Understanding Refrigerant in Your AC Unit

understanding refrigerant AC unit

There are several components or elements that play a role in air conditioner operations, and one of the most important is refrigerant. Responsible for actually pulling warm air out of the home and replacing it with cool air, refrigerant is stored in your outdoor AC unit -- but if this unit and the rest of your system are not properly maintained, refrigerant issues may arise.

At Accurate Air, we're here to help with a wide range of air conditioning maintenance and tune-up services, including for AC units struggling with leaking or otherwise compromised refrigerant. Here's a primer on what refrigerant is and how to avoid any problems in this area.

What is Air Conditioner Refrigerant?

Refrigerant is the part of your air conditioning system that makes it work. It's a gas which is cooled for indoor use and then compressed into a liquid. This liquid can be piped around your home to keep it cool – but if the refrigerant leaks, or if you have other problems with your AC system, it can't be used, so it will stop cooling the home.

The most common types of refrigerant are Freon and Puron. The former was preferred for many years, but in modern times the latter tends to be the ideal option due to its environmental friendliness.

Does AC Refrigerant Run Out or Expire?

No, it does not. Air conditioning units do not have an expiration date for refrigerant -- they are designed to use low levels of it over many years, and there is no "magic" amount that must be used.

You may see yellow or white stickers on your air conditioner. These tell you the recommended amount of refrigerant for your system – but with AC unit components properly maintained, this amount should never change.

Problems with AC Refrigerant

When there is an issue with your air conditioning unit and the refrigerant isn't working correctly, you'll experience problems. You may find that your home feels very warm, or that cold air just doesn't seem to be coming out of the vents. This is a clear sign that the refrigerant levels are low, and that you should contact an HVAC professional for repairs.

The most common reason for this: A refrigerant leak, which may be caused by a crack or some other issue in the refrigerant line. Signs that indicate refrigerant leaks include increased energy bills, an AC that blows warm air instead of cool, and an AC unit that's producing loud, unusual noises.

Air conditioning systems can be very hard to repair without the proper equipment, so don't try it if you don't have years of experience with AC units – there's too much risk of damage in doing so.

If you're concerned you have an issue with refrigerant or any other part of your AC system, speak to the staff at Accurate Air for assistance.

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