Air Conditioner Refrigerant or
Air Conditioner Freon

Air conditioner refrigerant and human

Hvac refrigerant has known to cause health problem and are toxic to human, so don’t staying near any appliance that is leaking air conditioner freons.

What is air conditioner refrigerant?

Air conditioning refrigerant is fluid that is use in air conditioner units. This substance is what absorbs the heat from indoor units to outdoor units.

Air conditioner compressor is the components that move the hvac refrigerant from indoor units to outdoor units. However, it’s the air conditioning refrigerant jobs to absorb the heat from what places that need to be cool.

How air conditioning refrigerant absorbs or reject heat?

Air conditioner refrigerant is either in the liquid or vapor state. Hvac refrigerant can change to vapor by adding heat and can being changed to liquid by removing heat.

When a refrigerant absorbs heat there is two information come in mind. The refrigerant has to be at lower temperature then the heat, and the refrigerant is in liquid state. Since,

heat always flows from a high intensity to a low intensity.

Air Conditioner Freons – You heard of it!

Most homeowners know what air conditioner Freons is. Freons is DuPont’s brand name of hvac refrigerant.

The reason so many people are familiar with AC Freons, because it was the first brand to presented on the market. Freons is DuPont’s trade name for it air conditioning refrigerant.

Every manufacturer came with it own trade name for refrigerant, here are few:

  1. Isotron
  2. Carrene
  3. Frezone
  4. Freons
  5. Puron refrigerant

When I say hvac refrigerant, it will mean Puron, Freons, Carrene, etc. This trade name air conditioning refrigerant does the same thing. There is not a lot difference except it trade name and the types of Ac Freons.

Air conditioner refrigerant and the environment

It’s illegal to release or vent hvac refrigerant into the atmosphere!

A certify person know that. Why is it illegal?

In 1980’s scientist had done a measurement over the Antarctica region and after the measurement they discovered there was reduce in ozone in the stratospheric. This decrease in zone is known as zone hole to some people, but it not actually a hole.

There are groups of research saying that the stratospheric ozone depletion was due to the amount of air conditioner refrigerant escaped into the atmosphere.

Ozone is oxygen, which made of three atoms of oxygen. The oxygen we breathe is made up two atoms of oxygen. Ozone is made by a reaction between the oxygen we breathe and the radiation from the sun.

Some hvac refrigerant molecules are very stable and remain stable as it slowly rises to the earth’s stratosphere (it’s 7 to 30 miles above earth). This is where air conditioning refrigerant molecules react with ozone and new molecules are constructed and ozone are deplete.

In 1987, the United State, Canada, and other countries agreed to control the amount of hvac refrigerant being produce. This agreement among nations to control the amount of air conditioner refrigerant is known as Montreal Protocol.

In air conditioner industry there are five categories of HVAC refrigerant you’ll probably heard of:

    CFC refrigerants
  1. HCFC refrigerants
  2. HC refrigerants
  3. HFC refrigerants
  4. Blend refrigerants

CFC Refrigerants:

CFC refrigerant are made of chlorine, fluorine, and carbon. CFC’s are danger to the environment due to it stable chemical structure. When a CFC’s refrigerant reach the stratosphere, the ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes the CFC to separate and release chlorine.

Once chlorine had been released, it would react with the ozone and causes the ozone to break down. Stratosphere ozone prevents excessive amount of the sun’s ultraviolet rays from reaching the earth. Excessive among of ultraviolet radiation cause damage to human, the planet, and marine organism.

There are two atmospheres that are important to remember:

  • The troposphere (ground level to 7 miles above earth)
  • The stratosphere (7 to 30 miles above earth)

After 1995, all the air conditioner freons in the CFC groups are not allow to manufactured or imported to the United State. However, some CFCs refrigerants are still use in light commercials refrigeration system.

Here are air conditioning refrigerant that important:

  • R-12
  • R-113
  • R-11
  • R-114
  • R-115
  • R-502

HCFC Refrigerants:

The second groups of AC Freons are HCFC. HCFC refrigerants are made up hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine, and carbon. HCFC refrigerant was made to replace CFC refrigerant. However, it still has a small amount of chlorine in them.

HCFC refrigerant is less stable in the atmosphere due to a hydrogen compound. It’ll break down in the atmosphere and released the chlorine before it reaches the stratosphere.

These groups of air conditioner refrigerant will be phase out by 2030 or early. It can’t be manufactured or imported to the United State by 2030.

Here is HCFC Freons:

  • R-22 refrigerant
  • R-123
  • R-124
HFC Refrigerants:

This 3rd group of refrigerants it’s called hydrogenated fluorocarbon refrigerant or HFC. It made of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon.

HFC refrigerant doesn’t have a chlorine atom and they are considering safe for the environment. It stills contributes to globe warming. It was design to replace air conditioner refrigerant that contains chlorine in near future.

Here are few HFC refrigerants:

  • R-134A
  • R-125
  • R-23

HC Refrigerants:

This air conditioner Freon is made up hydrogen and carbon. It doesn’t have a chlorine or fluorine in it compound. It’s considered safe to the environment also.

Refrigerant Blends:

Blends refrigerant is a mixture of two or more hvac refrigerant. Blends refrigerant can be CFC based, HFC based, or the combination of both types of air conditioner refrigerant.

Here are few blends refrigerants:

  • R-500
  • R-503
  • R-410A

The Three R’s – Recovery – Recycling – Reclamation

This three’s R is important for beginners to remember. Well, according to the Clean Air Act of 1990 and I’ll quote from EPA. “Knowingly vent or otherwise release or dispose of any substance used as a refrigerant in such an appliance in a manner which permits such substance to enter the environment.” This Act was effective July 1, 1992.

This Act tells HVAC technician or anyone, who is certify to buy air conditioner refrigerant that it’s illegal to vent or disposal of air conditioner Freon without the properly procedure. The penalty is up to $500,000 fine and 5 years imprisonment.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in charge of making rule and regulate refrigerant. I’ll quote directly from EPA’s definition of refrigerant reclamation, refrigerant recovery, and refrigerant recycling.

Refrigerant recovery – “To remove refrigerant in any condition from a system and store it in an external container without necessarily testing or processing it in any way.”

Refrigerant recycling –“To clean the hvac refrigerant by oil separation and single or multiple passes through devices, such as replaceable core filter driers, which reduce moisture, acidity and particulate matter. This term usually applies to procedures implemented at the job site or at a local services shop.”

Refrigerant reclaim –“To process refrigerant to new product specifications by mean which may include distillation. It will require chemical analysis of the refrigerant to determine that appropriate product specifications are met.

This term usually implies the use of processes or procedures available only at a reprocessing or manufacturing facility.”

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