Dr. Kool‘s

Where Good Neighbors and Good Servicemen Meet

AC, Only for the Rich?

Refrigerant used for cooling is known by DuPont's trade name which is Freon.

The plan is to replace all air conditioning equipment twice—first to deal with the ozone depletion problem, and then to deal with the global warming situation. Both of these so called "problems" are theoretical—neither has been proven.

Some things are rightly called "acts of God." Things like hurricanes, tornados, and the ozone layer are beyond the control of man. I believe in global warming, but I also believe in global cooling, for example the ice age. Only God knows for sure why these fluctuations occur.

This article is about the first refrigerant replacement. The second refrigerant has yet to be formulated.

Old Freon vs. New Freon
  Old Freon New Freon
Automotive AC R-12 R-134a
Household AC R-22 R-410a

The Short Story

With the old Freon, tiny refrigerant leaks were not a big problem. Each spring you could add 1-2 lbs of freon, and the system would work fine for another season.

We don't have much experience with the new Freon, but failure to repair a tiny Freon leak may be a thing of the past. If every leak has to be fixed right away, the repair expense will be considerable.

After January 1, 2010, it will be illegal to manufacture R-22 condensers. We have to face reality, and convert to R-410a equipment in a judicious manner.

Still, existing R-22 equipment should not be replaced prematurely. The old Freon should still be available for about 20 years, but the price will increase as it did for the automotive conversion that started in 1993.

It started out as Freon, and the price just kept going up. That was meant to be a joke, but when you're paying the bill, it's not funny.

Will there come a time when the title of this article, AC—ONLY FOR THE RICH? becomes a reality? Perhaps!

I have another tongue-in-cheek comment: Hey! It's possible, if you wait, you'll be able to skip the R-410a conversion, and convert directly from R-22 to the new (not yet formulated) non-global-warming refrigerant.

THE REST OF THE STORY

Theory

Old Freon (R-22 or R-12) is homogeneous, and will always maintain its chemistry. It makes no difference whether it's charged as a liquid or as a gas. New Freon (R-134a or R-410a) is a blend which will leak out selectively and fractionate. It will also fractionate if charged as a gas. Fractionation leaves the remaining refrigerant with an off-chemistry composition.

Theory Vs. Reality

My talk about fractionation and off-chemistry refrigerant could turn out to be more theoretical than practical. In actual use, the refrigerant composition might remain within working limits. In other words, the new blended refrigerants may work.

Let's go back to 1992 when the "Clean Air" Act became law. It all started with an unproved theory. The Ozone layer was in danger, and evidence was offered to prove it.

They went to the North Pole during the winter to gather evidence. Since the sun produces ozone, and there is little sunshine, it was no surprise that they found a hole.

The "ozone hole" was supposed to allow harmful UV to endanger animate life, but someone has yet to produce a fried polar bear.

Hey! We can talk about theory until doomsday, but reality is this: There's really nothing wrong with the old Freon—something you might keep in mind at election time.

It's Risky to Change Refrigerants

  • It's creating confusion in the installation, service, and repair industry. Repairmen must choose between different types of equipment, refrigerant jugs, recovery machines, storage tanks, gages, and pressure/temperature specifications.

  • There's danger of contamination—where a technician mixes refrigerants. The same fittings are used for both the old and the new Freon, and R-410a equipment is not always clearly marked as such. Sometimes the technician just isn't paying attention. Of course, the cost of correcting the contamination must be factored in.

  • The technician should always charge the new Freon as a liquid, rather than a gas, to avoid fractionation. . . but will he?

The Danger

Our highly industrialized, consumer driven way of life is entirely dependent on air conditioning and refrigeration. At stake is nothing less than our economy, and a major economic threat is the cost of the refrigerant conversion process that is now in progress.

Summary Statement

By government edict, they're trying to solve a non-existent problem, based on an unproven theory. They're using refrigerants which are costly, and will make repairs more expensive. They're introducing confusion into the AC trade.

Until we can elect the right people to office, we have no choice but to accept the refrigerant conversion that is now in progress.

Yours for Continued Koolness,

 

Dr. Kool

Dr. Kool signature

References:

The Ozone Layer Crisis—Fact or Folly?

Freon Leaks, Evaporator Coils

 

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