Typically, it takes a couple of minutes to a few hours, for Freon to settle, or equalize, in an air conditioner.
Understanding the Freon-Refrigerant relationship in cooling systems
Is Freon the same as refrigerant?
The answer is Yes and No. In common usage, the term “Freon” is often used interchangeably with the term “refrigerant.” Freon is a brand name for a specific type of refrigerant that was developed by the DuPont company.
The term has become colloquially used to refer to various refrigerants, even those produced by different manufacturers.
Refrigerants are chemicals used in air conditioning, refrigeration, and heat pump systems to facilitate the heat exchange process that enables the cooling or heating of a space.
Establishing refrigerant stability after air conditioner service
The time it takes for the refrigerant to stabilize or achieve a consistent state within the system after maintenance or a service event, can vary based on factors such as the type of work done, the size of the system, and the specifics of the service performed.
Typically, after adding or adjusting the refrigerant, it’s advisable to let the air conditioner run for a sufficient period to ensure proper distribution and performance.
This can range from 15 to 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on the specifics of the system and the service performed.
For precise guidance, please follow the manufacturer’s recommendations or consult with a qualified HVAC professional who can provide specific information based on the system’s specifications and the nature of the work done.
Navigating Ozone-depleting substances regulation in the US
In the United States (US), ozone-depleting substances (ODS) fall into two categories: class I and class II controlled substances.
|Class I ODS
|Higher ozone depletion potential
|Phased out, production/import prohibited
|Class II ODS
|Transitional substitutes for many Class I substances
|In use, but production and import phased out (depending on regulations)
Most HCFCs ceased production and import as of 2020. Notably, HCFC-22, or R-22, or Freon, a common refrigerant in use, still remains in existing air conditioners and refrigeration equipment.
Transitioning from HCFC-22: Ozone-friendly refrigerant choices
To safeguard the Earth’s ozone layer, the US is phasing out the common refrigerant HCFC-22 (R-22) along with other chemicals.
Consumers must make informed choices during servicing, repairs, or replacements of air conditioning units.
As HCFC-22, or Freon is phased out, non-ozone-depleting alternative refrigerants are emerging. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is providing a list of acceptable alternatives for household and light commercial air conditioning.
Global ozone protection: Phasing out HCFCs
The 1987 Montreal Protocol mandated the worldwide phaseout of ozone-depleting CFCs, with developed nations ceasing CFC production by 1996.
In 1992, the protocol was amended to include the phaseout of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), including the common refrigerant HCFC-22 (R-22, or Freon).
HCFC-22 has been the predominant refrigerant in residential heat pumps and air conditioning systems for numerous decades.
With the phaseout of HCFC-22 and other HCFCs, manufacturers of residential air conditioning systems are now introducing alternatives that use ozone-friendly refrigerants.
Sustainable servicing for pre-2010 AC units
Homeowners with AC units manufactured before 2010 can continue servicing them with HCFC-22 without EPA requirements for system replacement or conversion to non-ozone-depleting alternatives.
While retrofitting is permitted with acceptable substitutes, altering components is essential for effective use.
Technicians, typically EPA-certified under “Section 608,” may often recharge HCFC-22 during repairs.
Partnering with EPA-certified dealers ensures responsible handling of refrigerants and adherence to environmental regulations.
Transitioning to a new refrigerant
Switching to a different refrigerant necessitates the redesign of air conditioning systems. The latest systems integrate compressors and other components specifically engineered for use with specific refrigerants.
It’s important to note that the installation and/or servicing of these new AC units necessitate a trained technician familiar with the specific substitute refrigerants.
Smart choices for efficient cooling
Modern air conditioners prioritize both ozone-friendliness and energy efficiency.
When purchasing new AC systems, keep in mind that ENERGY STAR labelled products offer potential savings on annual heating and cooling bills.
ENERGY STAR certified room air conditioners consume 15% – 26% less energy, depending on the product class, and have an average annual operating cost of approximately $57.