Domestic and industrial air conditioning systems work using refrigerants. These gases, in either liquid or vapour form, are necessary for your air conditioning to work.
Air conditioning systems use refrigerants to raise or lower the temperature of the room through heat transfer and changing states, in a process called the refrigeration cycle.
To protect the environment, the way we use these gases has changed to comply with current regulations and requirements, so if your air conditioner is a few years old, the gas it uses is probably obsolete.
This is a big issue, because when you need to charge it, you may find that the type of gas it requires has been banned.
We recommend you learn about the different types of gas and that if you can, you choose one that it less harmful to the environment to avoid having to replace your appliance in the mid to long term.
Types of refrigerants
Refrigerants have different properties and thermodynamic behaviour, and they can vary in temperature, volume and pressure.
Let's look at the refrigerant gases most commonly used in air conditioners.
R22 air conditioning refrigerant
R22 gas, also known as chlorodifluoromethane, was commonly used in domestic and industrial cooling systems. Its main advantage is its low melting point of -157ºC.
It has been completely phased out and banned because it is an ozone depleting substance.
R410A air conditioning refrigerant
The fluorinated gas R410A replaced R22 gas when it was withdrawn from the market. It is also known as Puron, Genetron, Forane and Ecofluor. When it was introduced a few decades ago, it was a real improvement, since it does not contain chlorine or bromine, it has low toxicity and flammability, and it does not damage the ozone layer.
The only drawback is its high global warming potential, which exacerbates the greenhouse effect on the planet.