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What Exactly Is Refrigerant?

We’re on record to have one of the hottest summers in recent memory, and we’ve already broken a few records. This would be a life-altering event, if it weren’t for your handy AC or heat pump installation in Melbourne, FL that slowly removes the heat from your home and keeps things comfortable. But how exactly does this work?

It’s all thanks to refrigerant, a powerful, man-made chemical that can evaporate and condense with ease. This might sound like a useless superpower, but it’s what allows us to have comfortable indoor temperatures all throughout the country. Refrigerant is the key to cooling, and the more you know about it, the more you’ll be able to be an informed consumer of HVAC products and services in the future.

Let’s discuss refrigerant–what it is and how it works. Then, we promise that as things click in your mind, you’ll know exactly why high-efficiency AC units and heat pumps are so powerful and compelling!

What Comprises Refrigerant?

Refrigerant is scientifically referred to as a “hydrofluorocarbon” which sounds like a mouthful, but it would make perfect sense to any chemist or scientist you spoke to. This means it includes hydrogen, fluoride, and carbon, which are light materials that form an easily evaporated gas.

This is important because the refrigerant’s whole job is to evaporate and condense over and over again. As this happens, the space around it becomes cooler because the material absorbs heat. Gaseous materials absorb heat in the atmosphere when they evaporate, as long as you have a compressor to do the job.

To make a long story short, refrigerant is a chemical that draws in heat and disperses it as it goes through an evaporation and condensation cycle.

Why Use Refrigerant?

Some people might ask us why we use refrigerant in these kinds of systems instead of water. It’s a great question, but one that’s easily answered.

Water, even though it’s common and abundant, actually takes a lot of energy to turn into water vapor. The evaporation process is too energy intensive and it’s not worth it if you’re trying to move heat from one location to another.

Refrigerant, for instance, is exceptionally good at doing that while using as little energy as possible, which is why AC units can work with only a moderate amount of electricity while cooling an entire house.

Freon, Puron, and the Future of Refrigerant

You’ve likely heard people refer to refrigerant as “Freon” or “Puron,” so what’s the difference? Well, to be specific, they each are names of specific types of refrigerants that have either been popularized or phased out over the years.

Freon used to be the most popular and common type of refrigerant in existence, but recent studies have revealed it to be extremely harmful to the ozone layer and the surrounding ecosystem. It was replaced in 2020 by Puron, which is also known as R-410A, a refrigerant that’s many times lighter and more efficient than Freon. But both of these names refer to a type of refrigerant.

Soon, there may be a new champion of refrigerant that becomes commonplace in AC units around the world. But until then, most AC units and heat pumps use Puron.

If you’ve got a refrigerant leak, or are interested in investing in a heat pump, schedule an appointment with Complete Air & Heat, Inc. Making families happy on the Space Coast since 1975.

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