We know from primary school the importance of blood; it’s the fluid that sustains life. However, machines also have fluids vital for their operation. For some devices, it’s oil, but for your HVAC unit, it is the refrigerant. Refrigerant runs in the coils of your HVAC system and helps maintain your desired level of cooling. Hence, with low refrigerant levels, HVAC loses its optimal performance and works harder to cope with the demands. Our starting analogy would have given you an idea of how vital a refrigerant is, so let’s explore more about refrigerants and how to detect a leak.
How Does A Refrigerant Work?
Refrigerant runs from the evaporator to the condenser obeying the laws of thermodynamics and cooling your home. The compressors compress the refrigerant into a high-pressure liquid, and there is a significant drop in the temperature of the refrigerant here. The refrigerant interacts with the surrounding air absorbing heat in the evaporator coils. Hence, it cools the air while firing up the refrigerant, which is now a low-pressure gas. The cycle continues when the refrigerant reaches the compressor unit, where the compressor squeezes out the heat and disseminates it outside.
What Are Some Commercially Available Refrigerants?
The first in line was Freon, a CFC. Freon was used when the HVAC system was in its infancy. However, with time studies began to unravel the devastating effect on the environment. Hence, it was completely phased out from use till 1995. From this time until 2010, the world used R-22, HCFC. Its CFC, with an additional hydrogen atom, was less detrimental to the environment; still, its impact was significant. Hence, it was phased out with its production ceased till 2010. The ban on R-22 necessitated the introduction of R-410A. R-410A is an environmentally friendly alternative that is currently being used in ACs.
If you have a unit installed before 2010, your unit most probably will be employing R-22 as the refrigerant.
How To Know If You Have A Refrigerant Leak?
Leaks in the coil or anywhere in the system come with tell-tale signs.
- You will feel a dwindling cooling, and the air coming out of the air vents won’t be cool.
- Low refrigerant can sometimes cause ice to form on the coils, especially in your HVAC outside unit.
- You may detect an internal refrigerant leak from a hissing sound that seems to originate from the compressor.
The first step in the case of a low refrigerant is to get your refrigerant levels topped up. However, that’s only the start because refrigerant levels don’t fall on their own unless there is a leak in the system. Hence, it’s also essential to detect and repair the leak. It’s better to hire professionals like Crump A/C and Heating to perform this job. You can ring us at 281-533-9200 to learn more about our offers and how we can help you out.