What You Need To Know About Refrigerants

R22, R410a, R407c, NU22

Heating and air conditioning contractor Quantum Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.

Quantum Air Conditioning

What is refrigerant?

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.

What are the most common refrigerants in residential and commercial applications?

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 was programmed to phased out on 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 or the technician doing the installation, will need to add some refrigerant, but always refer to the charging chart that comes with your equipment, before you start charging the system.

How often do I need to recharge my air conditioner?

This is one of the most common questions we get from our clients, 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 five to ten 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. 

Refrigerant replacements for R22.

There are few replacements for R22; the most commons are NU22 and 407c.

In my professional opinion, 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 changing 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 recharge due to refrigerant leaks.

What are the symptoms of an air conditioner that is low on refrigerant?

  • Warm air coming out of the air vents.
  • Frozen evaporator coil.
  • Frozen copper lines.
  • Frozen condenser coil on heat pump systems and when used on heating mode.
  • Noisy compressor.

Tip: A dirty air filter can be the cause of a frozen coil too. Replace your air filter periodically to ensure good air quality, as well as the proper functioning of your air conditioning system.

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