What do you need to know about air conditioning installation and the environment? If you're ready to schedule this upgrade, take a look at the top questions homeowners have answered.
Do Modern Air Conditioners Use CFCs?
Chlorofluorocarbons (or CFCs) damage the Earth's ozone layer. Even though CFCs were widely used in AC systems in the twentieth century, you won't find them in modern air conditioners. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the United States stopped making CFCs in 1995. This means a new AC purchase won't contain these ozone-damaging compounds.
Will a New AC System Use HCFCs?
After the phase-out of CFCs, air conditioner manufacturers began to use halogenated chlorofluorocarbons (or HCFCs) as a refrigerant. HCFC-22, or R-22, is still used in older AC systems. Even though many existing air conditioners still continue to use HCFC-22, it is not currently in production (in the United States).
This refrigerant is also known to impact the ozone layer. To reduce the environmental impact air conditioners have on the planet, the government began the HCFC-22 phase-out in 2010. As of 2020, production of this refrigerant is set to stop completely. While older units can still use HCFC-22 (or R-22), new air conditioners are made to work with non-ozone depleting refrigerants.
What Type of Refrigerant Will a New AC System Use?
A new air conditioning system installation gives you the chance to impact the environment — in a positive way. Instead of your home's older HCFC-containing system, your new AC unit will use an alternative refrigerant. The primary non-ozone depleting refrigerant currently in use is R-410A. This refrigerant is sold under a variety of brand names.
How Do Homeowners Know What Type of Refrigerant the AC Unit Uses?
Even though new AC systems don't use CFCs or HCFCs, it's possible your air conditioner of choice uses a non-R-410A alternative. If you want to know more about what refrigerant your air conditioner uses, talk to a professional. A qualified HVAC contractor will explain the options and help you to understand the eco-consequences of your new system's refrigerant.
Is Refrigerant the Only Environmental Issue to Consider?
While refrigerant use makes a major impact on the environment (especially if you upgrade from an older HCFC unit to a new non-ozone depleting refrigerant model), it isn't the only eco-issue to explore. Newer systems use less energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a high-efficiency AC system may reduce your home's cooling-related energy consumption by between 20 and 50 percent.
For more information, contact an air conditioning installation service.