It’s not every day that you think about what’s inside of your heat pump or air conditioning system, but it’s a good idea to know about the most vital part of your entire HVAC system. Refrigerant is the lifeblood of these systems. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to keep your home comfortable.
What is it and How Does it Work?
In basic terms, air conditioners and heat pumps work by moving heat energy from one area to another. The refrigerant serves as an effective way to move that latent heat to where it’s needed. It’s the same basic process that refrigerators use to keep your food cold.
In a typical A/C system, the refrigerant flows through the compressor, where it’s compressed into a high-pressure vapor form. It then travels through the condenser coil, where it changes from vapor to liquid form while giving off latent heat. The now-liquid chemical loses pressure as it flows through the expansion valve and travels to the evaporator coil. It’s here where it absorbs heat from the surrounding indoor air as it vaporizes. The vapor travels back to the compressor where the process starts all over again.
What if You’re Running Low?
Unlike other chemicals, refrigerant doesn’t disappear over time unless there’s a leak somewhere within the HVAC system. Common symptoms of a leak or low charge include severe ice buildup on the evaporator and condenser coils, reduced heating or cooling performance and increased energy usage.
If you think you’re running low, you should have your HVAC technician check the problem. Only your technician has the tools and expertise to safely and effectively check your HVAC system’s refrigeration.
The pros at Detmer and Sons can help you with your residential heating and cooling needs. Contact us whenever you need a helping hand with your A/C system or heat pump in the Dayton area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Dayton, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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