Refrigerant Gas Tracking: The importance of AC/HVAC system maintenance

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Courtesy of Verisae

Refrigerant gases are used in commercial facilities such as office buildings, hospitals and warehouses to maintain the climate and air quality. Refrigerant management includes maintaining the air conditioning (AC) or heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) units often used to maintain the environment in these buildings.

Refrigerant gases have been around for many years. These gases are basically condensed under pressure to obtain chilled air. Through the repetitive evaporating and condensing actions of these refrigerant gases, they are able to pull excess heat out of the air and moderate the environment within buildings.

In the 1970s, scientists discovered that certain refrigerants such as Freon and many others in the HCFC category could cause spontaneous, chemical reactions and destroy the delicate ozone layer protecting Earth’s atmosphere. Developments in mandatory refrigerant usage and new regulations were passed to restrict the methods of manufacturing and the ways that refrigerant gases could be used in common AC or HVAC systems. Refrigerant gases could no longer be deliberately released to escape or vented into the atmosphere.

There are certain gases called Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) that occur naturally in the atmosphere like carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor and ozone itself, but other gases like hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are artificially pumped into the atmosphere by industrial processes and leaking refrigeration systems. Because these are not naturally occurring and the amounts vented are very high, damage to the ozone layer happens as these fluorinated gases degrade into different chemical compounds.

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