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What Is Refrigerant, and What Does It Do?

close-up-view-of-refrigerant-lineRefrigerant is a necessary component of your air conditioner. Your unit has an evaporator coil that evaporates the excess moisture in the atmosphere, along with the heat, using the refrigerant. The heat energy transfers to the refrigerant which cycles through the system to the condenser coil which will deposit the moisture and heat. This is the gist of the cooling process.

Sounds simple, right?

Well, when it comes to AC repair in Frisco, TX, the type of refrigerant can make a huge difference in both cost and environmental impact. If you encounter a refrigerant leak in your system, these differences can become monumentally important when it comes to the lifespan of your air conditioner.

Two Types of Refrigerant

Before we can talk about the cost of a refrigerant leak, we need to address the elephant in the room. What is refrigerant? Refrigerant is a gas mixture that is at the heart of the cooling process. Your air conditioner keeps this mixture at a high pressure to move heat from one area to another. This chemical combination has major implications for both your wallet and the environment.

Have you heard of the R-22 phase out?


Most air conditioners manufactured over 10 years ago, function with a refrigerant called R-22. Also known as Chlorodifluoromethane (say that ten times fast), it’s a greenhouse gas that when leaked from your system can be 1,810 times as powerful as carbon dioxide. It’s no wonder we’ve started getting rid of it globally, this chemical mixture has been devastating for the ozone layer and global warming.

So, countries all over the world, the United States included, have been phasing out of using R-22. This means that there will no longer be R-22 produced, and that the remainder left on the market is from recycled stockpiles.


This is where R-410A comes to save the day! It’s practically the same as R-22 except that it is environmentally friendly. This blend of chemicals has a minuscule impact on global warming and serves the same function of R-22. Air conditioners made today mostly function with R-410A since it is both better for the environment and consistently cheaper.

What Does the Difference Mean for Me?

More than you think! If your air conditioner is 10 years old or more, you might want to look into getting an upgrade. If your system starts to leak, you’re going to have an expensive problem on your hand, as well as the need for a chemical that is extremely harmful to the environment. Prices of R-22 refrigerant are only going to increase, and if you’re not careful- it could signal the end for your AC.

If you’re looking to upgrade, you’re going to want an air conditioner that uses R-410A as a refrigerant. Our technicians can help you choose the best AC for your home while making sure that refrigerant problems won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Looking to upgrade your AC? Contact Hutchins Plumbing & Air Conditioning. Get it done right… right now!

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