Most air conditioning systems, including mini splits, cannot function without refrigerant fluid. Refrigerant fluid, also called cooling fluid, is a chemical compound that can easily change between the liquid and gaseous states. Air conditioners exploit the refrigerant’s chemical properties to cool interiors. The basic principle of an air conditioning system is to circulate the refrigerant in a specific direction, causing the cool air to go inside and evacuating heat to the outside.
Under normal conditions, the refrigerant fluid is designed to last for the entire system’s lifetime (10 to 15 years on average). However, if your mini split system wears out, it may develop a refrigerant leak, reducing its overall effectiveness.
Your mini split system’s type of refrigerant fluid varies, depending on the age and manufacturer. Older systems used freon-based refrigerants such as R-12, banned in 1996 under the Montreal Protocol due to their severe impact on the ozone layer.
Current-production systems, such as the Mr. Slim Mitsubishi mini split product line, mainly use R-410A. This is a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant with a certified Ozone Depletion Potential rating of 0 and approximately 20% of the global warming potential of R-12.
However, this refrigerant is scheduled for phase-down and eventual elimination by 2023. The planned replacement is R-32, a refrigerant with approximately ⅓ of the global warming potential of R-410A (about 6% that of R-12).