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Air Conditioning Basics: Refrigerant and Why It Is Important

In order for an air conditioners to cool, they rely on the process of heat exchange, moving heat from the inside of a home to the outside. Refrigerant, the chemical that allows for heat transfer, is the perfect chemical blend for this process because it is non-combustible and easily converts from liquid to gas form and back again.

Your air conditioning system is made up of two major parts, the condenser unit and the evaporator unit. In split systems, the evaporator is located indoors, while the condenser is outside, but packaged systems store every part in one single cabinet. All air conditioning systems have the same components, however, and the four most important components through which refrigerant passes as it moves through the system are the compressor, condenser coil, expansion valve, and evaporator.

Each of these parts is responsible for changing refrigerant so that it can carry out heat exchange. The compressor changes refrigerant from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure gas so that it can give off heat at the condenser. Here it changes into a liquid under high pressure and moves to the expansion valve, where it changes into a low-pressure liquid. At the evaporator, it changes back into a gas, absorbing the heat in your home in the process. It then moves to the compressor to begin the cycle again.

It’s important that the refrigerant level remains constant in order to continue cooling your home effectively. Low levels of refrigerant obstruct the exchange of heat, so that your AC has less cooling power. Additionally, the parts of your system are sized to handle a specific level, and when this changes it can cause the evaporator to freeze or damage the compressor, leading to a costly repair.

Refrigerant will never dissipate on its own. If you have low levels of refrigerant, it may be a result of improper measurements during installation, but it often means there is a leak somewhere along the refrigerant line due to loose connections or corrosion.

The technicians at Kool Breeze can assist you when you notice problems like these for your air conditioning system in Fort Walton Beach, FL. For repairs, maintenance, installation, and more, give us a call today!


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