We, humans, have a very peculiar habit. The more we get used to something, the more we take it for granted even though it becomes an essential part of our life. Take the stove or the refrigerator for example. They have made our lives so comfortable, but we rarely care about those unless there is a problem. What I’m talking about today is a chemical that runs in the background of all refrigeration and air-conditioning units, Freon, one of the most used chemicals in the world.
Not many people know that Freon is a brand name belonging to DuPont, a gunpowder manufacturer in the United States. Freon, also known as R22, is a type of CFC (Chlorofluorocarbon) that has variety of usage in home and industrial sectors. Though it has brought comfort to our lives, it has some side effects, so it is good to know about Freon, so that we can use it with care or conduct a replacement for r22.
How Freon is Used
Freon, in normal condition, is a gas with a boiling point of -41 degrees Celsius. It means that under -41 degrees, it is a liquid. Freon also requires little pressure (Compared to other gases) to turn liquid. These two properties together with its non-toxic and stable nature have made Freon an ideal refrigerant. It is also used vastly in Aerosol industries.
When used as a refrigerant, liquid Freon is stores in a pressurized tank. A pump then pushes the liquid through small pipes (net-like structure) inside your refrigerator. Once in the pipes, Freon absorbers the heat from the nearby objects and turns into its gaseous state. The gas then flows into a compression unit (driven by the same pump) where it gives away (radiates) its heat and gets pressurized into liquid form again.
Depending on how you set up your refrigerator, the compressor pump increases or decreases its frequency.
As a coolant inside an air-conditioning unit, it uses the same principles as refrigerators. The only difference is that an air-conditioner uses 2 additional fans- one inward and another outward. The inward fan is responsible for the cool air that comes inside. The outward fan is attached to the radiator where Freon gives off the heat.
Freon is also used as an aerosol base due to its volatile nature. Whether it is an insecticide or an air freshener, Freon is the base liquid. It is important to mention that Freon itself has no odor or color. Insecticide or perfume is mixed with liquid Freon inside pressurized tanks at the manufacturing plants. The liquid is then bottled under pressure inside the aerosol container and sealed. When you spray, the Freon comes out of the container and quickly turns into gas spraying the content (insecticide of perfume) all over the air around it.
The Side Effect
However non-toxic it is, Freon has a side effect that has turned world attention into limiting its usage at home or in industries. Freon (R22) or any other form of CFCs react with ozone and diminishes it. Though safe to use at home, Freon is harmful for the environment.
Using Freon is not totally illegal yet, but many refrigerator, air-conditioning, and aerosol manufacturers are coming up with safer alternatives. If you still use Freon, you can but think about the environment and use responsibly.