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Portable Air Conditioners, the Green Movement, and Change

Current Refrigerant: R-22

chlorofluorocarbons

Refrigerants are the substances inside air conditioners that allow them to make air instantly cold. Conventionally, the refrigerant called R-22 was used in all air conditioning units. The problem is that R-22 emits hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

HCFCs have been found to significantly deplete the ozone layer. This is of great consequence because atmospheric ozone is Earth's primary defensefrom damaging ultraviolet light. R-22 is a harmful substance for the health of the Earth and every living thing on it.

To protect the Earth changes need to be made, and one of those changes is the coolant being manufactured in air conditioners.

Why It's Important for All of Us

If all of the ozone disappears, all UV light from the Sun will hit Earth directly. This would result in a doomsday scenario: sea levels would rise due to thermal expansion and the melting of polar ice caps, decimating all coastal infrastructures.

This would heat the planet so much that life could not be sustained; literally every animal, plant, and living thing would become endangered and would quickly die out. It's in our best interest to switch to a less toxic refrigerant.

International Consensus is In: Switch to R-410A

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The scientific evidence against R-22 is so overwhelming, industrialized nations and the air-conditioning industry have worked together to find an alternative. 

  • Legislation : the U.S. and the European Union have legally banned R-22 and other substances that deteriorate the ozone
  • Manufacturers : Air conditioning manufacturers must create models that use R-410A efficiently
  • Contractors : Must learn how to work with and install new central and window air conditioners with R-410A, requiring new training and tools

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has conducted its own studies, and has concluded that a more environmentally conscious approach is necessary.

Under the Montreal Protocol, the U.S. and the European Union have been working towards phasing out the use of all substances that deplete the atmospheric ozone. Refrigerant manufacturers stopped producing R-22 in 2010.

This means any air conditioning unit purchase in 2010 or later will feature R-410A or another non-toxic alternate refrigerant.

What Makes R-410A Portable Air Conditioners Better

Newer portable air conditioner models using R-410A are better for these reasons:

 R-22 R-410A
Efficiency R-410A has been proven to be more efficient at cooling
Leaks Destroys Ozone No Ozone Damage
Lubrication Mineral oil: Less soluble with R-22 Synthetic: More efficient and smooth
Safety Both refrigerants have been found to be equally safe

 

Why Make the Switch

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Besides being carbon-neutral, having the newest technology ensures that maintenance will be easier in the future.

The EPA predicts that by 2015, supplies of R-22 will become very scarce because it will no longer be produced after 2010 on a global scale.

Although R-22 will be recycled and reusable in limited quantities, it will be less readily available and the price will be inflated. By switching to a system that operates on R-410A, maintenace and repairs will be easier. R-22 will be a rare, obsolete substance.

R-22 is currently less expensive than R-410A, which is because it isn't mainstream enough to be mass produced. There are always costs associated with environmentalism and phase-shifts in technology, in this case it is worth it to invest in the up-and-coming model.

Buying a model with R-22 would be like purchasing a tape cassette player. It makes no sense to buy an older option when CD or MP3 players are available. Air conditioners that use R-410A are quickly becoming the industry standard.

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