The first air conditioners and refrigerators employed toxic or flammable gases, such as ammonia, methyl chloride, or propane, that could result in fatal accidents when they leaked. Thomas Midgley, Jr. created the first non-flammable, non-toxic chlorofluorocarbon gas, Freon, in 1928. The name is a trademark name owned by DuPont for any chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), or hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant. The refrigerant names include a number indicating the molecular composition (e.g., R-11, R-12, R-22, R-134A). The blend most used in direct-expansion home and building comfort cooling is an HCFC known as chlorodifluoromethane (R-22).
An air conditioning system, or a standalone air conditioner, provides cooling and humidity control for all or part of a building. Air conditioned buildings often have sealed windows, because open windows would work against the system intended to maintain constant indoor air conditions. Outside, fresh air is generally drawn into the system by a vent into the indoor heat exchanger section, creating positive air pressure. The percentage of return air made up of fresh air can usually be manipulated by adjusting the opening of this vent. Typical fresh air intake is about 10%.
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If a heat exchanger cracks or contains holes, leaks can release carbon monoxide into your home. Carbon monoxide is nearly impossible for humans to detect on their own due to its characteristics of being colorless and odorless. Because of this, it is referred to as “The Silent Killer”. Some symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. It is extremely important to have a HVAC technician perform a furnace inspection annually to prevent problems such as carbon monoxide poisoning. UGI Heating, Cooling & Plumbing offers yearly maintenance packages and service agreements that include yearly maintenance and furnace inspections.