Refrigerant gasses are a really great thing. By cleverly exploiting their properties at various pressures and temperatures, we can keep ourselves cool and comfortable in summer, warm and cozy in winter, our food fresh longer, and dehumidify our air. These gasses are however, required to be handled in very specific ways by trained and certified professionals.
Getting To Know Your Coolants
The first refrigerant gasses used were CFC’s (Chlorofluorocarbons) and HCFC’s (Hydrofluorocarbons). They were very effective as refrigerant gasses and as such were used extensively in every application that required a refrigerant gas. Freezers. Refrigerators. Chillers. HVAC systems. Dehumidifiers. All of them used the gasses.
The only trouble with the CFCs and HCFCs was that we quickly learned they were depleting our ozone layer. In fact it got so bad that it burned a hole right through it. That was a very unfortunate thing to have happen. The ozone layer is an essential part of keeping life going on Planet Earth. That layer of Ozone is exceptionally good at blocking out nearly all of the ultraviolet radiation our sun beams straight to us as its supply of hydrogen undergoes nuclear fusion.
Why It’s Important To Properly Handle Your Coolant
That layer of ozone is what keeps us from not merely just getting sunburned, but from getting radiation poisoning and malignant melanoma. Obviously, this is something we want to keep intact. Your HVAC tech is on the forefront of helping to keep that layer intact and to heal it. For one, they deal with new refrigerants that have negligible effects on the ozone layer. Secondly, during servicing of any HVAC system, they make sure that no gas is vented into the atmosphere, that it is collected using approved equipment, and stored and transported using DOT-approved containers. All of this and the specialized training and EPA certifications they have help to ensure that our environment isn’t damaged any further and has a chance to heal.
Once the refrigerant is collected it can either be recycled or sent to a facility for destruction. Recycling is the more common option as it makes more economic sense. The refrigerant can be sold to the facility, then it is cleaned and purified, and after it can be resold for use in HVAC systems. There are any number of refrigerants that are no longer being manufactured and as such their supply is limited. So long as they are not on the list of illegal refrigerants, they are always recycled.
How It’s Destroyed
If however the refrigerant cannot be used in any HVAC system, it will have to be destroyed. Specialized technique must be used to destroy the refrigerant to an EPA-specified 99.999% destruction rate. The companies that handle this will use any one of a number of methods to destroy it, but the preferred method is quickly becoming radio frequency plasma destruction. (Sounds neat, doesn’t it?) The only byproducts of that method are salt and water.
Simply the Best AC & Heating cares about the environment and as such all of our HVAC technicians are trained and certified to meet all of the regulatory requirements. You can rest easy knowing that our technicians are working in environmentally-friendly ways when servicing your HVAC system. If your system is in need of service, don’t hesitate to give us a call!