Air Conditioning and the Environment

A primary concern for any maintenance inspection of an air-conditioning unit is whether or not there is a refrigerant leak. People may wonder why this is so important and it has a lot to do with a safe environment. Refrigerant has properties that may be detrimental.

Trouble With The Ozone

Much the environmental danger is concerned with the ozone. A measure of the threat to the ozone layer is the Ozone Depletion Potential or ODP. The less value registered by the ODP, less of a threat refrigerant is to the environment. Another measure is the Global Warming Potential, or GWP. The lower value registered by the GWP the safer for the environment is the refrigerant.

There is a chlorofluorocarbon compound known as R11. This has both a high ODP and high GWP. Refrigerants are measured against R11, with R11 having an ODP of one. This is a critical for determining whether the refrigerant is safe or not.

Various Refrigerants

There are quite a few refrigerants used and they have different ODP and GWP ratings. Refrigerants such as R134A, R407C, R410A and R417A are safe refrigerants to use and some alternative refrigerants that can be in an air conditioner include R290. All of these do not pose a threat to the ozone layer, but a refrigerant leak still is something that does require attention as soon as possible. The possibility the one of the older air-conditioning units may have a refrigerant with a high ODP is reason enough to attend to the problem immediately.

Refrigerant leak maintenance is not really a good do-it-yourself project. It is far better to have people who are experienced and trained in dealing with these compounds, because an HVAC technician would have the proper equipment to deal with the situation successfully. Preserving the environment has become increasingly more important part of HVAC technology and practice. The idea is to provide as much air conditioning or heating service to make a residence comfortable while the same time leaving as little an impression on the ecology as is practicable.

Heat Pumps for Mild Weather

Heat pumps provide the best energy efficiency if they are the right model for a given environment. A geothermal heat pump in mild weather does the job, but it isn’t really necessary for a location where temperatures are ordinarily above freezing. The best heat pump service in a warm or hot climate comes from and air – source heat pump.

How They Operate

There is a compressor and two coils within the heat pump along with aluminum fins to facilitate the movement of heat. The refrigerant in the outer coils will pull heat from the environment and evaporate it. The inner coils let out heat from the refrigerant as it goes back into a liquid state. The latest models of air – source heat pumps have thermostatic expansion valves and improve coil design to be more efficient. They also may have a split system where there is one coil indoors and one outside of the house. Depending on the need, cool or warm air comes from the ductwork which will pass through a wall or even the roof of the house.

The air – source heat pump works best with temperatures above 40°F and those with a demand – defrost control will reduce the amount of energy used to defrost the coils. Any heat pump is placed outside should have a means of obstructing the wind which could either be a fence or shrubbery. Overall, the heating efficiency an air – source heat pump is determined by the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) and the cooling efficiency is determined by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)

Air – source heat pumps are becoming even more efficient with advances in technology. Currently, an all climate heat pump is being perfected that has a chance of reducing energy costs by as much as 60% depending on circumstances. Air – source heat pumps provide a great deal of energy efficiency in the warmer climates, and that optimal use of energy is reflected in substantially lower utility bills.