What is Freon and Why is It in My Air Conditioner?

What Is Freon and Why Is It in My Air Conditioner

What is Freon and Why is It in My Air Conditioner?

If you’re like most people, you probably have some idea of what freon is. At the very least, you know it is used in your air conditioner, as you may have had a leak and needed your freon refilled. But what it is it really? Well, here is all you’ll ever need to know about freon.

What is Freon?

Freon is a brand name of chemical refrigerants sometimes referred to as CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). While Freon is a brand name, the word can also be used as a general term for refrigerants, much like how “coke” is used for soda in some areas or how “kleenex” is sometimes used as a general term for tissues. CFCs were first synthesized in the 1890s and were composed of toxins. It wasn’t until 1930 that Freon was developed as a non-toxic alternative.

While not as toxic as the older CFCs, Freon still included a wide amount of chemicals that were dangerous to the environment, especially the ozone. Today, new refrigerants are much more cleaner and do not harm the ozone.

Freon in Your AC

AC units have a system of coils and compressors. In units that use Freon, this system compresses the Freon gas, making it very hot and moving the gas through the coils. Once this happens, the gas cools down to a liquid form which absorbs the heat from the outside air and pushes cold air out into your AC vents. Your AC unit is in a constant cycle of pulling hot air in and pushing cold air out.

As you can see, if your AC is low on coolant such as Freon, it will not be able to produce cold air. It’s important to note that through this process of pulling hot air in and pushing cold air out, coolant is never lost. So if your AC is low on coolant, you have a leak. It’s very important to fix the leak before you refill the coolant. Failing to do this doesn’t just waste money on coolant, but it can also be harmful to the environment.

The Future of Freon

When used as a general term to describe coolants and refrigerants, Freon can include a wide range of chemicals that are environmentally safe. However, brand name Freon is being phased out from AC units as it contains dangerous, ozone depleting chemicals. Older AC units still use these dangerous chemicals, and while not inherently dangerous, these AC units can cause environmental harm if they leak. The price of refilling these old models with Freon may increase as Freon is phased out. New models use environmentally friendly coolants and can also save you money on energy costs as they tend to be more efficient than older AC units.

If you’re having AC problems during these hot summer months or you’d like to replace your old AC unit, don’t hesitate to call Hatton’s HVAC Solutions for a free estimate.