One of the things you should learn more about if you are considering the installation of a new air conditioning system is the role refrigerants play in making the system work. Refrigerants are chemicals designed to be compressed and allowed to expand at different phases of the operating cycle in order to transfer heat from one point to another. The system’s compressor causes the refrigerant to build up heat that is absorbed by the outside air. The refrigerant then expands, causing it to get cold. At this point it absorbs heat from inside the home and transfers that heat to the outside. This cycle continues as long as the unit is running. Because the refrigerants that have been used for many years can contribute to climate change, they must be handled by certified technicians.
If you have an older air conditioning system in your home, it likely operates with HCFC-22 refrigerant, more commonly referred to as R-22. This refrigerant cannot be used in new equipment after the year 2020 because of its ozone depleting properties. It will only be produced in small amounts until 2030, when its production must stop.
Consequently, refrigerants more environmentally friendly are being used today, which is something you might want to ask your technician. One thing you might check if you are considering a new system is the type of refrigerant it will use. These new refrigerants can vary in their toxicity and flammability levels. Ideally you will want a refrigerant that has a low level of both. Refrigerants to consider include R-134a, R-410a and R-407c. You might even look into a system that uses R-32, designed as a replacement to R-22 and R-410a.
Always seek professional advice when dealing with the more complicated matters of your air conditioner just to be on the safe side. Your technician might even recommend replacing your old unit for a newer, more efficient one that uses this type of refrigerant if the current refrigerant you require might be hard to come by.
Stationary Refrigeration – Resources for Homeowners
Air Conditioner Refrigerant