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What is Freon and How It Is Used in Your AC Unit

If you have ever had an air conditioner installation or maintenance before, you may have heard the word Freon. You may also have gathered that Freon is essential to an air conditioner’s operation. But what is Freon, exactly? What does it do, and how does it work? Expert Air is here to answer all of your Freon-related questions.

What is Freon?

Freon is a brand name for a group of refrigerants in air conditioners. We also call Freon R-22. These refrigerants absorb heat from the air inside your home and release it outside. This process helps to cool your home and make it more comfortable during hot weather.

History of R-22

Thomas Midgley Jr. first developed Freon in the early 1930s. R-22 was initially used industrially as a propellant in aerosol cans and as a refrigerant in ice cream makers and large commercial refrigerators. Freon became widely used in home air conditioners in the 1950s.


Uses of Freon

R-22 is used in a variety of industries and products, including:

  • Air conditioners
  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers
  • Car air conditioners
  • Dehumidifiers

How R-22 works in ACs

Freon works by circulating through your AC unit. As the R-22 moves through the coils, it is heated and changes from a liquid to a gas. This gas travels to evaporators that convert it back to a low-pressure gas. This process removes heat from your home and releases it outside. It helps to cool your home and make it more comfortable during hot weather.

Can my AC run out of Freon?

Yes, Freon can leak from your AC unit. This problem is why it’s essential to have regular maintenance check-ups. A trained technician will check for any leaks and repair them before they cause damage to your AC unit. If you think your AC unit may be low on R-22, contact a professional AC repair company like ours for help. We will be happy to come out and take a look at your unit to see what the problem is. We can then advise you on the best course of action to take.

Can I refill my AC’s R-22?

No, you cannot refill your AC’s Freon. Only a certified HVAC technician should handle R-22. When a technician refills your air conditioner’s R-22, this is sometimes called a “recharge.” The technician will measure your air conditioner’s Freon levels and add more Freon to replace any lost through leakage. The significant benefit of this service is that with the correct amount of R-22, your air conditioner will run like new and at full efficiency. This service typically costs between $100 and $1,000, depending on the type of Freon required.


Why is Freon a problem?

While Freon is a safe and effective way to cool your home, it can be harmful if it leaks. If you think there may be a R-22 leak in your AC unit, it is essential to have it repaired as soon as possible. An R-22 leak can cause damage to your AC unit and may be harmful to your health. Contact a qualified AC repair company if you need help repairing an R-22 leak or any other AC repair. They will be able to help you get your AC unit back up and running in no time.

Many researchers believe freon is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) that causes ozone layer depletion. CFCs have been in refrigeration and air conditioning for years, but in 1974, a researcher at the University of California hypothesized that they might be destroying the ozone layer. Eventually, under pressure from environmentalists, the United States banned the use of CFCs in aerosol cans. In 1987, world leaders took things one step further by signing The Montreal Protocol – an international agreement establishing the phase-out of CFCs worldwide.

The manufacturing of R-22, like the refrigerant itself, harms the ozone layer. HFC-23 is another chemical produced in the process of manufacturing Freon that harms the environment. Despite its high limitation and regulation, older appliances continue to use and discharge this gas.


R-22 Disposal

When your appliance is ready to be replaced, ensure you properly dispose of the Freon inside it. If you are having a new air conditioner installed, the installers will typically remove and dispose of the old unit for you. Otherwise, find a certified professional in your area that can remove the refrigerant and recycle it. Remember that establishments that might accept junk air conditioners, like scrapyards and garbage dumps, may require proof that all of the R-22 has been removed from the air conditioner first. Be sure not to vent Freon into the atmosphere – this is illegal and highly damaging to the ozone layer.

Never cut refrigerant lines or try to remove an air conditioner’s compressor yourself.



Fortunately, alternatives to Freon exist. The leading replacement for R-22 is called R-410A, under the brand names:

  • Puron®
  • SUVA 410A®
  • Forane® 410A

Any coolant-reliant appliance produced after January 1st, 2010, will be powered by one of the listed refrigerants.

Got Freon leaks? Worried about your AC’s Freon? Contact Expert Air today!

We take pride in our work and Expert Air AC’s expert, licensed specialists. We have the knowledge and experience to give every one of our customers quality service. Expert Air AC will provide you with the finest care because of our 24-hour on-call service, affordable prices, and comprehensive preventive maintenance programs. Get your air conditioner serviced by Expert Air today!

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