Refrigerants are the life blood of heat pumps (as well as air conditioners). They are chemical mixtures, referred to as blends, than change easily from liquid to gas and back again. Refrigerant travels through a heat pump—absorbing and releasing heat as it changes between states—to carry out the process of heat exchange that allows a heat pump to warm your house during winter (heat brought from the outside) and cool it during summer (heat taken away from the inside).
Heat pump and ACs have used many different refrigerant blends during the last hundred years. We’ll look at the two most common, one of which is probably in your heat pump right now: R-22 and R-410A. When you need experienced technicians who can perform effective repairs on heat pumps in Atlanta, GA, no matter the refrigerant blend, contact Air Conditioning Experts, Inc. today.
The earliest refrigerant types were chemicals that were either toxic or combustible, like sulfur dioxide, methyl chloride, and ammonia. It was only when chemists developed blends made of non-toxic and non-flammable chlorofluorocarbons, trademarked under the name Freon, that air conditioners became safe enough for use in the home. DuPont developed a notation system for their blends which used the letter “R” followed by a number to describe the blend’s molecular structure.
R-22 was, for many decades, the dominant Freon blend used in heat pumps and ACs. However, as a chlorofluorocarbon, it has an ozone-depleting effect. Although R-22 is still manufactured and used in developing countries, the U.S. has initiated a phase-out program to eliminate R-22 from use by 2020. As of 2010, U.S. manufacturers may no longer produce equipment that uses R-22.
R-410A (difluoromethane and pentafluoroethane)
Sometimes trademarked as “Puron,” R-410A is the principal refrigerant blend used to replace R-22 during the phaseout. If you purchased an AC or heat pump within the last five years, it almost certainly uses R-410A. The blend solves the problem of ozone-depleting gases and also increases heat pump efficiency. Although R-410A does have global warming potential, its reduced power consumption makes it create far less global warming gases than R-22. Currently, all window unit ACs and central air conditioners and heat pumps in the U.S. use R-410A.
Recharging your refrigerant
It’s important that you only hire skilled technicians to help you with heat pump repairs due to leaking refrigerant because they must know how to replace the lost charge with the correct blend. Putting the wrong blend into a heat pump can ruin the system. Air Conditioning Experts, Inc. provides the care for heat pumps in Atlanta, GA that will keep them running, no matter their refrigerant blend.