What are the problems with air-conditioning gas?

Your air-conditioning can be a lifesaver, especially during a sweltering summer heatwave like we experienced in 2019. But there is nothing worse than switching your air-conditioning unit on and having nothing but warm air blown onto your face. This is usually because your unit has run out of refrigerant gas, which is what cools the air down as it is filtered through. It’s always worth keeping your air-conditioning unit in the best possible condition but did you know that, in some cases, it can actually be contributing to climate change?

How does my air-conditioning unit work?

Fresh air from outside your car is condensed using refrigerant gas and turned into a liquid. This is dried to remove impurities before passing through an expansion valve and then turned into vapour as it passes through evaporation coils. It then enters the cabin as cooled air. The main contributor to the process is the refrigerant gas, which poses several problems in itself.

Environmental issues with air-conditioning

Refrigerant gas can seep out of your air-conditioning system over time due to the constant state of matter changes it goes through to keep your cabin cool. However, the gas which powers your air-conditioning unit - R134A – lingers in the atmosphere, with a lifespan of thirteen years. R134A is much more toxic than CO2, which is a huge environmental issue, considering how dangerous we know CO2 to be.

Changes to your air-conditioning gas

From 2011, European manufacturers have phased in a new, more environmentally friendly refrigerant gas called R1234yf in selected models. This new gas produces ninety-eight per-cent fewer toxic emissions than the old R134A because it has an atmospheric lifespan of just eleven days. This gas has now become mandatory in all cars manufactured after the First of January 2017. However, despite the harm caused by R134A, there is no legal requirement for car air-conditioning units manufactured to use the old gas to switch over to the new R1234yf. If you think you might be eligible for this new gas, or you’d like to check, book a vehicle re-gassing online now, absolutely FREE.

Got any other air-conditioning related questions? Either leave them in the comments below or contact your local garage who will be happy to help.