How Air Conditioners Use Refrigerant

central ac units

Standing in front of an air conditioning vent, it may seem like all that’s happening is cool air being blown into a warmer space. The actual process involves much more, including the work of several important components and the chemical responsible for the cool air: refrigerant. Without refrigerant, there is no air conditioning – something we know all too well at Ideal Services Heating & Cooling. Let’s take a look at how air conditioners use refrigerant for your air conditioning in Apex, NC, and why it is so important.

What is Refrigerant?

Refrigerant is a chemical in your air conditioner that alternates between a liquid and a gaseous state, something very important to the cooling process.

How is Refrigerant Used?

Your air conditioner doesn’t just blow cool air into your warm home; it actually removes the heat and humidity from a given space and redistributes this cooled air throughout the space. Refrigerant is the catalyst for this heat transfer due to its ability to turn from liquid to gas and back again.

The way your air conditioner uses refrigerant is by capitalizing on a simple law of physics: when a liquid converts to a gas, it absorbs heat. The best way to illustrate this is to follow the refrigerant cycle of an air conditioner.

The Refrigerant Cycle

The cycle begins with the refrigerant entering the compressor, housed in your outside unit, as a cool gas. In the compressor, the refrigerant gets pressurized, where it becomes hot and turns into a high-pressure gas. This hot, high-pressure gas moves into the condenser coil, also in the outside unit, where it begins to cool as it circulates through the coil. The condenser fan assists with the cooling process by dissipating the hot air created by the refrigerant and blowing it to the outside. As the refrigerant continues moving through the condenser coil, it cools off and turns back into a liquid. This cooler liquid enters the expansion valve where it becomes a low-pressure, low-temperature liquid. This cooler liquid enters the evaporator coil, which is located inside your property and circulates through it. A second fan that is part of the evaporator blows warm air from the inside of your property over the coil where the cool liquid is; the heat is absorbed by the cooled refrigerant, creating cool air, which gets blown into your home. The refrigerant, turning back into a gas, starts the process again.

Let an Expert Conduct Refrigerant Repairs

Refrigerant is an important part of your air conditioner and any repair involving it should not be considered a DIY project. If you think you may have a problem with your AC’s refrigerant, call your Ideal Services Heating & Cooling expert (919) 887-9680 to schedule an appointment to take a look at your air conditioning.

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