Green Air Conditioning
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Air conditioners work like this. We take a liquid, put it under pressure and then pass it through a coil of pipe so that it turns into a gas. That change from liquid to gas known as a phase change releases or absorbs energy, or heat. Then we reverse the process and covert it back to a liquid and do it again. For a more detailed explanation, see this link.
So what makes an air conditioner environmentally friendly, or green? The type of refrigerant. 20 years ago, R12 was the refrigerant most commonly used. It had an ozone depleting impact of 1.0, meaning if your air conditioner leaked it really had a negative impact on the ozone. So, regulations came into play that forced the transition from R12 to R22. R22 has an impact of 0.1, a tenth of R12. That’s good, but now the regulation has been changed again and R410A is the new refrigerant being enforced. It has a impact of 0.01, a tenth of R22. In Canada, R22 is being completely phased out.
What that means to you is that if you have an air conditioner that was installed in the last 10 years, it’s a) not very environmentally friendly if it leaks, and b) not going to be cheap to fix if it breaks down. You would be wise to start considering the move to R410A. The really good news is that R410A units are not only more green, they are more efficient. That means you’ll save money on your electric bills in the hot summer month.
If you’re not sure about your old air conditioner, you would be wise to have it looked at by a trained, qualified technician before the summer begins.