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.