Refrigerators are one of the most commonly used household appliances and since theiradvent, they have changed the very meaning of normal food preservation. Not only do they provide a perfect temperature for preventing your food from getting spoilt, but they also help you organize and store your food products. Many of us are familiar with a normal course in the lifecycle of most refrigerators where we would need to change the refrigerant at some point of time.The commonly used gas inside the refrigerator is Freon (R-12 or R-22) or R-134a (Tetrafluoroethane), with the former being widely used. Freon consists of elemental chlorine as one of its constituent, which has been found as one of the major reasons for the depletion of ozone layer-which is a protective blanket in the atmosphere protecting us from the harmful radiation of the sun. At high altitudeschlorine displaces an oxygen atom in the ozone molecule, and caused a decrease in the net content of ozone. Lesser ozone means lesser protection from radiation emitted by the sun, which causes a host of environmental and health issues.
During the past couple of years, there has been an ongoing research to find an effective substitute for Freon, with R-410A- a Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) compound that does not contain chlorine being widely used nowadays. `The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working to stop all new refrigerant sets from containing Freon, and has been working for a total ban on such materials in the long run.
This new change in introducing an alternate refrigerant which not only powers the actual refrigeration cycle in your refrigerator, but also is used in air-conditioners and dehumidifiers does not cause any adverse effected to the ozone layer. Also, it has been reported in some studies that the new chemical makes your appliance last much longer byincreasing the cooling capacity and thereby reducing the load on the system. In the long run, this decreases the net power your refrigerator consumes and also decreases the net carbonfootprint generated by frequent repairs and replacements.
So, beforeyou choose to purchase any of the above mentioned appliances, do check for the refrigerant they areusing. Also, consider replacing your old appliances with the newer versions using R-410 A, as they are slowly being phased out. As we always reiterate in Envirogadget.com, small steps we individually take can collectively make a huge difference to a cleaner, safe and greener planet.