What is Refrigerant?
And how does it pass through your air conditioning system?
Refrigerant is an amazing compound that can absorb heat and humidity from an enclosed environment. Generally found in a fluid or gaseous state and when coupled with other components (such as a compressor), refrigerant can be used to provide refrigeration or air conditioning for a host of different reasons and applications. It is literally the reason we have A/C and the ability to freeze things.
How Does Refrigerant Work?
For the purposes of this site, we'll take a look at how refrigerant works in a standard central AC system. First, it flows into the compressor where it is in a vapor state. As the name suggests, the refrigerant is compressed as it is sucked, as well as increasing its pressure and temperature.
As the very hot refrigerant vapor leaves the compressor, it heads on over to the condenser coil. As it travels through this coil, the vapor is cooled by the air from the fan, turning it from a vapor to a liquid.
The flow of refrigerant is controlled by a metering device, as it moves to its next location within your system, the evaporator. Before this, the pressure of the liquid is very high. Before coming into the evaporator is the point in the process at which the refrigerant goes from high pressure to a much lower pressure.
The newly depressurized refrigerant leaves the metering device and now enters into the evaporator coil. With a fan blowing air across the coil, the refrigerant liquid begins to boil and turns back into a vapor. This process is called a change of state. The refrigerant is now absorbing heat and removing hot air as it passes over the coil. The heat that was in the air in your home, is now being absorbed and transferred into the refrigerant. Since the evaporator coil removed the heat from the air blowing over it, the air leaving it is now cold. In a nutshell your A/C system works by using refrigerant to absorb the hot air in your home, replacing it with what's left...cold air.
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