Air Conditioning Specialists are more Rocket Scientist than Plumber

December 29, 2011

For some reason, I get the impression that most people think of heating and air conditioning professionals as the plumber with the plumber butt crack showing.  I have a lot of respect for plumbers and I would imagine that a working toilet and water line is more important air conditioning for most people on any given day, the reality is that heating and air conditioning is a complex engineering feat.   You can go to a university for many years to really understand the complexities.   Check out the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air -conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) if you don’t believe me.

If you want to go further, think about the phase-out of freon due to ozone depletion.   A lot of that freon came from air conditioning systems.  I hate to think that I contributed to ozone depletion but I didn’t know any better 20 years ago.   Most of you kids probably don’t remember or were aware of the big change with the the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.   I attached it for two reasons, its redemption for the AC guys and I wanted to find the option to attach a PDF document in wordpress.  (Yes, I am a wordpress newbie–I came across and just had to give it a try because everyone talks about blogs–everyone I know that is.)

You know I suspect that the semi-conductor industry which made the computer chips for our modern internet focused society and plastic industry so we can generate lots of garbage for landfills probably contributed much more to ozone depletion than air conditioning did.  But that’s the past.   Science is active in AC industry developing new replacements for freon.   For example, you can see the trade name Puron everywhere.   Puron is less destructive than Freon and legal, but its not perfect.  Scientists and engineers are probably working somewhere at this very moment to find something more environmentally friendly.   I have some thoughts about Puron which I’ll write about next time.   Sometimes big companies fib a little.    I prefer the Wikipedia description but the slight fairytale version of Puron can be at Carrier’s website about how sustainable and innovative they are.  I actually like Carrier products but environmental stuff has become a marketing too and which means exaggeration of truth.   In case you don’t know Carrier is one of the big manufacturer’s of air conditioning equipment.

The most environmentally friendly solution is to simply use natural air conditioning or adaption.   But this brings us back to the reality of living in Las Vegas in the summer.    I probably should talk about heating this time of year, but then I start thinking of fireplaces and burning wood….and the environmental angle about burning wood just kills the warm thoughts of fireplaces.  Most people in Las Vegas use natural gas anyway.   But whether its heating or air conditioning, adaption is the best way to help the environment.  Put on another layer of clothing and turn down the thermostat.   Or use the fan during the summer.

But when you need air conditioning and have made peace with yourself about the environmental impacts, you can call me to install that new AC system.  Well at least for a few more years.  I want to retire someday soon.   I need to find a good website that describes changing lifestyles versus use of AC/heating.  There are many health benefits aside from the positive impact on the environment.   You should read about EPA’s perspective on indoor air quality and energy efficiency.   Ooops….I said a bad word for people in Nevada — EPA.    But EPA should really beef up their sustainability stuff and take a more holistic and practical approach—and start by getting rid of all those bureaucratic lawyers and start hiring scientists again.    One thing I can tell you if you want to go into the AC field is that you will get a big fine from EPA if you improperly use freon.  You even need to have special EPA certifications for air conditioning.   I am beginning to think half of the lawyers in the US owe their livelihood to the existence of air conditioning and heating.   There are even schools for this EPA certification.  So some educators are employed because of AC guys/gals too – but that’s a good thing (as opposed to helping feed lawyers).

Here is just a small quote from EPA to give you a flavor of why EPA is a bad word in Nevada.  They write too much and you can never quite figure out what you need to do at the end of reading everything because it takes you a long time to read it.

Regulatory Requirements

Service Practice Requirements

1. Evacuation Requirements

Technicians are required to evacuate air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment to established vacuum levels when opening the equipment for maintenance, service, repair, or disposal. If the technician’s recovery and/or recycling equipment was manufactured any time before November 15, 1993, the air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment must be evacuated to the levels described in the first column of Table 1. If the technician’s recovery or recycling equipment was manufactured on or after November 15, 1993, the air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment must be evacuated to the levels described in Table 2, and the recovery or recycling equipment must have been certified by an EPA-approved equipment testing organization.

Well good night.   I hope someone out there appreciates– a little more– the significance of air conditioning to our way of life.


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