Freon is the brand name of a type of air-conditioning refrigerant gas manufactured by DuPont Chemicals. However, there were—and are—some challenges to using it in an automotive A/C system designed for R12. There are different types of A/C Freon. EPA is authorized to assess fines of up to $37,500 per day for any violation of these regulations.”. Here is how you will remove the refrigerant from the car’s AC. Because of R1234yf’s mild flammability, BMW and Mercedes are now adopting R744. The scientists found that the Freon-R12 gas is the most damaging to the ozone layer. Other brands of R-22 refrigerant gas are made by other manufacturers. By the 1995 model year, all new vehicles sold in the United States with air conditioners used HFC-134a refrigerant. We’re most familiar with water, which we see as ice when it’s cold, liquid when it’s at room temperature, and steam when we boil it. In addition, there was the lubricant issue. Tom King published his first paid story in 1976. The compressor circulates refrigerant, usually R-134a, through the condenser and evaporator, which are connected via tubes and hoses. But if you live in a hot climate, want to daily-drive the car, and the car has a tiny-capacity A/C system which, even after modernization, may only perform marginally, you may want to consider sticking with R12. In addition, there is a $10,000 “rat-out” fee your neighbor can collect if you’re venting refrigerant and he tattles on you. Follow these steps to retrofit air conditioning in cars to new refrigerant, such as R-134a. Today, nearly all new vehicles offer air … Because of this, in the early 1930s, a new refrigerant based on a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), specifically dichlorodifluoromethane, was developed. International manufacturing of new R12 ceased in 1996, but existing R12 can still be reclaimed and purified. 1. In contrast, the most likely reason you’d consider recharging with an “alternative refrigerant” is because the refrigerant leaked out of your car and you’re trying to avoid doing a full-on A/C rejuvenation which includes finding the leak and properly changing refrigerants. Early automotive air conditioning systems started cropping up in the mid-20th century. You can find many videos and web forum posts where people retrofit R152a into cars that originally had R12 and profess excellent results, but it is not approved by the EPA for retrofit applications, only new car applications. Freon is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) that has been linked to ozone depletion, so it is quickly being phased out of use. Piston Slap: When the Signal Acquisition Module (SAM) surrenders? There are two types of refrigerants used: R12 and R134a. It’s often said that buying or selling R12 is illegal. If you’ve got a newer car that has an auto start/stop system, turn it off. To take one of these and convert it to R134a was usually a recipe for disappointment. If you’re resurrecting the A/C in a vintage car, the vast majority of the time the refrigerant has long since leaked out, but if your car has refrigerant in it, and you need to open up the A/C system to work on it, spend a little money and take the car to an A/C shop. And it was safe—neither poisonous to breathe, nor flammable. You can prevent this loss by having your system checked annually prior to the start of hot weather. Test the pressure. R-22 was the primary Refrigerant used for home and commercial units but was banned due to the harm it caused to the O-Zone layer. As you probably know, matter can exist in three states—solid, liquid, and gas. To be sure, you can check the unit itself for a label that specifies which type of coolant to add. Most car owners simply accept the fact that the Freon™ in their automobile's air-conditioning system will have to be recharged periodically, as though this were an inevitability. But once you’re on that path, you can improve the system with a new compressor and parallel-flow condenser which, in most cases, will allow you to get good results with R134a. You can get it and use it. There is R744, which is literally carbon dioxide (CO2). Bear in mind that federal -- and many state -- laws prohibit the knowing release of Freon into the atmosphere. 2. A relatively small loss of refrigerant gas can reduce the efficiency of your air-conditioning system dramatically. Get it as soon as Tue, Jan 19. Keeping Cool: An AC History. He received gold awards for screenwriting at the 1994 Worldfest Charleston and 1995 Worldfest Houston International Film Festivals. R134a reacts with water to form hydrofluoric acid which damages the internal A/C components. You can recharge your A/C system with chicken soup (lousy refrigerant, by the way) and no black helicopters will come to your house, but in a world where people usually don’t hold onto their cars forever, R134a is still the best choice for retrofit applications. I can tell you that R12 is some seriously great refrigerant; it gets both of these cars meat-locker cold almost from the instant the A/C is turned on. The concern that the original R12 hoses would leak R134a like a screen door on a submarine appeared to be largely unfounded, as the insides of original hoses seemed to naturally become impregnated with a combination of refrigerant and oil that acted as a barrier. To test the pressure, turn the vehicle off and locate the low side pressure port. Overcharging the system can be as damaging as chronic refrigerant gas loss. The problem was that there was not agreement on exactly what was required for the conversion. It’s often said that R12 is no longer available. If your unit was built prior to 2010, it's likely going to use R-22. Stay on the right side of the law, the environment, and your conscience, and don’t vent refrigerant. First, it is a pernicious ozone-destroying agent, so if you are going to use it in a car, you are morally required to do everything under the sun to thoroughly leak-test the system before charging it with R12. The problem is that some inexpensive available refrigerants—ammonia and propane, for example—are poisonous and/or flammable. For example, while R12 itself is similar to the halon used in fire extinguishers, when R12 is mixed with mineral oil—the most commonly-used lubricant oil in R12 systems—and aerosolized and burned, it creates phosgene gas, which was used as a chemical agent in WWI. Freon is the brand name of a type of air-conditioning refrigerant gas manufactured by DuPont Chemicals. That’s simply not true. It can be connected with your car’s AC service port and give you a reading based on the purity status. Types of Refrigerant Used in AC Nowadays. In fact, R12 was used for many years as a propellant in a variety of aerosol products and sprayed directly into the air, and it is closely related to the halon used in fire extinguishers. The issue is whether you should. This is why it is crucially important that R134a systems be properly evacuated (pumped down to boil off any moisture) and kept sealed. Small NOS cans of R12 are widely available on eBay and Craigslist for about $30 apiece. 2. With a tight modernized system that’ll accept either refrigerant, you should then consider where and how the system will be operated. But many European cars, such as the vintage BMWs I love, had A/C systems that never functioned all that well even when they were new and charged up with R12. A/C professionals derisively called these “death kits” because they had a reputation for causing the compressor to seize a few months later. It is necessary for a gas to give off heat to liquefy (condense). Two types of refrigerant are used in automotive air conditioners. Therefore, overlooking it is not a smart move. We earn a commission if you click this link and make … He passed. If an A/C system isn’t working, the root cause needs to be diagnosed, and the system needs to be fixed. Both claims are demonstrably untrue. Posted on January 2, 2018 at 3:28 pm. I think that, with hindsight, many people would agree that, even given that R12 is an ozone-destroying agent, fines of this level made many hard-working A/C technicians hostile to the government, and thus were counterproductive. Keep the Freon can upright to only charge with gaseous Freon. Each has its own cult following and requires its own EPA-approved charging fittings. Servicing: When payment of any kind is involved (including non-monetary), any person working on an MVAC system must be certified under section 609 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and they must use approved refrigerant handling equipment. Note that R134a is also sometimes called “Freon,” even labeled as such on the can, so it’s best to be clear and use the names R12 and R134a. You should always attempt to verify the information with your vehicle manual or information provided on the underhood stick, sometimes also located on the top of the accumulator. In addition to the low boiling point, there are two other de facto requirements for refrigerant: It shouldn’t be poisonous, and it shouldn’t be flammable. Rob Siegel has been writing the column The Hack Mechanic™ for BMW CCA Roundel magazine for 30 years. Since these days a can of R134a is about $15, the cost differential isn’t what it was in the panicked days of the mid-1990s. And then there is the very interesting refrigerant R152a, which is the ingredient in “keyboard duster,” minus the bittering agent added to prevent inhalant abuse. What happens when the wrong refrigerant is charged to an AC unit? 5, Chip Foose reinvents the 1966 Ford Bronco with street-savvy style – Ep. By international agreement in 1987 (the Montreal Protocol), the use and production of CFCs such as R12 began to be phased out, with automobile manufacturers required to stop using it by the end of the 1994 model year. Refrigerant and oil capacity guides are based on data provided by sources such as AllData and Mitchell. King holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Southwestern Adventist College. Thus you see how R134a conversion was often applied to systems that were not working correctly, if they were working at all. The newer systems don’t use refrigerant, so make sure to check your unit before deciding a leak is the cause of inefficient cooling.If you’re certain a leak is the problem, you should purcha… The difference in refrigerants is all down to how old your car is. If you've need to make a major repair to your car air conditioner such as installing a new evaporator, compressor or condenser, then you can easily update to new refrigerant at the same time. Type #2: R134a -- The One That's (Probably) In Your Car Right Now. R12 is known as the old-fashioned refrigerant and was used in cars pre-1944. R-410A. The first one is called R12, while the other one is R134a. … Initially, an invasive recipe was proposed: the system should be flushed to remove any traces of the old R12-specific mineral oil, the compressor and expansion valve should be replaced with R134a-specific versions to perform correctly, and the old hoses should be replaced with 134a-specific barrier hoses to forestall leakage. We’ll explore this new cooling substance and what it means for your ride. It was replaced by R-410A in 2010. Refrigerant gas does not “wear out” like oil nor is it used up like fuel. In a properly sealed system the gas can continue being compressed and released over and over, so long as it doesn't leak out. With that said, I’ll agree that the flammability issue may not be as black-and-white as it appears. Of course, there could be other problems such as a seized compressor or a blocked expansion valve. Locate the Low Pressure Side Refrigerant Fill Port 1. If you use anything other than R134a, you’ll likely create a situation where you must be the one servicing the system. The compressor should then be filled with R134a-specific oil (usually PAG oil) and the system evacuated and recharged. In this article, we use the word Freon and refrigerant interchangeably. If your car has a leak, you are legally obligated to have the leak repaired before recharging the system. The inside of an engine compartment, where the air-conditioning system operates, subjects the hoses and connections of the system to extremes of temperature and vibration, as well as contact with pollution, road grime, fuel, oil, and abrasive and corrosive substances. Over the years the chemical structure of these refrigerant gases like R-12 or R-14 have been replaced in general usage in response to environmental regulations by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The first thing you need to do is find out what type of Freon you’ll need for your air conditioner. 98. The most common refrigerants used for air conditioning over the years include: 1. Which brings us to…. When used in refrigerator and A/C systems, R12 cooled incredibly well. The federal law also prohibits you from freeing the refrigerant in the air. Hell, it’s possible that not all of the original A/C components are even there anymore. Production of new stocks ceased in 1994. 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