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Do New AC Units Come With Refrigerant? Everything You Need to Know

Do new Air conditioning units come with Refrigerant?

As summer temperatures rise, you may be considering investing in a new, energy-efficient air conditioner. When shopping for a new system, one common question comes up – do new AC units come pre-loaded with refrigerant or will it need to be added later? The answer depends on the type of cooling system. Keep reading for an in-depth guide on what to expect with refrigerant and different AC unit types.

What is Refrigerant and Why Does Your AC Need It?

First, let’s start with the basics – what is refrigerant and why is it vital for air conditioning systems? Refrigerant is a specially formulated chemical compound that easily transitions between liquid and gas. As it cycles through an AC system, it acts as a heat transfer agent.

Specifically, refrigerant absorbs ambient heat as it passes through indoor evaporator coils. As it absorbs this heat, the refrigerant condenses from a gas into a high-pressure liquid. The liquid refrigerant is then pumped outside into the condenser coil, where heat releases into the external environment. This causes the refrigerant to turn back into a gas so the cycle can repeat. The heat transfer process is what provides the cooling sensation of AC.

Without the right refrigerant type and proper recharge levels, an AC won’t be able to provide efficient cooling. So refrigerant is an essential chemical needed for heat absorption and dissipation in all air conditioning units.

Split System Air Conditioners

Split system units are the most common AC type used in modern homes. With split system air conditioners, there is an outdoor condenser cabinet that houses the compressor, condenser coil, and other components. This connects via piping to a separate indoor evaporator unit with its own blower fan.

The good news is split systems come pre-charged with refrigerant straight from the factory – everything needed for cooling will be ready upon professional installation. The refrigerant amount is precisely calculated for optimal efficiency with that specific AC model and size. Popular options like R-410A are non-ozone-depleting formulas designed for new equipment. Overall, split ACs takes the guesswork out of refrigerant charging.

Package Unit Air Conditioners

Package AC systems have all components, including compressor, coils, and fans, consolidated into one large outdoor metal box. They are often mounted on rooftops or concrete pads outside commercial buildings, warehouses, schools, etc.

With package units, refrigerant is not pre-loaded at the factory like split system ACs. Qualified HVAC technicians will need to manually charge the refrigerant level during package unit installations. The type and amount of refrigerant charge is calculated based on factors like the box dimensions, system capacity, piping lengths to the building, and local building codes. It requires specialized equipment and expertise.

Window Air Conditioning Units

Another option is room window air conditioners – these compact units are made to fit inside the window frame to cool a single room. Compared to large split systems and package units, window ACs are relatively basic and self-contained.

Window air conditioners do not ship pre-charged with refrigerant. Typically the installation guide will specify the refrigerant type and recommended charge based on the unit capacity – R-410a is common. Upon setting up each new window AC, an HVAC technician can recharge it with the precise amount of refrigerant needed for maximum efficiency before use.

Maintaining Proper Refrigerant Levels in Your AC System

While new split system ACs come pre-loaded, refrigerant leaks can still occur over months or years of use – due to loose fittings, corrosion, faulty parts, or accidents. Low refrigerant reduces cooling capabilities and increases energy bills. HVAC experts recommend getting annual maintenance checks, which include assessing refrigerant levels. A technician can top off the refrigerant if low. This ensures your AC continues performing efficiently for years to come.

George Pinel
George Pinel

Master Plumber

I have been involved in this family owned business for 33 years now.

It has always been and will continue to be the core focus of Instant Plumbing & Heating to provide a long lasting relationship with our customers based on trust and integrity of our service and products.

This achieved by using the best quality materials. I as a business owner continue to mentor and treat my staff with the highest regard and respect, this interns helps them deliver to the client great quality workmanship and service.

It is our professional goal to leave a situation better than when we arrived both in how we do our work and in how you feel for having chosen us to do your work, we are in the anxiety reduction business using plumbing and heating service work to do it.

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