AC refrigerant is the main ingredient in comfortably cooling your home. This substance continuously circulates between the indoor evaporator coil and the outdoor condenser coil of your air conditioner, morphing from a frigid gas to a hot liquid and back again in the process. Cold refrigerant vapor absorbs heat extracted from indoor air at the evaporator coil, then carries it outside to the condenser coil, where the heat is dispersed into outdoor air. The heated refrigerant flow converts back to a chilled vapor circulating through the indoor evaporator coil again, removing more heat from your home.
AC refrigerant has become a critical issue in air conditioning in recent years. Here’s why the type of refrigerant in your system matters:
- The original refrigerant in use for decades was designated R-22. However, this substance was discovered to be harmful to the Earth’s ozone layer. Effective Jan. 1, the manufacture or import of R-22 was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- The environmentally friendly replacement for R-22 is designated R-410A. However, the new R-410A is incompatible with old air conditioners that utilize R-22.
Existing air conditioners that require R-22 refrigerant may continue to operate. However, if any common repair issue affecting the unit requires additional refrigerant, the R-22 supply may be prohibitively expensive or entirely unavailable at any cost. Your options are then either:
- Wait until your old R-22 air conditioner requires service and pay an exorbitant cost for R-22 refrigerant — or perhaps be unable to have the unit repaired at all because R-22 is not available. This could leave you stuck without cooling at a very uncomfortable time.
- Take proactive steps and upgrade to a new R-410A air conditioner now, before a cooling crisis occurs. This allows you time to make an unhurried, informed decision about the best AC replacement for your house. Upgrading to a new R-410A unit now also means you’ll be getting more energy-efficient, up-to-date cooling technology and features that were unavailable in your old R-22 air conditioner.
For more information about upgrading to the new AC refrigerant, contact the cooling pros at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company.