CFCs have been used in refrigeration and aerosol cans for many years, but in 1974, a researcher at the University of California hypothesized that CFCs were destroying the ozone layer. In such systems, a mixture of chemicals known as a refrigerant is contained in liquid form under pressure, and when that mixture is pumped into a region of lower pressure, it expands and changes phase into a gas, absorbing nearby heat before being pumped to a different location. What is Freon made of? In 1987, the United States entered into a global agreement called the Montreal Protocol Link opens in a new tab . Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. Refrigerant poisoning can occur if a person inhales or consumes the chemicals — also known by the brand name of Freon — from cooling appliances, … It’s the key to absorbing and removing heat from a space. We use Freon because it has a rather useful property that is important to the air conditioning industry – it creates a cooling effect when it evaporates. Refrigerant is a chemical that produces a cooling effect while expanding or vaporizing. R-134A is made of a single component and is not blended like most R-12 and R-22 alternatives are. Most household air conditioning units work by using a vapor-compression refrigeration system. Examples are R-22 and R-410A, both used heavily in the HVAC industry although people are in the process of changing to R-410A (known as Puron, which will not deplete the ozone layer). Freon is the name of a registered patent for a commercial refrigerant manufactured by DuPont. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. specialist who may utilize auto-dial technology to contact you, even if the number you provided is on a do The good news is that new air conditioning systems made since 2010 no longer rely on Freon. Freon and other refrigerants are short lived though, because there are new and exciting technologies which will be hitting the air conditioning industry in the next few years which are completely safe for the environment, and the great part is that they also lower your electric bill by around 40 to 80 percent! Through the 1980s, Freon™ was used in a wide variety of applications, until growing evidence suggested that it was contributing to damage in the ozone layer which protects the Earth. 5 Tips You Must Know When Choosing an HVAC Contractor. Types of refrigerant: R22 How Freon works. Kind of scary when you think about it, but how often do we look back at how things used to be done and cringe? They are extremely stable, inert compounds. I would wager that most licensed contractors do this properly, but just so you’re in the know, it wasn’t always done this way. R22 refrigerant, sometimes known as R22 Freon or HCFC-22 Freon, is an environmental danger because it contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer. not call registry. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Without refrigerant, there would be no air conditioning, refrigeration or freezing technology.Air conditioners contain refrigerant inside copper coils. The use of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in aerosol-spray propellants was banned beginning in the late 1970s in places such as the United States, Canada, and Scandinavia. Naval Aviator 2005-2015. It facilitates easy retrofitting in which the technician simply recovers the R-22, replaces critical seals, charges the Freon™ MO99™ refrigerant, and monitors for leaks. The use of Freons in aerosol-spray containers was banned in the United States in the late 1970s. “Freon” is simply a brand name owned by DuPont chemicals. As In the mid-1970s, photochemical dissociation of Freons and related CFCs was implicated as a major cause of the apparent degradation of Earth’s ozone layer. Heat Pump Temperature Ranges. Updates? Freon is the cooling agent used in most air conditioning systems. The University of Virginia - 2005 / The Wharton School of Finance - 2016 / U.S. Many working fluids have been used for such purposes. So, now we know that Freon is just a common term used to refer to a commercial AC refrigerant. By submitting this form, you consent to receive a call, email, or text from a How to Fix Your Iced Up Air Conditioner, What Size Central Air Conditioner Do I Need for My House? The harvesting of Freon is not a challenging task, but there are a lot of “old-school” contractors who just let it vent into the atmosphere. The gas is then recompressed and this process begins a… I am sad to say that the HVAC industry is probably one of the worst offenders in the construction industry. This report will tell you exactly I remember what it was like when I started in the HVAC industry and I felt like people were speaking a foreign language – a language I didn’t understand. a brand name for any of a class of liquid or gaseous fluorocarbon or chlorofluorocarbon products, used chiefly as refrigerants. The Freons are colourless, odourless, nonflammable, noncorrosive gases or liquids of low toxicity that were introduced as refrigerants in the 1930s; they also proved useful as propellants for aerosols and in numerous technical applications. Click Here to See If You Are in ASM’s Service Area. In most cycles it undergoes phase transitions from a liquid to a gas and back again. Joking aside, this means that it is slightly toxic though, which I will address below, but that it is chemically stable and will not react when mixed with other substances. Converting to Freon™ MO99™ also: how much the units will cost, and the Don’t be afraid to contact ASM with any additional questions you might have – we are always happy to help with any of your air conditioning or heating needs. fair rate you should spend for the total project. For more on choosing the right AC contractor, read 5 Tips You Must Know When Choosing an HVAC Contractor. we will generate a comprehensive report for you. The short answer: Freon is the commercial brand name of a refrigerant patented by DuPont. This also means that when people ask “what is Freon gas,” they should instead be asking, “what is refrigerant and what is it made of?”. The name Freon is a trademark registered by E.I. Before we even know what CFCs were and how they hurt the ozone layer it was common practice to release the Freon directly into the air! Freon (R22 refrigerant or hydrochlorofluorocarbon [HCFC-22]) is a coolant that was commonly used in air conditioning systems until 2004. Most residential air-conditioning units contain the standard R-22 refrigerant, or freon. Back in the lab, a new refrigerant was developed, tetrafluoroethane. Symptoms can vary depending on the extent of the Freon exposure, but even a small amount of exposure can cause serious symptoms in humans. Breathing air that is contaminated with Freon can cause respiratory difficulties, organ damage and, in some cases, death. Try our online calculator; click the tab on the top of this page for more information. Freon is the name of a registered patent for a commercial refrigerant manufactured by DuPont. Freon is a halocarbon that cycles through your A/C. Freon is a tasteless, mostly odorless gas. Be an Insider, and Get Your HVAC-Facts Report Before You Talk to a Contractor. This refrigerant remained popular until it was found to be damaging to the planet’s protective ozone layer. Freon™ MO99™ significantly lowers discharge temperatures, which may extend compressor life. Chloro-what? Freon is a colorless, non-flammable substance, but if it's leaking, then it can smell like fresh-cut grass. Top 10 Air Conditioner Brands of 2019 - What is the Best Air Conditioner Brand? "Freon" is a commonly known brand of refrigerant, though it is not a descriptive or generic term. Corrections? Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Simply put, our results speak for themselves, and we'd be happy to help. The most important members of the group have been dichlorodifluoromethane (Freon 12), trichlorofluoromethane (Freon 11), chlorodifluoromethane (Freon 22), dichlorotetrafluoroethane (Freon 114), and trichlorotrifluoroethane (Freon 113). Examples include R-12, often used in refrigerators, and R-22 (also called HCFC-22), used in home air conditioning units. See more about how it does this in How does an air conditioner work?