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When it comes to cooling your indoor environment during the scorching South African summer months, there’s no better choice than a portable air conditioner. They’re a less expensive alternative when compared with central air systems, are easier to move than window units and provide a better cooling option than cooling mist fans. The cost to purchase a mobile aircon and the required upkeep and maintenance is very small, making this a great choice for everyone, especially those on a budget. Read more for Portable Air Conditioner Basics.

In order to run an air conditioning unit, whether installed or portable, a refrigerant is needed to keep it cool. If you’re not already familiar with what a refrigerant is, it’s a fluid used in both heating and cooling systems that transforms from a liquid to a gas and back again, and the thermodynamic properties of this substance works to either cool an area or warm it according to the specified purpose. Refrigerants have been used as a vital part of cooling solutions for several decades, but the types of refrigerants that are essential to portable air conditioners has changed due to stricter environmental regulations.

Here’s a closer look at the types of refrigerants used in mobile aircons – R22 and R410A:

R22 and Its Basics

This refrigerant has been the go-to choice for residential cooling units for over forty years and contains what is known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), also known by the brand name Freon. This refrigerant is a derivative of the gasses propane, ethane and methane and is a volatile, organic compound. After a few decades of use, however, CFCs were found to cause depletion in the ozone layer and in 1987 the Montreal Protocol was signed to prohibit the use of these environmentally-damaging chemicals throughout the world. Countries from the United Nations and European ratified the act in 1989, and CFCs are slowly being phased out of use with the end goal being no more new air conditioning units manufactured to use this type of harmful refrigerant.

If you’re not exactly sure what the ozone layer is and what purpose it serves, it’s essentially a part of our stratosphere (the second layer of Earth’s atmosphere) that helps absorb a lot of the sun’s harmful UV radiation, most of which has been known to cause cancer and other damaging effects on life close to the planet’s surface. When the ozone layer becomes impaired in any way, shape or form UV light is allowed to penetrate directly to Earth’s inhabitants with no filter to stop it. R22 and CFCs were found to directly contribute to the destruction of this protective shield.

In order to get R22 out of circulation it needs to be either reused in existing units or destroyed altogether to avoid being leaked back into the soil or dispersed into the air. Scientists predict that the planet’s ozone layer will return back to the condition it was in 1980 somewhere between the years of 2050 and 2070, with studies showing the ozone is actually repairing itself already. R22 is classified as a greenhouse gas and has been shown to significantly contribute to global warming, an issue that needs to be addressed now for a sustainable future.

Many homeowners and those that own portable air conditioners are probably unaware of the types of refrigerants that go into the use of their aircon, and the effects that operating one of these units might have on not only the health of the general population but the way our world operates on a global scale. Since knowing is half the battle, it’s important to arm yourself with the knowledge to be a responsible portable aircon owner.

R410A and What It Is

Because the Montreal Protocol set forth a method in which to eliminate CFCs from the environment altogether, there needed to be a way to make a refrigerant that was not only effective at maintaining heating and cooling systems but was not so harmful to the ozone layer. In 1991, the company now known as Honeywell developed a refrigerant known as R410A and in 1996 the first eco-friendly air conditioning unit was produced with the compound now known as Freon’s opposite – Puron.

R410A is what’s known as a zeotropic compound, which means it never has the same vapor or liquid phase composition as the vapor-liquid equilibrium, a state where both the liquid and gas forms of a chemical compound are equal to each other and the evaporation and condensation ratio is stable. This new type of refrigerant contains only fluorine (as compared with the host of other damaging chemicals that constitute the makeup of R22, like bromine and chlorine) and has been shown in scientific studies to not contribute to ozone depletion.

Use of this refrigerant does have the potential to contribute to global warming over time, but the benefits greatly outweigh the current risks. There is significantly lower power consumption in portable air conditioning units when R410A is used instead of R22, as well as decreased greenhouse gas emissions, meaning it’s a less harmful cooling solution all around.

As R22 is slowly being replaced by this better refrigerant solution, different portable aircon units are needing to be manufactured to support the transition, as current aircon models use different parts, tools and systems altogether. GMC Aircon recognizes the need for a better planet and more efficient cooling systems, especially when the South African heat becomes unbearable. We have consistently demonstrated leadership when it comes to heating and cooling solutions in South Africa and have almost two decades of experience to back up these claims.

All portable air conditioning units for sale from GMC Portable Air conditioners run on the environmentally friendly R410A refrigerant system, simply because care for the environment is a priority we put before profit. In order to weather the stifling summer months, a reliable aircon unit is needed for the utmost in indoor cooling relief, so you can rest assured you’re getting only the best from our company where customer service is our number one priority.

If you’d like to find out more about our Eco friendly Portable airconditioner range then please visit our FAQs as well as our Shop page which has the full specifications. Alternatively you can contact us and one of the friendly GMC team will be on hand to assist.  You can also read more about us here. We look forward to hearing from you.

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