Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The physics of the modern air conditioner

Last year my old central air died.  In its place came a brand new system, running the new freon - R410A.  Now we going into a discussion that Mr. Covfefe would love.  My spell checker gets upset with that word, but I'm sure it will a real word one day.  :)

I take us back to the eighties.  At that time, with no previous data, some scientists declared that polar ozone holes were growing and would kill us all.  The carbon people noted their success.  These people went nuts, noting that the existing CFC could release chlorine, and kill ozone.  They came up with a reaction, and just assumed an actual rate.  This was a great 'just so' story.

In 2007, somebody decided to do some actual atmospheric physics.  Never done for carbon.  Anyway, they discovered that the actual reaction rate for that magic chlorine reaction, was a factor of 10 lower than what had been assumed.

It was probably good to kill the original freon, since it didn't break down easily, somewhat like DDT.  Which gets me back to my story.  R410A uses flourine, not chlorine, and nobody has made up a story about that.  So, it was declared 'safe', without physics.  However, the infra-red thing is much higher than carbon, so it is declared a horrible greenhouse gas.  Lucky for us, it was declared 'good', since it is much more efficient.

Back to the new air thing.  It works at a much higher pressure than the old one, and can have those little finny things 10 times thinner and closer.  This is wonderful, until you want to start the thing in the spring.  Those stupid fins are clogged with spider webs!  I tried a powerwash with oxy-clean but it did nothing.   You have to get it serviced every year and they soak with with their 'super magic' chemical that I think is pinksolution enzyme cleaner.  The junk just dissolves, and you can just rinse it with a hose.

Personally, I'll stick with the guy coming every year for under 200.  It also needed a cup of gas, but that was not charged.  If I were cheap, I'd look at getting pinkstuff or something else.  I'm pretty sure that detergent alone can't handle it.

**stupid ozone holes are caused by atmospheric conditions, and goes up and down (like temperature) like a toilet seat.

***the holes happen because the extreme cold stops the standard ozone reaction.  Someone should tell them that there are no chemical reactions at extreme cold, especially the fictional freon reaction.  Oh well, that's all sewage under the bridge.  Nobody cares.  Surely we can't make that mistake again!

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