Air Conditioning 101: What Is Freon and Why Is It in Your AC?

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Besides electricity, air conditioners need gas refrigerants to cool the air in the room. This gaseous substance absorbs the heat from the machine and readily provides refrigeration to the cooling system and its parts. Freon is the brand name for a series of refrigerants commonly used in traditional and modern air conditioners.

In this article, we’ll take you through a brief history of the refrigerant brand to give you a better understanding of its properties and how it allowed for modern homes to stay comfortable despite the summer heat outdoors as it works through cooling systems!

What is Freon?

Freon is the brand name, and registered trademark for a series of halocarbon products used in air conditioners to produce cool air. Owned by the Chemours Company, Freon gas is made with chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), and typically used in freezers and aerosols. In air conditioning systems, the coolant is known as R-22.

R-22 was one of the first refrigerant types to be used for air conditioner units. While Freon was effective in cooling down the air in an air conditioning system, the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) led to ozone depletion and harmful environmental effects. It has since been discontinued for use in HVAC systems as per the EPA’s Clean Air Act of 2010.

As a result, this refrigerant type is projected to be quickly phased out as early as 2020. R-410A, better known as Puron, is the replacement refrigerant to be used in modern AC systems in efforts to combat global warming as Puron does not produce greenhouse gasses like Freon does.

The Importance of Freon in Air Conditioning Units

So how does Freon work in air conditioners? An AC system has coils and compressors that all work together to produce cool and clean air. In order to function properly, the air conditioner compresses Freon, or R-22, heating up the substance to a gaseous form.

The substance then moves through the AC compressor and evaporator coils, where it cools down and transforms into its liquid state. In this form, the cooled gaseous substance absorbs the heat from the outside air, causing it to push the cold air out.

Can Freon Leak?

Every air conditioner relies on a refrigerant to help it cool the air, so once there’s a leak in the refrigerant lines, the AC system can no longer cool the air. The AC unit may stop functioning all together, or cause damages as leaking refrigerant may cause an AC unit to freeze up, leak water, or overheat.

It’s also worth noting that not all issues related to air quality cooling and performance can be pinpointed to the refrigerant. There are also cases where something as simple as a dirty aircon filter is the one causing all the problems in the air conditioning unit.

Diagnosing Common Problems with Freon Refrigerant

#1 Air Conditioner is Blowing Warm Air

AC units that blow warm air instead of cool air into the room would most likely have issues with the refrigerating apparatus. Freon works to cool the air, and any leaks in the refrigerant line can limit the functionality of Freon in an HVAC system.

An AC unit blowing warm air is indicative of a number of problems, however, and it is difficult to pinpoint the exact source of the issue without the expertise of an HVAC professional. Our technicians at Luce Aircon will be able to diagnose and repair your unit, as well as top up your Freon levels!

#2 Air Conditioner is Leaking Water

Water leaking out of your AC system can be due to two main causes: a clogged condensate drain line, or leaking refrigerant. If your aircon unit is freezing up and leaking water as the ice melts, then you may have a problem with Freon leaking out of your unit.

When this happens, it is best to shut off the air conditioner immediately, and contact us at Luce Aircon so our technicians can find and fix the leak for you. Freon is a colorless gas that is inflammable, but may have harmful effects on your health, so it is best to tackle any refrigerant leaks immediately.

#3 Air Conditioner Has a Smell

Freon leaks are toxic, and while the non-combustible gas is originally odorless, manufacturers produce Freon gas with a sweet, chloroform-like smell to alert homeowners of a potential leak. If a sweet smell is coming out of your air conditioner, contact an HVAC professional to find and fix the leak.

Can You Still Refill Your Freon?

While Freon has since been widely discontinued, there are still HVAC specialists and aircon service providers that do Freon top ups. However, industry experts highly recommend switching to alternative refrigerants like Puron to comply with the latest environmental decree. After all, it’s a small price to pay in keeping our environment healthy and safe.

Helpful Tip: Modern aircon units use a new type of refrigerant gas called R410A. R-410A or Puron is less harmful for the ozone layer and better at absorbing and releasing heat. Check with your aircon manufacturer if your AC unit uses Freon or Puron cooling agent.

Fast and Easy Gas Top-Up Service in SG

Looking for fast and easy top-up service for your air conditioner? Get in touch with us here at Luce Aircon! We offer R-22 and R410A top-ups, as well as a full suite of quality air conditioning services at affordable rates for every type of aircon.

Contact us to book your appointment today.

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