If your AC unit stops cooling as it should, the refrigerant may be to blame – or a lack of it. In fact, that may be the first thing that comes to mind if you suddenly feel warm air blowing out of the vents when you have your unit set to cool. Refrigerant is a chemical that cools the heat from warm air before circulating it through your home – hence, air conditioning, or conditioning the air.
But did you know that many people believe a harmful AC myth that refrigerant is actually a fuel? Many homeowners believe that your refrigerant is in a sort of tank that needs to be refilled after regular use. While your AC refrigerant may not be functioning properly, it doesn’t empty. If you need air conditioning repair in Frisco, TX, our team can help. In the meantime, you can learn more about refrigerant, what it is, and how it works to cool your home.
All About Refrigerant
You probably don’t think much about the refrigerant inside your AC unit until your cool air suddenly isn’t blowing. Refrigerant is a chemical that works to cool air in your HVAC system as the air passes over the evaporator coils. Many AC units that were installed before 2010 used freon. But freon posed a lot of risks to the environment, so manufacturers replaced it with refrigerant. It’s also called R410A or Puron by some AC professionals.
While refrigerant is safer for the environment, the chemical still requires expert handling because it can be dangerous for humans and pets. HVAC technicians need to have a license to handle refrigerant in AC units or for other applications. Once certified, HVAC technicians can troubleshoot refrigerant problems on all types of AC units. That’s because refrigerant works the same way in all of them:
- First, the evaporator coils turn liquid refrigerant into gas
- This gas creates a cool environment for warm air to channel through as it cools
- Cooled air circulates through your home
- The heat that your evaporator coils catch turns into liquid refrigerant to continue the cycle
- Hot air gets blown outside your home and away from the unit
A refrigerant leak happens when there is a hole allowing the liquid to escape its storage area in your unit. Signs of a refrigerant leak include:
- Increasing energy bills without explanation
- Your AC isn’t cooling your home as well
- It takes longer for your home to cool down during a cycle
- Your home feels humid
- Airflow isn’t strong
- There’s a noticeable water leak coming from your unit
- The unit is blowing warm air instead of cool air
Refrigerant Leak Causes
Refrigerant leaks are very common in units between four and seven years old. Leaks during this timeframe are attributed to the tube that holds refrigerant, which may need replacing. However, the refrigerant travels through several connection points, and any of them may weaken over time and lead to a leak. A professional AC technician can diagnose the problem and identify the source of a refrigerant leak.
Addressing refrigerant leaks early can prevent corrosion and additional damage in your HVAC unit, so don’t ignore the signs. Schedule an appointment today.
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