If you're trying to beat the heat, chances are you turn to your trusty air conditioner. But what makes an AC unit turn hot air cold? The secret ingredient is freon.
Without freon, your cooling system wouldn't have the power to harness the temperature of the air and cool it down. But what exactly is freon, and how is it used in air conditioning? Read on to find out!
Freon is only one name for the colorless gas refrigerant in your air conditioner. As of 2010, the hydrochlorofluorocarbon R-22 version of freon was phased out because of environmental concerns. Today's AC units are either using R22 because of their age or using the newer version like E-410A freon gas instead.
The newer forms of freon need their own special parts. These more efficient models of air conditioners must be able to operate at higher pressures, so R-22 freon cannot simply be swapped out for E-410A.
How Does It Cool?
The inside of your AC contains a variety of coils and compressors. When the compressors pressurize the gas, it heats up. The freon then moves through the coils and rapidly cools, absorbing the heat from the air outside as it pushes cold air out.
This repeating cycle of hot to cold operates continuously, creating a comfortable climate in your home or vehicle.
Does Freon Go Bad?
The freon in your air conditioner only stops working when there is a leak. If the coils are compromised, the freon escapes and the remaining gas can't be pressurized properly. In a sealed and functioning coil system, there is no reason for freon to deplete or go bad.
If your air conditioner is not blowing cold air, it's possible you have a freon leak. Other possibilities include a dirty filter, a bad thermostat, or other issues that need professional troubleshooting.
Can I Repair It Myself?
Air conditioner freon maintenance requires a special set of tools, training, and techniques. There's very little on an air conditioner that you can fix yourself, so it's important to call a professional as soon as you notice something is wrong.
To ensure your AC is in top shape with the correct freon levels, have your unit inspected at the beginning of each warm season. A certified technician knows how to safely handle the unit without releasing freon into the atmosphere, which can be harmful to the environment as well as dangerous.
One aspect you can take care of yourself is the replacement of insulation around your coils. Inside your owner's manual, there should be a description of how to care for and replace this insulation. Keeping the insulation in good shape will maximize the efficiency of your unit.
Can You Dispose of Freon?
Never attempt to cut or remove freon lines yourself. If you are disposing of an AC unit, it is important to have a professional remove the freon from your air conditioner. In fact, many scrapyards and landfills will require proof that the freon has been removed before they will accept your AC.
Improper disposal of freon is against safety standards and dangerous for the environment. It is best to leave disposal to a professional HVAC company.
Technology Keeps You Cool
Though we have been using freon to control the climate of our homes for decades, the technology is constantly changing and improving. AC units of today still utilize coils and condensers, but they use much more efficient and environmental friendly freon than those of old.
If you need air conditioning installation or maintenance in your home, contact the experts at Americare Heat and Air. Our award-winning service is available to help you beat the heat, 24-7.