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Common Questions from Homeowners About Refrigerants

What is the Purpose of Refrigerants? 

Refrigerants are used to move heat from one place to another in a heating and air conditioning system. The cooled refrigerant absorbs heat from hot and humid indoor air and transfers heat outside, thus cooling a home. To accomplish this, refrigerants have to have precise chemical properties regarding their boiling points. Refrigerants need to be engineered to meet these requirements. After a few missteps in the beginning, new refrigerants are constantly being introduced that are safer and more effective. 

Read on for answers to a few common FAQs homeowners have about refrigerants. 

Which Refrigerant Should Be Used?

refridgerantFor a homeowner, the answer to this question is simple. The correct refrigerant to use is the one that is stamped or printed on the label plate of an air conditioning unit. Each air conditioner is designed around one specific refrigerant and can’t be filled or mixed with any other type. Using the wrong refrigerant will result in complications like:

  • Damage to the air conditioner
  • Improper operation of the air conditioner
  • Inadequate performance 

The nice thing is that a homeowner never has to decide which refrigerant to use. That is up to the manufacturer and AC contractor, who knows how to handle that problem. 

Air conditioners built before 2010 were often designed to use the refrigerant Freon, or R22 refrigerant. In 2010, the EPA decided to phase out this chemical based on environmental concerns. This means that once these air conditioners need more refrigerant, they will likely need to be upgraded to a newer model.

How Do Refrigerant Leaks Form?

hvac After years of reliable service, an AC may start showing signs of difficulty keeping up. A possible cause is a refrigerant leak that is robbing the AC of its performance. Refrigerant leaks happen as the result of:

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Rust or corrosion
  • Pinholes from acid on the coils 

Studies show that refrigerant leaks are most common after the AC has been in service for 7-10 years. Routine maintenance of the heating and air conditioning system can help prevent refrigerant leaks. 

When Should an Expert Be Sought?

Homeowners should call a qualified technician as soon as they notice a drop in the air conditioner's performance. This can manifest in the form of:

  • Longer cooling cycles
  • Higher utility bills
  • Inadequate cooling power
  • Leaks around the AC unit
  • Frozen coils

These signs are all symptoms of a low refrigerant charge. Since licensed professionals are the only ones allowed to handle refrigerants, homeowners should call them immediately to restore the lost cooling power of the air conditioning system. 

About RupCoe Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning

RupCoe Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning is a family-owned and operated company with over 30 years of experience serving its neighbors in South Plainfield, NJ, and the surrounding areas. They provide upfront pricing, fast turnarounds, and quality workmanship. Call them today for air conditioning services in South Plainfield, NJ.