Aside from electricity, air conditioners need gas refrigerants to keep you cool and comfortable. This gaseous substance absorbs the heat from the machine and readily provides refrigeration to the units and its other parts.
Freon, or R-22, was one of the first refrigerant types to be used for air conditioner units. But because of its ozone depleting properties and harmful environmental effects, it has since been discontinued for good in compliance with the United States EPA’s Clean Air Act of 2010. As a result, this refrigerant type is projected to be quickly phased out as early as 2020.
So does this mean you should go out and buy a new HV/AC system right away? Well, not exactly.
In this article, we’ll take you through a brief history of the once-famous refrigerant type to give you a better understanding of its properties and the best course of action to take with your next aircon unit.
History of Freon
Chlorofluorocarbon, or CFC, were first discovered in the 1890s. As with any early chemical discovery, the substance still had its own fair share of dangerous and flammable properties. This prompted General Motors to find a safer and more stable alternative by the 1920s. The following decade, GM and DuPont came together and formed Kinetic Chemicals to successfully produce the CFC substance known today as Freon.
CFCs have been widely used in machine refrigeration and aerosol cans. But its prominence came to a halt in 1974, when a researcher at the University of California proposed that it was depleting the ozone layer. After years of extensive research by different groups and organizations, a phaseout of CFCs were established, causing Freon to follow suit and receive the boot.
Not only does using Freon harm the Earth's ozone, but the actual manufacturing process of the substance is also known to damage the atmosphere. While Freon usage is highly restricted and regulated, older appliances are still known to emit harmful amounts of the substance.
How Does Freon Work in Air Conditioning Units?
So how exactly does Freon work in air conditioners?
The aircon is made up of an intricate system of coils and compressors. When in use, these parts all work together to produce cool and clean air. But in order to fully function, the aircon compresses the Freon or R-22, making the substance very warm and hot. The substance then moves through the coils, where it cools down and transforms into a liquid form. In this form, the cooled gaseous substance absorbs the heat from the outside air, causing it to push the cold air out.
Every aircon relies on a refrigerant to help it cool the air. So once there’s a leak in the refrigerant system, the unit will have a hard time producing cold air. Worse, it can even stop functioning altogether.
But it’s also worth noting that not all issues related to air quality cooling and performance can be pinpointed to the refrigerant. There are also cases where something as simple as a dirty aircon filter is the one causing all the problems in the air conditioning unit.
Can You Still Refill Your Freon?
While Freon has since been widely discontinued, there are still HVAC specialists and aircon service providers offering a refill service for the substance. However, industry experts still highly recommend ditching the substance and switching to a new refrigerant system to comply with the latest environmental decree. After all, it’s a small price to pay in keeping our environment healthy and safe.
Fast and Easy Gas Top-Up Service in SG
Looking for a fast and easy top-up service for your aircon? Get in touch with us here at Luce Aircon! We offer R-22 and R410A top-ups and the full suite of air conditioning services at affordable rates for every type of aircon. Contact us to book your appointment today.
Related article: How Often Should You Get an Aircon Gas Top Up Service