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The Refrigerant in Your Heat Pump: What You Need to Know

Heat pumps are impressive heating and cooling systems, and ones which are gaining popularity across many parts of the US. Heat pumps work just like your central air conditioner, yet can provide heat to keep your home comfortable all winter long.

The way a heat pump does both of its jobs is through a chemical compound called refrigerant. In this post, we’ll explain a bit more about what refrigerant is, how it allows the heat pump to do its job, and a few things to watch out for. Taking care of trouble with refrigerant requires the work of skilled technicians, so rely on a company like Ierna’s Heating & Cooling for help with your heat pump in Tampa, FL.

Refrigerant basics

Refrigerant is a chemical compound—the different types are called “blends”—that requires only a small amount of energy to change from a liquid to a gas and back again. The earliest systems used chemicals that were either toxic or flammable, but modern heat pumps use safe blends referred to by the general name “Freon” (a trademark of DuPont). The main blend used today is R410A and is replacing an earlier blend, R22.

Refrigerant is responsible for the movement of heat from one set of coils in the heat pump to another; this is the process called heat exchange that allows a heat pump to warm your house during the winter (the refrigerant absorbs heat from the outdoor coils, releases it to the indoor coils) and cool it during the summer (the refrigerant absorbs heat from the inside coils, and releases it to the outdoor coils).

Refrigerant does not dissipate during normal operation of the heat pump. The refrigerant remains at the same level—its “charge”—as it changes between liquid and gas states. However, leaks can sometimes develop in heat pumps from corrosion, loose connections, or damage, resulting in a loss of refrigerant. When this occurs, a heat pump will start to develop icing over its coils and lose its ability to provide conditioned air.

It requires the work of a trained technician to find and seal refrigerant leaks, and then recharge the refrigerant to its regular level.

Don’t let refrigerant problems take away the great advantages of a heat pump in Tampa, FL! Call Ierna’s Heating & Cooling day or night for heat pump and AC repair service.

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