What Happens If You Mix Air Conditioning Refrigerant Types?

The refrigerant R-22 is being phased out. It can no longer be imported or produced in the United States beginning in the year 2020. If you have an air conditioning system that currently utilized R-22, and it has developed a leak or simply needs to be topped off, you may find yourself wondering if you can mix another type of refrigerant with your current R-22 refrigerant. Unfortunately, it is not safe to do so and can cause damage to your system. Here are a few of the different types of damage it can cause. 

Your System May Overheat

One of the things that can occur if you mix various types of air conditioning refrigerant in one air conditioning unit is that your system may overheat. Different refrigerants have different sitting temperatures. The refrigerants do not mix, much like oil and water do not mix, so you can have different temperatures cycling through your unit. This confuses the unit and can cause it to overheat. This can burn out the motor, which is one of the most expensive parts to replace. 

Your System May Not Be Able to Cool as Effectively

Another problem that can occur if you mix various types of air conditioning refrigerant in one air conditioning unit is that the unit may not be able to cool as effectively. Not only is the temperature affected when you use different types of refrigerant, but the pressure within the system is also affected. With two different amounts of pressure coming from the refrigerant, your system may simply not cool as effectively as it should. 

You Can Sustain Damage to Your Compressor

Lastly, pressure-related problems can also be harmful to the compressor in your air conditioning unit. If the refrigerant sits in the compressor, the various pressure amounts can push on the coils and can lead to them becoming misshaped or can cause them to burst. Think of taking a water bottle and partitioning it off so that some parts of the bottle are filled with water while others are not. After placing the bottle in the freezer, the parts of the bottle where the water stood may be bulged or expanded. The same happens with different pressure levels when two types of refrigerant are used. 

While it may be more expensive and a bit of hassle, if you encounter an air conditioning problem that leaves you needing more refrigerant in an air conditioning unit that already has R-22 inside of it, all of that refrigerant needs to be drained and removed before filling the unit up with a new type of refrigerant. If your unit is not cooling as effectively as it should be, contact an air conditioning system repair company today to find out if the problem may be low refrigerant levels.