What is a refrigerant in an HVAC system?

Refrigerant is a chemical compound used in air conditioning systems.

It absorbs the heat in your indoor air and passes through your compressor and evaporator to provide cool air.

Refrigeration is what cools your indoor air in a process referred to as phase conversion when liquid converts into gas. Air conditioning systems force the refrigerant to condense over its coils repeatedly. As the fans move hot indoor air over your evaporator coils, your expansion valve controls the flow of refrigerant that passes through. The refrigerant then absorbs the heat and converts it from liquid to gas state, phase conversion process. To maintain the cool temperatures, your air conditioning system’s centrifugal compressor utilizes high pressure to convert the refrigerant gas back to a liquid state. It essentially crams the refrigerant particles together, creating the thermal energy essential for cooling. High temperatures are crucial when cooling air because heat flows from hot to cool areas, and your compressor helps remove the unwanted heat. This phase conversion process repeats itself, from liquid to gas, gas to a liquid, continuously, depending on your cooling needs. The HVAC refrigerant comes in many different types. However, they are categorized into particular groups based on their chemical composition. These groups include hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFs), chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and natural ingredients. R-22, which falls under hydrofluorocarbons, is phased out entirely and replaced by R-134A and R-410A, which are commonly used today. R-410A does not contribute to ozone layer depletion and is more energy-efficient compared to R-22. It also comes with high refrigeration pressure and capacity that helps it perform better.

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