How Air Conditioners Work

Everyone loves coming home to a nice, cool air-conditioned house on a hot summer day. Have you ever wondered how air conditioning actually works?


How is R22 refrigerant used to cool air?
R22 marketed under brand names including Freon®, is the most common refrigerant used in air conditioning systems. R22 gas is held under pressure inside an air conditioner’s heat exchange coils, which are typically separated into two sections: a condenser coil and an evaporator coil. A compressor is used to create a pressured difference between the two coils, circulating the refrigerant through the system.

Refrigerant passes through the evaporator coil where it expands, absorbing heat from the warm air inside your home as it is circulated past. The refrigerant is then pumped out to the condenser coil, where it is compressed, releasing its heat. In this way, the system moves heat from inside your home and release it outside.

Why is R22 being phased out, and what will it mean for homeowners?
The Environmental Protection Agency has required manufacturers to completely phase out the production of R22 by 2020. As a result, supplies have become more limited, and the price has risen from less than $10 per pound in 2010 to over $50 per pound and more today, in some cases.

Even simple air conditioning repairs may cost significantly more as a result. Technicians commonly add 1-2 pounds of refrigerant on a routine service call. A more complicated repair or replacement can add up to 10 pounds. As you can see, the cost can add up quickly.

How is American Home Shield addressing the increased cost of R22?
In order to accommodate customers’ coverage needs while keeping our plans affordable, AHS has included a $10 per pound limit on refrigerant on all new or recently renewed contracts. If a homeowner requires refrigerant, AHS will cover the first $10 for each pound of refrigerant, and the homeowner will be responsible for the remainder.

As always, you can count on professional care from our contractors if your air conditioner needs service. They’ll diagnose the problem, determine what’s needed to restore your unit to working order and advise you of any non-covered charges for which you may be responsible.

Our goal is to provide reliable, trusted service while helping shield our customers from high repair costs. If you have any questions regarding the refrigerant phase-out and its impact on our policies, visit