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The Environmental Drawbacks of Using Refrigerants

earth temperatureThe refrigeration cycle is one by which we can regulate climatic conditions to our liking. The cycle follows the idea of using a refrigerant and utilising this to cool heated air, thereby releasing cold air into the surrounding area. As such, many refrigeration systems have been introduced since the first one was invented by Willis Carrier in 1902. Nowadays, most homes utilise at least one form of refrigeration, may it be in the form of a fridge, a thermostat, or an air conditioning unit. All these systems have refrigerants that work on circulating hot air and turn it into cooler air.

A listing of Eoc Services Heat pumps shows that most of these systems available nowadays go through a certification by environmental bodies before they are allowed to go out to consumers. This is because, when refrigerants were first invented, they were a mix of Chlorofluorocarbons, commonly called CFCs. At the time, it was not estimated as to how they reacted with our environment. CFCs contain carbon, chlorine, hydrogen and fluorine, and are formed by a combination of methane and ethane. They were widely used in refrigerants and aerosol based utilities, like shaving foam.

Throughout the 1960s and 70s, CFCs and their derivatives were used in a wide variety of industries. Bromofluoroalkanes, which are a variant of chloroalkanes like CFCs, were used widely for their use as fire-retarding materials. By the 1980, bromofluoroalkanes were being used on aircraft carriers, office buildings and most other venues. It was not understood at the time as to what effect these chemicals were causing by reacting with our natural environment. Although it was theorised that CFCs might be a detriment to our current environment, bromofluoroalkanes were never under scrutiny, as they were thought to cause no side-effects.

A study by James Lovelock in 1971 first discovered the amount of CFCs that were being released into the environment. He went on to measure that CFC-11, which was the most common variant of CFCs, could be found all over the world, even in Antarctica and the Arctic. Mr. Lovelock also found that, although there were higher amounts of CFC-11 in the environment, the low reactive nature of these chemicals did not cause any immediate harm to the environment. In 1974, based on the work that was done by Mr. Lovelock, research scientists Sherry Rowland and Mario Molina went down to Antarctica to conduct field tests to verify the claim that CFCs do not cause any harm to the environment.

It was then discovered that the low reactivity of these chemicals was the factor that was also the most detrimental. It was conclusively found that, over time, CFCs would gravitate to the higher reaches of the environment and cause significant harm to the ozone layer. It was found that under the sun’s radioactive emissions, these molecules would break their bonds and react with the ozone layer. As a result, all CFCs were banned, and alternates were found that were safer to use and did not cause any detrimental effects.

Tina is a freelance writer and has written many articles on the advantages of clean energy, and how they can be used to conserve our ecosystem. She recommends the cooling systems like those offered by Eoc Services Air Source Heat pumps Norfolk.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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