Does my air conditioner need gas to work?

Fast read

Air conditioners use a substance known as refrigerant, which evaporates and condenses in response to variations in pressure. Without refrigerant, the air-conditioner lacks a vital component to making its technology work. It's a bit like a plane lacking its wings. So the answer is - No. 

Do I need gas for my air conditioner to work?

In Australia, several different air conditioner models, brands, and types are available for purchase. Each model contains a separate efficiency rating and its unique features. However, one thing that all air conditioners have in common is that they need electricity and refrigerant gas

So how exactly does an AC work?

An air-conditioner takes advantage of the refrigerant, which can exist in gas and fluid conditions. The refrigerant has properties that allow it to quickly evaporate and condense to liquid when there are changes in pressure.

In a simple explanation, the compressor pressurises the refrigerant. The increased pressure causes the refrigerant to take a gaseous state packed with heat. This heat then radiates away from the condenser coils, which causes a change in state from gas to liquid.

This liquid then passes through an expansion valve which causes a drop in the liquid’s temperature causing the coils to become cold, and then the fans blow out cool air. This is why when you search ‘gas-powered air conditioner’ online, several websites appear. This is because they are not referring to natural gas-powered air-conditioners but to the refrigerant component of the air conditioner. 

As the refrigerant is a vital part of an air conditioner’s technology, should there be a leak and the refrigerant gas escapes, the air conditioner will also stop working.

installer re gassing an outdoor air conditioner unit
Leaks are the only reason why a system would need a refrigerant recharge

What do people mean when they say the air conditioner needs “re-gassing”

Another common confusion is that some people will say that your air conditioner needs gas recharging, making people wonder if their air conditioner is gas-powered. However, when someone says this, they just refer to recharging the refrigerant in the air conditioner.

In theory, your system should not need a refrigerant recharge unless there is a leak. However, if there is a leak, recharging the refrigerant can be an expensive process and such an escape is not suitable for the environment, as the refrigerant gas can add to the heating of the atmosphere and, in the past, was also linked to the depletion of the ozone layer. Therefore if discarding an air conditioner, a good air-con company will capture the refrigerant to avoid it escaping into the environment.  

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