As summer is fast approaching, you’d want to make sure your house is cool enough for the entire family. This is why the refrigerant in your air conditioner is critical to making your house comfortable. 

Refrigerants keep you and your family cool during the hot summer months by blowing cold air around your home. But what exactly are AC refrigerants, and how do they function?

A refrigerant is a chemical that helps to cool the air in air conditioning systems. It’s in charge of taking heat from the indoor air and transferring it to the exterior, where the fan releases it into the environment.

Find out more about refrigerants and how they work below.

How an Air Conditioning Refrigerant Works

When your AC is turned on, it cools the air with refrigerant. This liquid is pushed through copper coils in the air conditioning machine, where it absorbs heat from the air. 

It flows to another set of coils outside your home, where a fan pushes hot air over it and sends it outdoors once it has absorbed all the heat it can contain.

A second fan inside your house blows air over the cold coils at the same time, dispersing the cooled air throughout your home. The refrigerant collects heat from the inside air as it returns to the ac unit, restarting the process.

All varieties of AC refrigerants go through the same procedure; however, the compounds used vary. Understanding how AC refrigerant works can help you realize its importance in keeping your home cool.

Types of Refrigerants

There are other refrigerants that can be used in air conditioners, but they all work in the same way. The following are some of the most prevalent AC refrigerants:

  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): These refrigerants were originally widely used; however, they were phased out due to their contribution to ozone depletion. CFCs, including R12, were phased out of usage in the US in 1996.
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs): HFCs are manufactured to replace CFCs. The Clean Air Act of 2010 ordered that some HFC R22s be phased out by 2020, but numerous units are still in operation today.

Most new air conditioners employ R134A and R410A, two chlorine-free HFCs. These enable smaller, more energy-efficient machines to provide the same cooling capacity.

Other benefits of R410A include the fact that it does not harm the ozone layer, is non-toxic, and has a lesser risk of leaking than other ac refrigerants. The main disadvantage is that it is more expensive, but the benefits to the environment and your air conditioning unit make it worthwhile.

R410A isn’t compatible with all air conditioners, so check with your ac expert before switching.

The Issue about Freon

The brand name Freon refers to a type of CFC refrigerant. Although it is no longer in use, you may hear it mentioned now and then. R-22 is a CFC that will be phased out in the United States by 2020. If your air conditioner still uses R-22, it will need to be replaced at some point.

It’s critical to select an environmentally friendly refrigerant when purchasing a new air conditioning system. You can choose the most fitting air conditioner for your home by understanding how AC refrigerants work.


The refrigerant in an air conditioner is an important component of its operation. It’s necessary to guarantee that cold air reaches the appropriate sections of your home, and choosing the right type will save you money and be better for the environment.

If the refrigerant level begins to drop, you should have the system repaired as soon as possible by professionals because low refrigerant levels reduce the AC’s cooling capacity and can harm the compressor.

Consider upgrading now rather than waiting for your older equipment to break down. The greater efficiency and reliability will prove to be well worth the investment.

If you need a refrigerant installed or other air conditioner services, be sure to contact Good Guys Home Services. Our platform connects homeowners with technicians who can provide heating, air conditioning, and plumbing services. Book a service today!