What Is Refrigerant and How Does It Work?

In the United States, air conditioning accounts for 6% of all energy used

If you’ve ever used an air conditioner or refrigerator you have used an appliance that relies on refrigerant. This may leave you wondering, what is refrigerant and how does it cool down our homes, businesses, and even our food? 

What Is Refrigerant?

The answer to “what is refrigerant” is that it’s any chemical used to transfer heat from the inside of an area to the outside. Air conditioners do this via the outside coil where heat releases in a process known as condensation. In general, this is how all refrigerants function, releasing heat and returning cool air. 

The most common example of refrigerants in the United States is Freeon, though there are different types of refrigerant that have been gaining popularity, such as ammonia. Regardless of what type of refrigerant, a closed-loop system is always required. This means the refrigerant stays separate and does not evaporate into the air. 

How Does Refrigerant Work?

While it is easy to conceptualize a refrigerant system producing cold air, this isn’t actually true. What refrigerant does is pull warmth out of the air, by collecting warm air at one point, such as the intake for the air conditioner, and transferring it outside. During this process, the refrigerant evaporates and travels as gas as part of the refrigeration cycle. 

Once this gas reaches the outside, it condensates, turning back into a liquid as it sheds the warmth. The returning refrigerant is thus much cooler and lowers the temperature of the air blowing over it because the heat is gone. Originally this was done with water when the first air conditioners came out. 

Today, chemicals that are far more volatile than water are used. This means that cooling is more efficient and that air conditioners can provide more cooling than ever before. However, if a hole, no matter how small, is in the line, the refrigerant will vaporize and escape, leaving your unit incapable of functioning. 

A Hole In the Line 

If you suspect that your refrigerant has a leak, there are a couple of ways to tell. If your air conditioner or refrigerator unit freezes up, this is a clear indication that there could be a lack of refrigerant as cold is not properly circulated. You may also notice that the air being put out isn’t chilled. 

Another way to detect this issue is by using a leak detector. You can check out this site to get a better idea of how to catch and stop leaks before they become a big problem: https://nevadanano.com/optimal-refrigerant-leak-detector/. If you think you have a leak, addressing it quickly is vital. 

Refrigerants and Our Daily Lives

Refrigerants have changed the way life and commerce are conducted forever. The true answer to what is refrigerant may truly be the centerpiece of our daily lives. From food storage to comfort and productivity, refrigerants play a key role in almost every modern activity.

Check out our website and look around for more knowledge on the subject.


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