What Is Refrigerant & How Does It Help Your AC Unit?

Posted On: July 07, 2016

Your cooling system in Madison County relies on quite a few parts and pieces to provide the cool comfort you’ve come to depend on. From the blower motor to your evaporator coil, everything in your system works in tandem to fight off our summer heat. But of all the components of your system, there is one in particular that really summarizes exactly how a cooling system operates. Which part? We’re talking about refrigerant, of course!

At Ernst Heating & Cooling, we take a lot of pride in our ability to provide the best service possible to solve your heating and cooling needs. Sometimes, you just need some answers. And hey, we like bringing you those as well! Ever wondered exactly what refrigerant is and why it’s so important to your cooling system?

What Is Refrigerant?

First off, you might be more familiar with the term “Freon” when talking about refrigerants. While this is a generally accepted term (in that everyone knows what you’re talking about when you say it), it’s actually a little bit inaccurate. Freon specifically is a brand name for a particular refrigerant. It’s kind of like how some folks call all soda Coke. What’s more, Freon is made up of R-22, a refrigerant that is no longer used in the production of air conditioning systems, as it was replaced by the much safer R-410A.

Okay, But What Is It?

Put simply, a refrigerant is a substance that can rapidly and comfortably phase change (solid, liquid, gas) efficiently. These substances are used in the refrigeration process for air conditioners, refrigerators, walk-in freezers—pretty much anything that controls temperature for cooling. Why do we use them? Because due to the unique properties of the refrigerant, it can carry heat away from an area and displace it with cooler temperatures. Which is kind of how your AC actually works, in a very small nutshell.

How Does Refrigerant Work In My Air Conditioner?

Putting it to a bare-bones, your air conditioner works with three primary systems/parts. These are the condenser, the compressor, and the evaporator. Refrigerant plays a major role in all three, starting with the compressor.

Refrigerant starts in the compressor as a gas, where it is highly pressurized. As this happens, your refrigerant absorbs heat from the home and becomes a liquid, moving on to the condenser outside where with the aid of the blower motor it will expel the heat it has gathered. Once this happens, the refrigerant moves back into the evaporator, where it will return to a gas. The process facilitates a drop in temperature, cooling the coils and a fan blows air over the coils to provide cool air for your home.

It’s a little confusing, we know. But you can tell that refrigerant plays a vital role in how your system operates!

Refrigerant & Routine Maintenance

An important thing about refrigerant is that if it springs a leak, your system has no real way of telling. It will continue with its processes like there’s nothing wrong until eventually, you’ll be looking at an AC repair or replacement! This is just another reason why routine maintenance is so important. With expert care, you stand a much better chance of catching a refrigerant leak or a potential cause for one long before it becomes an issue!

Air Conditioning Installation, Repair & Maintenance in the Hamel, IL Area

Why call us? Ernst offers:

  • Options. Our techs make sure that you understand the repair we’re making, how long it will take, and how much it costs—and why. They will also present options to you if applicable.
  • Expertise. Ernst’s installation technicians go through a minimum of one hour of training a week. This helps them stay on top of new technologies, HVAC trends, and new ways to help our clients.
  • Innovation. Ernst was the first in the Metro East area to offer geothermal energy systems, and we are always striving to be at the forefront of the industry.
  • Payment plans. Just ask; we have several financing options available through reputable national companies.

Contact Ernst Heating & Cooling online or by calling us at 618-887-6093 to schedule your air conditioning services in Madison County!

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