What is AC Refrigerant and How Does It Work?

Wall mounted unit

Refrigerant is one of the most important components of your air conditioning system. It’s also one of the least understood. We hear a lot of questions from customers in San Marcos, TX and the surrounding areas, including:

  • “What is AC refrigerant?”
  • “Do I need AC refrigerant?”
  • “Is my refrigerant the type that is now illegal?”

These are valid questions, and we want all of our Texas customers to understand what refrigerant is and why it’s so crucial to a properly functioning air conditioning system. Today, we’re going to cover the following information to make it more understandable:

  • How AC refrigerant works
  • Different types of AC refrigerant
  • Why your AC would need refrigerant
  • The importance of routine AC maintenance

Need reliable service and honest pricing that you can trust?

Your home is your private sanctuary, and you only want trustworthy professionals in that sanctuary. That’s why we’re picky about who we hire here at Reliable Air. We’re proud to maintain a family of knowledgeable and reputable HVAC technicians who treat every customer with the utmost respect.

For central AC repairs and services you can count on, contact Reliable Air at (512) 580-8837 or click the button below.

How Does AC Refrigerant Work?

If air conditioner refrigerant had a superpower, it would be absorbing heat from the indoor air. Your air conditioner has a refrigerant coil, which holds refrigerant in its liquid form. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the warm air within your home and disperses it outdoors.

How does refrigerant do all of that? With the help of other AC components like the blower fan. For instance, the fan blows warm air from your home over the evaporator coil so the refrigerant can absorb its heat.

All the parts of an AC system work together to ensure a continuous flow of cool air into your home until your desired temperature is reached. Nothing will work without the refrigerant, but the refrigerant also cannot do the job alone.

Different Types of AC Refrigerant

Mini tree windmills

Until January 1, 2020, R-22 was the refrigerant used in most air conditioning systems. Also known as Freon, it contributed to the erosion of the ozone layer in the 1980s.

After scientists and manufacturers developed a suitable replacement for R-22 called R-410A (also known as Puron), it was gradually phased out.

While some R-22 AC systems are still operating, repairing one is increasingly expensive due to the difficulty in sourcing parts and the obsolete refrigerant.

In September 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a mandate requiring the industry to remove the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in R-410A. With the mandate, the industry will phase R-410A out in 2023.

R-454B will likely become the new standard for residential AC refrigerants. HVAC technicians will need new certifications to purchase and handle this new option.

If you have any questions about refrigerant changes, our highly-skilled technicians at Reliable Air keep on top of industry knowledge, training, and certifications. We will ensure you have the correct type of refrigerant in your AC. Our team will help you determine when the right time has come to upgrade to a system that utilizes a healthier and more affordable refrigerant.

Why Your AC Needs Refrigerant

HVAC system

Do I need AC refrigerant, and why? Air conditioning systems maintain consistent levels of refrigerant. The same refrigerant circulates through the AC in a closed loop for years without problems. When levels start to run low, the problem is a leak in the compressor or refrigerant lines.

An initial sign of low refrigerant levels is less cool air flowing through your vents. Remember, refrigerant plays such an important role that your AC cannot produce cool air without it. A refrigerant leak means there isn’t enough refrigerant absorbing the warmth in your indoor air to cool your home.

Low refrigerant levels can also impact your evaporator coil and other components of the system. All parts depend on one another to function, so your system will gradually break down as refrigerant levels get lower.

If you suspect your AC system has a refrigerant leak, contact an HVAC technician to repair the leak and increase the refrigerant levels to keep your system operating efficiently. Trained technicians have the necessary certification to purchase and replenish your refrigerant.

The Importance of Routine AC Maintenance

Messy Desk

How will you know when your AC needs more refrigerant? You could just wait until the coils get cold and you start to experience less and less cool air reaching your home. That could compromise your AC and lead to emergency repairs that are costly and unnecessary.

Ideally, you will call our experienced technicians for routine maintenance at least once a year. Our technicians can check your refrigerant levels and will ensure your system has what it needs to operate efficiently. We can inform you of the refrigerant type your system currently uses, the cost, and your options for upgrading systems if that is a more economical long-term option.

AC maintenance is critical to the longevity of your air conditioner. It allows technicians to identify potential problems before they become significant repairs. Small fixes like increasing refrigerant levels and cleaning the evaporator coil during a maintenance call can help you avoid costly emergency breakdowns.

Need a Reliable AC Repair Technician in San Marcos? Call Reliable Air.

Reliable Air Van

We understand your reliance on consistently cool air to keep your home comfortable throughout the summer. That’s why Reliable Air offers convenient scheduling, same-day appointments, and fast response times for air conditioning service. Our technicians are on standby to provide timely AC repairs in San Marcos, TX and the surrounding areas.

We aren’t one of those companies that cut corners to save a few bucks. Because we know the value of 5-star customer service and pride ourselves on caring for our community, we stand fully behind our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. When you need AC help, call us at (512) 580-8837 or click the button below. Schedule Service

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