Refrigerant. It’s one of those terms you’ve likely heard before. You probably have an idea of what it is, and maybe even a very basic understanding of how it works, but that’s probably where your knowledge ends.
You may have even had a handyman or misleading professional tell you at some point that refrigerant needs to be refilled (what we in the HVAC industry call recharged) once a year—this isn’t true. If your system is losing refrigerant, it means you have a leak that must be repaired before being recharged. Ideally, your air conditioner is supplied with enough refrigerant upon installation to last its entire lifespan.
If you have an older system (10 years +) chances are very likely that it has refrigerant in it called R22. This type of refrigerant is being phased out due to its harmful effects on the environment, particularly its ozone-depleting properties.