How Refrigerant Works in Your Air Conditioner to Keep Your House Cool

Electro-mechanical air conditioning was invented in 1902, and in the following century-plus they have become a ubiquitous part of daily life—especially in desert cities like Phoenix, AZ. But how much do you really know about the AC that keeps your home pleasant even when the thermometer outdoors rises up toward a sweltering 120°F? In this post we’ll talk a bit about one of the essential “ingredients” of the modern air conditioner that lets it keep your home comfortable all through the summer.

The power of refrigerant

The “magical elixir” of an air conditioning system is refrigerant, which is sometimes known by the trademarked named Freon. Refrigerant is a chemical blend designed to transition easily between liquid and gaseous states. The most common type of refrigerant found in contemporary air conditioners is R-410A, a blend that replaced the older R-22 because it creates far fewer ozone-depleting emissions. All new residential air conditioners currently manufactured use R-410A.

As this refrigerant moves through the components of an air conditioner, it changes between gaseous and liquid states, a process of condensation and evaporation. When it condenses, it releases heat; when it evaporates, it absorbs heat. The compressor in the outdoor unit is responsible for supplying the energy to the refrigerant in the first place that turns it into a hot gas and sends it through the system. In the outdoor coil, the hot gas goes through condensation, releasing heat to the outside. The cooled refrigerant changes into a liquid, then moves to the indoor coil where it goes through evaporation, removing heat from the indoor air. It then returns to the compressor to restart the cycle.

It is the indoor evaporation that cools down your home. The air passing the refrigerant in the evaporator coil loses its heat, and it continues on into the ventilation system to the rooms. So the air conditioner does “create” cold air, it removes heat from the air to make it feel colder.

Refrigerant does not dissipate as it moves between liquid and gaseous states, so your AC should keep the same level of refrigerant throughout its service life. However, leaks can occur, and should your air conditioner begin to lose refrigerant, call on a professional HVAC technician right away to fix the trouble.

Magic Touch Mechanical provides Phoenix, AZ with high quality air conditioning repair service. Call us whenever you need help staying cool in your home.