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Refrigerant 101—Everything You Need to Know

check refrigerant

Refrigerant is one of the most important aspects of your air conditioning system. The problem is that there’s a substantial amount of misinformation surrounding refrigerant. Today, we’d like to set the record straight. We’re going to answer all the common questions that you have surrounding refrigerant including what it is, what the signs are that you need new refrigerant, and what it’s being replaced with.

If you’re having trouble with your air conditioner and you think you need air conditioning repair in Colorado Springs, CO, you should come to us. We know our stuff and we’re going to make sure to put that knowledge to great use.

What is Refrigerant in Air Conditioning?

Refrigerant is the chemical in your air conditioning system that’s responsible for making cooling happen.

The common misconception is that refrigerant is some type of fuel in your system that runs out. This just isn’t the case. If you think that your refrigerant is “running out” then we have news for you. We’re going to set the record straight today…

How Often Should You Recharge Your Refrigerant?

This is a misleading question and misconception about refrigerant. You can’t recharge your refrigerant.

If you think that your refrigerant is “running out” and needs to be recharged, then what’s actually happening is that your refrigerant is leaking. There’s nothing else that could cause the amount of refrigerant that should be in your air conditioner to decrease.

Don’t make the mistake of going to a team that says they can recharge. This is only going to temporarily solve the problem. Come to a team like ours that understands refrigerant and provides quality care.

What Are Signs Your Refrigerant is Leaking?

These are the biggest signs that your refrigerant is leaking:

Poor Cooling

Your air conditioner has taken a nose dive in efficacy. It’s like your air conditioner just doesn’t perform the way that it should. If you’re not cool enough and you’re struggling to get cool, then you should schedule an appointment to handle a potential refrigerant leak.

Don’t try to work around problems like this by putting more pressure on your air conditioning system. Long run times and freezing thermostat temperatures aren’t what’s going to solve your issue.

Higher Utility Bills

You might notice a spike in your home’s energy bills when you have a refrigerant leak. This typically happens when you’ve been nursing a leak for a while. Even if your air conditioner is functioning, it’s not functioning well if you’re dealing with high utility bills. Contact one of us as soon as possible.

Humid Indoor Air

If your air conditioner is functioning as it should, then it should be able to handle a its fair share of humidity control. You’ll notice that your humidity levels start to skyrocket when your heater is in a state of disrepair. A lack of humidity control can point to a refrigerant leak.

Longer Cooling Cycles

You’ve probably heard of short cycling before, but you can have the opposite problem where your air conditioner runs in long, seemingly never ending cycles. Longer cycles are a big sign of having a refrigerant leak. Your air conditioner runs in longer cycle when you have a leak like this because your air conditioner has to work overtime to operate the way it normally does.

Ice on Evaporative coils

Have you noticed ice forming on evaporative coils? This happens when you’re having a refrigerant leak. It’s because your air conditioning system can no longer self regulate its internal temperature.

Bubbling or Hissing Noises

Bubbling or hissing noises are literally the sound of your home’s refrigerant leaking. What you’re hearing is the sound of your refrigerant struggling to move through its path. If you hear this sound, we can help you figure out exactly where it’s coming from and then handle the issue as soon as possible.

What Does Refrigerant Smell Like?

Do you think that you’re smelling refrigerant in your home? You might notice a sweet, chemical smell coming through your vents if you have a refrigerant leak.

If you’re smelling refrigerant in your home, then there’s a really good chance that you’re dealing with a leak. There shouldn’t be scents wafting through your home without anything stopping it. You’re probably dealing with a leak and we’re the ones who can help you figure out where the leak is coming from and how to stop it.

Is Refrigerant Toxic?

Refrigerant is toxic. This isn’t a chemical that you want to ingest or inhale in any way. If you do, then you should seek urgent medical attention.

Although refrigerant is toxic, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be ingesting or inhaling large amounts of this chemical on accident even with a leak. You still don’t want to let things get out of hand or go on unmitigated. We can handle these issues for you.

What is R22?

R22 is a type of refrigerant that we’re currently phasing out across the country. R22 stopped being produced last year. Now, if you have an air conditioning system that still runs on R22, you can only get it through recycled or reclaimed sources. We suggest upgrading your air conditioner if you’re in this circumstance. Your air conditioner is probably quite old if you’re in this category and not exactly the most eco-friendly system.

If you’re worried about finding the right system, we’re the ones who can help you find exactly what’s right for your home.

What Refrigerant Replaced R22?

So we’re phasing out R22 as a whole—what are we going to replace it with?

R22 is being replaced with R-410. R-410 is also a type of refrigerant, but it’s one that meets the current environmental guidelines. This type of refrigerant is typically better because it doesn’t contain chlorine. Chlorine is a major detriment to the earth’s ozone layer. Removing this element helps us as a whole.

Contact Smith Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical. We can handle your refrigerant needs.

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