What is a refrigerant?
Refrigerants are substances that help to transfer heat from one place to another by contracting and expanding repeatedly. When compressed, refrigerants become very hot and release heat to their surroundings; when expanded, refrigerants become very cold and pull heat from their surroundings.
The former is useful for heating and the latter is useful for cooling. This principle can be applied in a wide variety of devices, from refrigerators to heat pumps.
Why and how do Dandelion systems use refrigerant?
Heat transfer is an important feature of your Dandelion geothermal heat pump: without refrigerants, heat from the ground would never reach your home! Refrigerants are reusable for heat transfer, so they repeatedly circulate within your closed-loop system to continuously transfer heat back and forth.
Here’s how the full process works: Closed-loop geothermal systems absorb heat by continuously circulating a mixture of water and non-toxic antifreeze through buried or submerged plastic pipes. The water-based mixture is carried into a heat exchanger, where it transfers heat to the refrigerant. The refrigerant is then boiled, vaporized, and compressed before entering a second heat exchanger. Here, the hot refrigerant gas exchanges its heat with air, which is then distributed through ductwork to heat the home.
Are refrigerants environmentally harmful?
The refrigerants used by older AC systems contain chlorine, which can contribute to the damage of the earth’s ozone layer and thereby contribute to climate change.
The invention of R-410a was a solution to the problem of ozone-depleting traditional refrigerants like R-22. R-410a does not deplete the ozone layer, and it does its job more efficiently than traditional refrigerants did. As a result, it has replaced traditional refrigerants in most commercial AC and heat pump systems today.