Electro-mechanical systems like your air conditioner consume things. For example, a gas furnace consumes natural gas to generate heat. So when you hear someone talk about the refrigerant in your air conditioning system, it is natural to assume that, like a gas furnace, your air conditioner uses up the refrigerant in your system, resulting in the need for a recharge. However, the only fuel-type of material your air conditioner uses is electricity; the refrigerant stays the same season after season, unless something happens to affect its level, such as a leak. Sound confusing? We’ll explain more below.
How Refrigerant Works in Your AC
Your air conditioner doesn’t just generate cool air; it conditions the air in your home by removing the heat and humidity and replacing it with cool air. The chemical that allows this to happen is refrigerant. The reason refrigerant is the best chemical for the air conditioning process is that it easily changes states between a liquid and gas depending on temperature. By manipulating the temperature of refrigerant, it can both absorb heat and release it, the key element in the cooling process.
Your air conditioner is a closed system. It works with an exact amount of refrigerant as dictated by the manufacturer of your particular unit. So, rather than being consumed, the refrigerant moves in a cycle, changing states back and forth as it releases heat, then absorbs it. As such, it isn’t consumed like oil in a car, it simply circulates – unless there’s a leak.
The main way your air conditioner loses refrigerant is when a leak develops somewhere in the system. Leaks are quite common, but once a leak occurs and there has been loss of refrigerant, a technician needs to find and repair the leak as well as add, aka, “recharge” the refrigerant so it is at the exact level needed for operation.
The AC experts at DuAll Heating & Cooling are here to help you with all of your air conditioning needs in Bolingbrook, IL – just give us a call!