It’s important to consider our impact on the world around us, and sometimes that means recycling, reusing, and reducing the amount of pollution we create. You might not think about how much pollution your air conditioning or heating system creates or how much energy it uses. However, if your system is older or isn’t working properly, it could be producing more air pollution than you think.
Air Conditioning Systems and Electricity Usage
Air conditioning systems create air pollution in two ways. First, because they must run for so long and turn on and off frequently, air conditioning systems use a large amount of electricity. The electricity itself doesn’t cause pollution, but what creates the electricity can.
Most electricity in the U.S. is created by burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal. When these fuels burn, they release harsh chemicals into the atmosphere. These chemicals decrease the air quality. They can also land on the ground or be picked up by rain clouds and rained down, so they can also pollute water sources and soil. These emissions are also a major cause of global warming.
Air Conditioning Systems and the Release of Coolant Chemicals
Air conditioning systems themselves also release chemicals, and this is the second way that these systems cause pollution. Air conditioning systems use compounds called chlorofluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons, more commonly referred to as CFCs and HFCs. These compounds are refrigerants that create the coolness you get from your air conditioning system. However, CFCs and HFCs can sometimes leak out of the system, and both compounds are a big factor in global warming and the breakdown of the ozone layer.
CFCs are mainly used in older air conditioners, and they were largely replaced by HFCs. HFCs are still a pollutant, but they do break down more easily than CFCs, and they are less likely to deplete the ozone layer. HFCs are also free of chlorine, unlike CFCs, so they don’t break down the stratospheric ozone layer.
How Can You Reduce Air Pollution Caused by Air Conditioning Systems?
No one wants to pollute the air, but it’s also important to stay cool and comfortable on a hot day. Luckily, there are a few ways you can reduce the pollution your air conditioning system causes.
First, it’s important to make sure your air conditioning and heating system is properly maintained and regularly serviced. If your system is struggling to run, something is broken, or it’s running for longer than normal to cool the home, it’s most likely using much more electricity than necessary. A system that is in good working order uses less electricity and therefore causes much less pollution.
Any system that runs for less time will also automatically release fewer HFCs or CFCs. Routine maintenance can also check for leaks and help to prevent the loss of these coolant chemicals.
You can also consider the source of your electricity. Switching to electricity created by solar, wind, or another clean energy source drastically reduces pollution, and it can sometimes save you money.
If your air conditioning system is older, you can also think about upgrading to a newer, more energy-efficient model. Energy-efficient air conditioning systems are just as powerful as other, less efficient systems, but they don’t need to run for as long to cool the home.
Energy-efficient air conditioning systems are rated based on their cooling capacity compared to the power input. This ratio is called an Energy Efficiency Ratio or EER. Each air conditioning system will clearly display its EER. The higher the EER, the more efficient the system.
If your air conditioning system is running for a shorter period of time, you’ll also be saving money on your electricity costs.
Let the Experts Guide You
If you’re wondering how to make sure your air conditioning system isn’t creating too much pollution or you have questions about energy-efficient systems, reach out to us at Bone Heating & Cooling. We’ve been helping families in the Festus, St. Charles, St. Louis, and Jefferson Counties of Missouri since 1978. We have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and our technicians are all NATE-certified. When it comes to maintaining, repairing, and installing cooling systems, we’re experts, and we’re also happy to perform any heating maintenance, repairs, or installations you might need. Call us today to make sure your air conditioning system is running at its best.