You are wondering if you can mix different types of refrigerants in your air conditioning system. With the R22 phase out in 2020 due to its environmental impact, this is a common question for those looking to upgrade their system or change the refrigerant in their system. The answer is no, refrigerants should not be mixed. There are several reasons why mixing refrigerants should not be done. At LA Construction, Heating and Air we do the right thing for our customers which means never cutting corners.
Why Would a Contractor Mix Refrigerants?
There are a couple of reasons why a technician or contractor may mix refrigerants in your AC system. One could be due to cost, as a jug of R22 could cost as much 3-4 times that of other refrigerant types. Another reason could be due to a technician being misinformed, failing to realize that they should not simply “top off” a system with a replacement refrigerant without checking the refrigerant type. The correct way would be fully recover, evacuate and then replace the refrigerant entirely if using a replacement refrigerant. Before you agree to ac repair, be sure to check what refrigerant they will be using for your AC system.
What Happens to Your AC System if You Mix Refrigerants?
Mixed refrigerants can cause increased system pressures and temperatures changing them for the worse. This can result in ineffective compressor cooling and possible compressor damage, ineffective cooling, and metering device malfunction. Different types of refrigerants are not meant to be mixed. In order to properly reach the correct refrigerant charge the refrigerant’s respective pressure –temperature chart is used. If refrigerants are mixed there is no chart to refer to. This means the refrigerant cannot be properly charged resulting in overheating and reduced system efficiency and lifespan.
The AC System May Overheat
If you mix refrigerants your air conditioning unit may overheat. Like mentioned above, different refrigerants have different sitting temperatures. Like oil and water different refrigerants do not mix, so you have different temperatures cycling through your system. This can lead your AC system to overheat and a burnt motor, a costly repair.
Mixed refrigerants cause your HVAC to work harder to cool your home resulting in a loss in AC efficiency. This will also lead to an energy cost increase.
With mixed refrigerants your AC is more susceptible to potential damage, including damage to your compressor. This is a result of unpredictable temperatures and pressures as well as a potential loss of proper oil return to the compressor adding extra strain to your compressor. The different pressure points can also push on the coils leading them to become misshapen and cause them to burst.
Against the Law
Due to the phasing out of R22 in 2020, it is illegal for a contractor to mix refrigerants. Once mixed, the refrigerant can no longer be used and must be incinerated. While it is unlikely to be prosecuted by the EPA for this, it is not a great idea. When refrigerants are not mixed they can be reclaimed and reused. Keep in mind that mixed refrigerants are not only a hazard to the environment but also pose a safety hazard to technicians.
Contact LA Construction, Heating and Air
If your unit is not cooling as well as it should contact us today online or by giving us a call 818-341-3406. Your AC may not be cooling as effectively due to low refrigerant levels. Our technicians follow guidelines and never cut corners ,they are here to help with your heating and air conditioning needs.
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