Skip navigation

Serving Belmont, Lake Norman, and Hickory, NC

Serving Belmont, Lake Norman, and Hickory, NC


Ace Hardware Home Services Blog

What Exactly Is Refrigerant?

Last week we talked a little bit about short cycling, and how one of the main causes of this serious problem was a refrigerant leak. In truth, refrigerant leaks cause a lot of different problems, both for your home and your air conditioner. It can be so bad that sometimes we get the question “Why even use refrigerant? What’s the point of this chemical being in an air conditioner?”

Refrigerant is absolutely required for your air conditioner to even work at all. It’s a chemical that’s at the center of your AC’s cooling process, and if it’s leaking from your system, then you need to schedule AC repairs in Gastonia, NC.

Without refrigerant, your air conditioner would just be an oversized fan and nothing more. It’s thanks to this material that your air conditioner even has the capability to cool your home.

The Science Behind Refrigerant

Refrigerant is a material that can easily be evaporated and condensed in a cycle. When materials evaporate due to pressure (which is what the compressor does), they can draw in heat. Then when they rapidly condense, they release that heat. If this process is done in two different locations (like inside and outside), then it can cool an entire space.

Welcome to air conditioning: this is how the process works and it’s entirely reliant on refrigerant. Most refrigerants, like R-410A (Puron) are hydrofluorocarbons, which are basically man-made chemicals that can easily evaporate and condense. They’re not particularly good for the environment when they leak, so they should be kept inside of your AC system at all costs.

Why Not Just Use Water?

This is a good question, but one that’s relatively simple to answer.

As much as we see water boil and freeze throughout our lives, in reality, water has an incredibly high specific heat. This means it requires a lot of energy to evaporate and condense, meaning it would be a pretty bad tool for cooling a space.

Trust us, if we could use water instead of refrigerant, we would. It would be a lot cheaper anyways.

A Refrigerant Leak Is Bad News

Now that you know what refrigerant is, take a look at your air conditioner.

If you notice it bubbling or hissing, or letting out a gas that smells almost sweet, then it’s leaking refrigerant. Your system only has a finite amount of refrigerant built into it, so you’re going to want to get this fixed by a professional ASAP.

Schedule an Appointment ASAP

Look, scheduling an AC repair doesn’t have to be a hassle. In the old days, it was a whole process with a phonebook and even sometimes learning about a good HVAC technician through word of mouth. Now, some of the best technician teams are available online and can be easily reached.

Do yourself a favor and schedule an appointment by clicking the link above and signing up so we can get in touch. It can all be done quickly and right at your keyboard.

Making your day better is what we do best. Contact Ace Hardware Home Services, a subsidiary of Unique Indoor Air Comfort.

Comments are closed.