What are refrigerants? Refrigerants are fluids that absorbs heat at low temperatures and rejects heat at higher temperatures. The principles of refrigerant allow for heat pumps and straight air conditioners to function properly; because of their pressure temperature relationship. This relationship allows for heat transfer.
In the HVAC industry refrigerants are given a trade name known as “R” names. Examples of these names are R22, R134a, and R502. These names help to describe the different types of refrigerants. Refrigerants have various chemical make ups, along with different properties. Some refrigerants are only able to work in high pressures while others use low pressures to function properly.
There are three main make ups of refrigerants that are currently used. Hydrogenated Fluorocarbon Refrigerants (HFCs), which is made up of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon. Because they do not use a chlorine atom (which is used in most refrigerants) they are known to be one of the least damaging to our ozone. Hydrogenated Chlorofluorocarbon Refrigerants (HCFCs), which are made up of hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine, and carbon. These refrigerants contain minimal amounts of chlorine; they are not as detrimental to the environment as some other refrigerants. Chlorofluorocarbon Refrigerants (CFCs), which contain chlorine, fluorine and carbon. These refrigerants carry high amounts of chlorine so they are known for being the most hazardous to the ozone layer.
Sometimes refrigerants consist of a two or more chemical compounds. These blends break down into two types: Zeotropes and Azeotropes. Zeotrope refrigerant mixes are mainly made of three different types of refrigerants. The characteristic that describes this type of refrigerant is that all three refrigerants keep their own properties; they act as 3 individual refrigerants. Azeotropes are mainly a blend of two refrigerants. The property that defines this type of refrigerant is it acts as a single refrigerant. This effect the boiling points of both types of refrigerants.
You must understand one of the most important fundamentals of refrigerants before expanding into how they work. This key principle is that refrigerants do not make things ‘cold’ they remove heat. This principle is preached in the HVAC industry. It is a common misunderstanding of homeowners and technicians.
A pressure temperature relationship is a way of describing the specific temperature that relates directly with the pressure of a substance. This allows control of refrigerants boiling temperatures. Controlling a refrigerants boiling temperature allows for proper heat transfer.
Heat transfer is when heat from one place is transferred to another place, this is also referred to as a refrigerant cycle. Generally we control heat transfer through air, water and refrigerants.
This type of heat transfer happens through conduction. Conduction is when heated molecules, with lots of movement, collide with slow moving molecules. The warmer molecules, fast moving, always move towards the cooler ones, or the slow moving molecules.
Refrigerants are sold in disposable container that include a check valve. This limits the reuse of old refrigerants and prevents mixing refrigerants. Refrigerants are identified by a standard color code. The labels also contain information on which type of refrigerant is in the container along with any safety hazards there are. Top refrigerant recovery machine