How Does Refrigerant Work in Your Home’s HVAC Unit?

Refrigerant may be thought of as the lifeblood of your central air conditioner. This versatile chemical changes identity from a liquid to a gas and back again through the process of extracting heat from your home, conveying it outside, then dispersing it into the outdoor air. Once the right amount of heat energy has been taken out of the house, what’s left behind is simply cool comfort for you and your family.

Here’s a brief summary of how refrigerant keeps your home comfortable and efficient in hot weather:

  • Refrigerant in the form of frigid, low-pressure gas flows through the evaporator coil inside the indoor air handler. As indoor air is drawn through the evaporator coil’s passages, the cold gas efficiently absorbs heat, cooling the airflow moving through ductwork and back into living spaces.
  • The warm flow of gas is conveyed outdoors through insulated tubing to the powerful AC compressor that compresses the heat molecules.
  • As the hot, high-pressure gas leaves the compressor and enters the outdoor condenser coil, it rapidly condenses into a liquid state and releases absorbed heat into outdoor air.
  • Liquid refrigerant passes through an expansion valve that slows the flow, then enters the evaporator coil.
  • The refrigerant converts back to a frigid gas inside the evaporator and absorbs more heat from the system airflow as the cooling cycle continues.

What Can Go Wrong?

The AC cooling cycle is an efficient method of moving indoor heat outdoors. However, certain malfunctions may impair this process. A common issue with home central air conditioning is refrigerant leakage, which causes an AC unit to be less effective in cooling and may eventually damage vital components like the system compressor. These tiny leaks can be located by a qualified HVAC technician utilizing leak-detection technology. Once a leak is confirmed and repaired, the refrigerant level is brought up to specifications, and system performance and efficiency is restored.

For more information about the role of refrigerant in effective, efficient home cooling, talk to the pros at NisAir Air Conditioning and Heating.

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