AC unit through the ventilation system. The acidic nature of the chemicals can create tiny pinholes in the coils where refrigerant leaks out. Corrosion of the metal coils from rust can also create a refrigerant leak. Coil cleaning as part of routine air conditioner maintenance will help prevent refrigerant leaks. 

When to Call a Professional for a Refrigerant Leak?

Homeowners should know the signs of a refrigerant leak so they can immediately reach out to a professional. When handled early, a refrigerant leak is an easy fix for an experienced HVAC technician. However, the refrigerant leak could lead to a complete system breakdown if left in disrepair. Refrigerant leaks can also cause a spike in utility bills.

Ice forming on the air conditioner and frozen coils are both signs of a refrigerant leak. Other symptoms include reduced cooling capabilities and strange noises coming from the air conditioner. The air conditioner might make hissing or gurgling noises as it struggles to function. Homeowners should contact a professional for help as soon as the first signs of a refrigerant leak are noticed. 

About Stonebridge Heating & Air Conditioning

Stonebridge Heating & Air Conditioning has over 20 years of experience serving the community of Tyler, TX, and the surrounding areas. They provide straightforward pricing, 24-hour emergency service, and financing. Call them today for air conditioning services in Tyler, TX.


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