Cleaning Up Coolants: How These Choices Can Change the World

Cleaning Up Coolants: How These Choices Can Change the World

Air conditioners have only been gaining immense popularity all over the world. 

As you enjoy this blissful cooling comfort, have you thought about what expense it comes at?

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. 

Air conditioner refrigerants are harmful and toxic to our precious Earth, but you can make conscious efforts to reduce their environmental impacts. 

This starts from taking a good look at the refrigerant that your air conditioner uses, and how you can opt to use a refrigerant that’s better for the world. 

Today, coolants are being actively phased out throughout the world, and in Singapore as well, as the government moves to taking on a stronger environmentally friendly stance. 

Let’s discuss how your choice today can help bring about a better tomorrow!

The History of Refrigerants 

Refrigerants have existed since the 18th century. 

For about a decade, people used toxic gases like ammonia and sulfur dioxide as refrigerants for refrigerators. In 1928, the revolutionary Freon compound was created by Thomas Midgley, Jr. and Charles Franklin Kettering. 

Freon is the combination of various chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and it soon became the standard for nearly all home kitchens then. Since it’s non-toxic, it eliminated the danger refrigerant leaks used to pose. 

Back then, people didn’t realise that CFCs caused significant damage to the ozone layer - today, Freon is infamous as a huge contributor to the reduction of the world’s ozone shield. 

Soon after, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) took over as a replacement for CFCs. Despite being less harmful, HFCs quickly became another issue because of their heat-trapping effect that exacerbates global warming. 

Harmful Refrigerants 

CFCs that leaked from discarded equipment were found to stay in the atmosphere for a long time. They gradually reach the stratosphere where they’re eliminated by the sun’s UV radiation. However, as CFCs break down, they produce chlorine that reacts with the protective ozone layer and allows toxic radiation to pass the earth’s surface. 

HFCs are like CFCs, but significantly more reactive to air, which means that they don’t reach the earth’s stratosphere and damage its radiation shield. 

However, their molecular structure causes them to take in plenty of thermal radiation and become a greenhouse gas. This causes HFCs to contribute to global warming. 

Modern Replacements 

The world is shifting to using R32 refrigerants. We can also make more conscious choices if we see that our air conditioners are old and inefficient, or if they use older refrigerants. 

For example, we can choose a Toshiba R32 air conditioner, which may sometimes also be called a Toshiba R32 Inverter air conditioner that’s extremely energy efficient and energy saving. 

While you may not see the immediate effects of your decision right after switching your air conditioner, it goes a long way in helping our precious earth stay afloat. 

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