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Sunset Air Blog

Why Your Air Conditioner Cannot Work Without Refrigerant

Air conditioners rely on refrigerant in order to operate. Many people know this, but they don’t know why it’s true. Under most circumstances, it would be perfectly fine not to know about how your air conditioner works. Unfortunately, there are a couple of ways that the system can be drained of its refrigerant, which causes huge problems. It is best to know how the refrigerant interacts with your air conditioner so that you can more easily recognize when a problem occurs.

What Refrigerant Is

Refrigerant (sometimes called Freon, which is a trademarked term) is actually a word that covers a wide range of different heat transfer fluids. There is no single material that is simply referred to as “refrigerant.” Refrigerant works by being evaporated and condensed in the air conditioner to absorb heat and transfer it outside. When refrigerant is evaporated, it absorbs heat from the surrounding air. When it is condensed, it releases that heat. So, an air conditioner evaporates refrigerant in the inside unit to absorb heat and condenses it in the outside unit to release the heat outside of the house. Without that refrigerant to absorb and release heat, the air conditioner is not much more than a giant set of fans.

Problems with Refrigerant

Air conditioners do not consume refrigerant in order to cool a space. Rather, they recycle the same refrigerant through their systems for their entire service lives. The biggest refrigerant related problem that an air conditioner can have is if a leak develops in the refrigerant line. If this happens, the level of refrigerant will drop until the system can no longer sustain proper cooling function. Eventually, the air conditioner will break down completely.

If you suspect that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak, call Sunset Air. We repair air conditioners throughout Olympia, WA.

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