If you have a problem with your heat pump, before you call for repairs, one of the first things you may hear from friends is that your Freon needs a recharge. But do heat pumps even run on Freon, and is this a common issue? Discover what Freon is, whether your heat pump uses it, and how to tell if it’s low.

Are There Different Types of Freon?

The first thing to know is that Freon is just a brand of gas refrigerant produced by a subsidiary of DuPont Chemical Corporation. Many varieties of refrigerant fall under the label of Freon, including those made from halocarbon, chlorofluorocarbon, and hydrofluorocarbon gases. In other words, not all refrigerants are Freon, but all Freon-brand products are refrigerants.

The Montreal Protocol of 1987 began regulating certain types of refrigerants because they were discovered to cause ozone depletion. If you’ve used an AC or heat pump in the last 10 years, you’ve probably seen the phasing out of R-22 and, more recently, R-410. As of 2023, R-454b is the refrigerant that all new systems will use. R-454b comes in many brands, including Freon, but what matters for your system is the type of refrigerant—not the brand.

Why Refrigerant Is Important to Heat Pumps

Refrigerant is critical to your system’s operation. Inside the heat pump, refrigerant gas goes through a cycle of expansion and compression, generating the heat that eventually gets vented into your home.

How to Tell if Your Heat Pump’s Refrigerant Is Low

Routine professional maintenance is the easiest way to keep an eye on your refrigerant levels. Your system is designed to be sealed, so the only way for refrigerant to decrease over time is through a leak. Here are some signs of low refrigerant:

  • Frozen interior and exterior coils
  • Leaking fluid
  • Ineffective performance
  • Gurgling sounds
  • Rising energy costs

Residents and businesses around Dickinson have turned to Mackey Services to keep their indoor temperatures regulated for more than 30 years. Our expertly trained technicians provide heating and air conditioning installation, repair, and maintenance along with a full range of electrical services. Call today to schedule your heat pump maintenance or repair with one of our knowledgeable technicians.

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