What is refrigerant and how does it work?

Refrigerant is a compound used to help HVAC systems with their cooling abilities. Without it, AC systems wouldn’t be able to cool anything. It runs through the copper coils of the unit and absorbs heat from the air indoors where it goes from being a gas to a liquid. The system then sends it to the outdoor unit where hot air gets blown onto the coils before expelling it to the outside. The refrigerant turns back into a gas that gets turned into cold air by another fan before being sent out into the house. The cycle then repeats.

What are additives?

Like the name suggests, an additive is a chemical that a professional can add to your HVAC systems refrigerant to boost, or even maximize AC efficiency. The idea is that this chemical will help against something called oil fouling. The oil in question comes from the circulation process of the refrigerant described in the paragraph above. It comes out of the compressor and mixes with the refrigerant. Oil Fouling occurs when a layer of that oil collects on the inside of the refrigerant piping and damages the overall efficiency of the equipment by forcing it to work harder to transfer heat through the insulation oil and then to through the metal pipe. This happens over time, but additives can help in slowing the process and even prevent it all together.

What to Invest in and Why

There are a few forms of additives, but the ones to consider is Polarized Refrigerant Oil Additives (PROAs) and Synthetic Refrigerant Additives (SRAs). These work by attaching their molecules to the refrigerant system by bonding with the interior walls and getting rid of all the built-up oil, which then restores the pipe to its intended efficiency! PROAs came first, during the 90s, and were at first frowned upon by the industry and customer alike. This was because they would slowly eat away at systems over time because the sulfuric or chlorine compounds within them. This issue has since been fixed and PROAs are still sold by such companies as Zec Lubrication, ArtiKool, and PROATEQ. Each company will be happy to let you know that their product won’t harm your system.

Then there are the SRA’s. Rather than resting on the interior of the pipes, these constantly flow through them with the refrigerant so that it mixes with the oil. Other components in the SRAs help with lubricating the oil so that it doesn’t gather on the inside mechanisms. Some of the more high-grade SRAs have an additional function that improves a refrigerants heat transfer ability by changing the boiling point and provided by such companies as ICECold and Bluemaxx.

To learn more, contact one of our experience pros here at EcoZapp. We’re always ready to chat!

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