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Refrigerant: How Does It Work?

Refrigerant is arguably the most important part of any air conditioning system. It is responsible for actually removing heat from your home, and without it your system couldn’t function at all. While you don’t need to know every little thing about the workings of your air conditioner, we do feel that it is important to know a little bit more about the role of refrigerant in your air conditioner. So let’s take a look at refrigerant, and how it works.

What Is Refrigerant?

“Refrigerant” doesn’t really exist as a single substance. It is simply a broad term for a great many thermal transfer fluids that have the same general purpose. These fluids are meant to take heat from one area and release it in another by cycling between liquid and gaseous states. When in gaseous form, refrigerant acts as a heat sink, absorbing thermal energy from the air around it. Condensing that gas back into liquid releases the heat into the surrounding air.

How Your Air Conditioner Uses Refrigerant

Your air conditioner cools your home by constantly evaporating and condensing refrigerant. First, the evaporator coil inside the indoor unit evaporates refrigerant to absorb heat from the air. Then, the refrigerant gas travels down the refrigerant line to the condenser coil outside the home. There, the gas is condensed back into a liquid, releasing the heat outside. As long as your air conditioner is operating, the cycle of evaporating and condensing gas continues. The refrigerant is never consumed by the system, but is endlessly recycled back and forth. So unless there’s a leak in the system, an air conditioner should use the same refrigerant that it was installed with for its entire lifespan.

If you’d like to know more, call Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning. We provide air conditioning services throughout Chicago, IL.

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