According to Wikipedia, a refrigerant is a substance or mixture; usually, a fluid, used in a heat pump (air conditioner) and refrigeration cycle.
In most cases, undergoes phase transitions from liquid to a gas and back again.
About fifteen to twenty years ago, R22 was the most common AC refrigerant in the market, at least for residential and light commercial applications.
Because R22 refrigerant is considered very harmful to the environment due to its ozone depletion effects, it is programmed to be phased out by January 1, 2020.
To make the transition faster, air conditioning equipment manufacturers are no longer making any equipment for R22 refrigerant. All new equipment is being made to be compatible with R410a refrigerant and is considered environmental-friendly. All new equipment comes out from the manufacturer pre-charged with R410a refrigerant.
The amount of refrigerant charged varies per system size and model. One thing to consider on new installations is the distance between the condenser and the evaporator coil if its more than 50 feet, the size of the copper line should be increased and most likely you will need to add some refrigerant, but always refer to the charging chart that comes with your equipment, before you start charging the system.
This is one of the most common questions we get on the field, and the answer is that technically, an air conditioning system shouldn’t be recharged, but the reality is way different.
Now, why does an air conditioner start leaking? If “technically” shouldn’t be recharged, well, I guess we also have to consider that, like every other piece of equipment, gets older and parts start deteriorating, especially after ten to fifteen years of use and in many cases way less time than that.
Some of the most common places where leaks start are at the service valves, also porous pipes (old pipes), bad solder joints, defective TXV valves, to mention a few.
The one thing you should always make sure is that whoever is working on your A/C system, that technician should find and fix the leak before he recharges your ac unit again.
There are few replacements for R22; the most commons are NU22 and 407c.
From my perspective, NU22 is the most convenient of all because you can use it in every system that works with R22, as compared to 407c that requires to changes the oil in the compressor in some models.
NU22 refrigerant has been improved to keep a nice cold air within your home without affecting your ac system and is very cost-effective in case you need a refrigerant to fill up due to refrigerant leaks.
Tip: A dirty air filter can be the cause of a frozen coil too. Replace your air filter periodically to ensure good quality air as well as the proper functioning of your air conditioning system.
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