Refrigerant Facts Every Household Needs To Know

What Homeowners Need to Know About Refrigerant

After a long day in the summer sun, Raleigh homeowners want to retreat to their cool, comfortable homes. If they walk in and their house is warmer than it should be, it can immediately cause fear and anxiety. Is the air conditioner broken? Is the thermostat malfunctioning?

It can be an issue with the AC system’s refrigerant or coolant. Refrigerant, a substance in an air conditioner’s coils, is essential to cool a home to the desired temperature. It absorbs the heat and provides cool air to comfort the home.

Homeowners need to understand the basics of refrigerants. They need to understand what type to use in their AC system, what causes leaks, and when to call an HVAC technician.

How to Tell Which Refrigerant an AC Uses

For an air conditioner to function properly, homeowners need to recharge the unit with the correct type of refrigerant. Many homeowners are not aware that there are numerous types of refrigerants. Using the right type is essential, as these are not interchangeable. Using the wrong variation can result in damage to the system.

Using the wrong refrigerant can result in leaks, corrosion, and damage to key components in an AC system. These can ultimately result in breakdowns or costly repairs.

Property owners can determine the type of refrigerant their particular AC system requires by checking the label on the air conditioner. They can ask an AC technician for assistance if they cannot locate it.

If the AC unit was built before 2010, it likely uses R-22 (freon). Freon has been banned in newer models, as it is dangerous to the environment. Technicians may recommend replacing the air conditioner with a model that doesn’t use R22 refrigerant.

What Causes Refrigerant Leaks?

A common issue with an air conditioner is a refrigerant leak. These can be caused by numerous problems with an AC system, including:

  • Damaged components: Over time, system components, such as coils, fittings, valves, or connections, can become damaged. Corrosion, vibrations, physical stress, or wear and tear can lead to small cracks, gaps, or holes, allowing refrigerants to escape.
  • Poor installation: Improper installation of an air conditioner can cause refrigerant leaks. Inadequate sealing of joints, incorrect tightening of fittings, or using incompatible materials can create leakage points. To avoid these problems, systems need to be installed by qualified professionals who adhere to industry standards.
  • Manufacturing defects: Occasionally, manufacturing defects in AC components can lead to refrigerant leaks.
  • Vibrations and stress: Vibrations and mechanical stress can cause components to shift or loosen over time. This can lead to leaks.
  • Freeze-thaw cycles: If refrigerant lines are exposed to freezing temperatures, the expansion and contraction due to freeze-thaw cycles can cause joints or fittings to loosen or crack, leading to leaks.

Professionals can use refrigerant leak detectors to identify signs of a leak in a home and perform the necessary repairs.

When is it Time to Call a Professional?

Property owners need to call HVAC technicians as soon as possible after noticing the signs of a refrigerant leak, frozen coil, or another issue.

One of the most obvious symptoms is if a home is not cooling to the temperature setting on the thermostat. Without the right amount of refrigerant, AC systems cannot work properly.

Other signs property owners should watch for include if the AC runs continuously without shutting down, if there are hissing or gurgling sounds coming from the system as refrigerant escapes through small holes, or if there is a formation of ice on the refrigerant lines, causing frozen AC coils.

About AirWorks Heating & Air

Since 2007, AirWorks Heating & Air has provided heating and cooling services to the Raleigh area. They offer flat-rate pricing and 100% satisfaction guaranteed on every appointment. Call them today for HVAC services in Franklinton, NC.

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