Refrigerant evacuation is a common service performed by heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) technicians. Air conditioning systems and heat pumps rely on refrigerant to transfer heat. Air conditioning systems use it to move heat from the inside of a home to the outside. Heat pumps use refrigerant to move heat from the inside to the outside or vice versa, depending on whether they are in heating or cooling mode.
Whether you’re getting your existing air conditioning system or heat pump serviced, or if you’re looking to install a new system, refrigerant evacuation may be required. It’s a common service performed by HVAC technicians. What is refrigerant evacuation, and why is it necessary?
Overview of Refrigerant Evacuation
Refrigerant evacuation is an HVAC service that’s designed to remove all contaminants from the refrigerant passages in an air conditioning system or heat pump. It involves the use of a vacuum machine.
During a refrigerant evacuation service, an HVAC technician will connect a vacuum machine to the system. When activated, the vacuum machine will use negative pressure to suck out contaminants like air, moisture and nitrogen.
Degassing and Dehydration
There are two stages in refrigerant evacuation: degassing and dehydration. Degassing, as the name suggests, involves the removal of all gas from the refrigerant passages. Dehydration, in comparison, involves the removal of all moisture from the refrigerant passages. Degassing occurs first, followed by dehydration.
Reasons for Refrigerant Evacuation
When an air conditioning system or heat pump is serviced, it may require refrigerant evacuation. Refrigerant is designed to operate in a sealed, enclosed environment. Air conditioning systems and heat pumps should only contain refrigerant in their refrigerant passages. When a system is serviced, the HVAC technician may have to breach this otherwise sealed environment, thereby allowing contaminants to enter the refrigerant passages.
Refrigerant evacuation will remove contaminants from the refrigerant lines. Even if air or moisture entered the lines when the system was being serviced, this vacuum-based process will remove the contaminants.
New air conditioning systems and heat pumps often require refrigerant evacuation. Proper installation requires purging the refrigerant passages of all contaminants. If a new air conditioning system or heat pump contains contaminants, it may perform poorly. Even if the contaminants don’t affect its performance, though, they will expose the system to increased wear and tear. Refrigerant evacuation prevents problems such as these by removing contaminants from the refrigerant passages.