You don’t need to know every little detail about how your air conditioner works in order to use it properly. That’s why you call us for all of your air conditioning needs. However, it’s still a good idea to have some understanding of how your air conditioner works so that you can identify problems with it. Let’s take a look at one of the core components of your air conditioning system: refrigerant, and how it operates.
What is Refrigerant?
Refrigerant is not a single fluid, but a catchall term used to describe a variety of heat transfer fluids that all do the same thing. An air conditioner uses refrigerant to cool the home by evaporating it in a coil located in the indoor unit. As the air from the ducts is passed over the coil, the part evaporates refrigerant to remove heat from it. The refrigerant gas, now holding all of that heat, is then sent down the refrigerant line to the condenser coil in the unit outside. There, the refrigerant is compressed back into liquid to release its collected heat outside of the home.
The air conditioner recycles refrigerant back and forth between liquid and gaseous states during operation. It never actually consumes any of it. The initial charge of refrigerant an air conditioner receives upon installation should be enough to last it for its entire lifespan. The only time when this isn’t the case is when a leak develops in the refrigerant line.
A refrigerant leak will drain the system of the fluid that it needs to work properly, leading to a drop in output and eventual breakdown. If you see liquid dripping from your air conditioner, you should call for repairs right away. The leak will have to be patched, and any lost refrigerant replaced.