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Insights On Mixing Different Refrigerants | AC Repair | Prescott, AZ

Some homeowners wonder, can I mix different refrigerants in my HVAC system? This question is more common nowadays, with the phaseout of freon almost complete. Some homeowners have perfectly functioning systems but are faced with refrigerant leaks. Hence, the air conditioners need to be recharged. Since R-22 is no longer being manufactured and disseminated, that’s where some Prescott, AZ homeowners seek to know whether they can recharge their air conditioners with another refrigerant on top of Freon. However, the outright answer to this question is NO. It would be best if you never mixed different refrigerants. If your system was designed to run on freon or some other coolant, you should use the same when there is a leak, and your system needs refilling. Additionally, having an AC repair technician do the refilling would be best. Continue reading to learn more about why different refrigerants shouldn’t be mixed.

What are the Effects of Mixing Different Refrigerants?

Mixing air conditioner refrigerants has many side effects on your system. As explained above, there are more than enough reasons why different coolants shouldn’t be mixed. For starters, every refrigerant has properties, such as a specific temperature-pressure chart that AC repair technicians use to reach the right charge levels. There are no refrigerant charges to refer to when mixing different refrigerants. As a result, your HVAC system won’t be properly charged, resulting in reduced system service life, overheating, and efficiency. Below are detailed reasons why you should never mix different refrigerants;

The AC Will Be Running Inefficiently

As mentioned above, recharging your HVAC system with different refrigerants will result in your system straining to cool or heat your Prescott, AZ home. This is because of the different physical and chemical properties of each refrigerant. One has a higher viscosity and thermal properties than the other. This could mean they have different boiling points and flow rates. As a result, they will not efficiently absorb the heat from the air flowing over the evaporator coils.

Additionally, the difference in the condensing temperature could impact the compressor. The net effect of all this is reduced efficiency in your HVAC system. Hence, you should enlist a professional AC repair technician if you need a refill. If your system uses Freon and is still in perfect condition, the technician can source the refrigerant from the reclaimed sources.

Your HVAC System May Overheat

Various types of coolants have different sitting temperatures and pressures. You could inadvertently cause your HVAC system to overheat. Like oil and water, different refrigerants don’t mix. As a result, this results in different temperatures cycling through the HVAC system. Unfortunately, this will result in different system elements overheating as they will struggle to push the coolant via the evaporator and condenser coils. Since the two refrigerants have different boiling points, they become gaseous at different levels. Hence, the system will have difficulty reaching the thermostat set temperatures. So, why recharge your system with a different refrigerant, knowing it will result in overheating? Remember, overheating might result in issues that will require the attention of an AC repair technician.

Compressor Damage

The other direct effect of mixing refrigerants in your HVAC system is that it could damage the compressor. Every HVAC compressor is designed with the recommended refrigerant’s physical and chemical properties in mind. Hence, any unpredictable temperatures and pressure from the refrigerant could damage the compressor. Additionally, there is a potential loss of enough oil to return to the compressor. Unfortunately, this results in additional compressor strain. The varying pressure points could push against the AC coils, causing mishaps that could result in bursting. This serious issue could mean you hire an AC repair technician to replace the coils.

Metering Device Malfunction

Mixing coolants in an air conditioning system could also result in the malfunctioning of the metering device. As mentioned, refrigerants have very different physical properties like viscosity, pressure, and thermal properties. The metering device is a thermal expansion valve that works with a particular refrigerant. Whenever you mix two refrigerants or more, their combined properties will result in different conditions than the metering device has been calibrated to handle. For instance, if two refrigerants having different boiling points are mixed, that mixture could result in a different temperature than the individual refrigerants. This results in incorrect regulation of the refrigerant. Unfortunately, this will damage the compressor or result in poor HVAC performance. Seasoned AC repair technicians in Prescott, AZ, recommend using the same refrigerant when recharging your HVAC system.

Higher Cooling Bills

Damage to the compressor, inefficiently running AC, and damage to the metering device at the end means expensive AC repairs and higher cooling costs. Hence, ensure you use the recommended refrigerant to ensure you don’t have to pay more than needed come the end of the month.

Reduced Cooling

Different refrigerants have different thermodynamic properties that affect heat transfer capabilities. Hence, mixing them will reduce their cooling efficiency as their properties might not be compatible. The change in temperature and pressure explained above can impact the compressor’s ability to compress and move the refrigerant via the system. Additionally, refrigerants have different lubrication requirements, meaning mixing them could damage the compressor. Being that a compressor is critical in cooling will reduce cooling and require AC repairs.

Is Mixing Different Refrigerants Illegal?

The EPA will not likely come banging on your door because you have mixed refrigerants. However, it doesn’t mean you should mix the coolants. The environment is under enough pressure already, even with the use of refrigerants in their purest forms. Hence, it can be done without an unscrupulous AC repair technician mixing different refrigerants. If the coolants aren’t mixed, you can reclaim and reuse or resell them for use.

Call Us!

Are You having any other doubts about your air conditioner? Contact us at One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Prescott to learn more about refrigerants or other air conditioning services. We are the best when it comes to anything to do with AC units.

See our previous post on this topic here.

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