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Automotive Air Conditioning Facts:

If leaked or emitted into the atmosphere, the fluorocarbon refrigerant gas contained in most air conditioners and refrigerators can be extremely harmful to the environment. In particular, it can damage the Ozone Layer and contribute to global warming.

It is so serious in fact, that all 196 countries have signed an agreement called the Montreal Protocol, to agree to a world-wide phase out of ozone depleting substances.

ARC License Scheme: Protecting the Environment

The Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) License scheme is the Australian Government's response to their obligations under the Montreal Protocol.

Environmental Impact: Refrigerant Gas

Did you know 1Kg of the commonly used refrigerant gas R410a, has the same greenhouse impact as two tones of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of running your car for six months!

That's why Australia has specific laws to help protect the environment and minimize any further damage to the atmosphere caused by refrigerant gas. And that is why the ARC License scheme is vital to achieving a better quality environment for Australia.

Is it Working?

Yes, it is. In 2010 research from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand recorded that the size of the Ozone Hole is the smallest it has been in the past five years.

Then, in May 2011, this encouraging news was backed up by environmental scientists at Macquarie University in Sydney, who have produced data that suggests the Ozone Hole is now recovering.

Both findings are directly related to initiatives such as the Montreal Protocol – which was the catalyst for the ARC License scheme.

ARCTICK Certified - Consumer Awareness

There is a clear and present risk if consumers use non-licensed technicians to install or service their air conditioners or refrigerators - a risk to both the environment and their wallet.

Licensed technicians and authorized businesses have shown themselves to be qualified to do the job consumers have hired them to do. They have met the licensing/authorization requirements under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995. A license holder must adhere to an Industry Code of Practice and possess the skills to do the job - minimizing the risk of refrigerant emission.

Non-licensed technicians and businesses have not demonstrated their willingness to adhere to their legal obligations, and this may reflect in their services. Consumers run the risk of:

  • Sub-par service/installation, which may mean additional services are required.
  • Risk of product warranty becoming null and void.
  • Risk of refrigerant leaking into the atmosphere - bad for the environment and bad for the performance of the system.

Benefits of the Australian Refrigeration Council

As well as encouraging practices that benefit the environment, the ARC License scheme is 'good for business!’

When a business shows their RTA certificate or a technician presents their RHL card, this demonstrates several positive things to potential customers and the industry at large:

  1. Tells customers that the business or person they are dealing with is professional and qualified in their field of activity, providing peace of mind.
  2. The more licensed professionals in the RAC industry, the better the industry is viewed as a whole, important for the long-term sustainability of the sector.
  3. The ARC works hard to increase consumer awareness of the license scheme and has developed an online industry directory for consumers to locate licensed professionals nearest to them, as well as numerous marketing materials for licensed and authorized businesses to use.

How Air Conditioning Works:

Air conditioning like it says 'conditions' the air. It not only cools it down but also reduces the moisture content, or humidity. All air conditioners work the same way whether they are installed in a building or in a car. The fridge or freezer is, in a way, an air conditioner as well. Air conditioning is a field in its own right, but we'll stick to the main points of a car's air conditioning and the main parts used, along with a few hints to keep the air-con system running properly.

Key Principles:

  1. Evaporation: It cools down by evaporating liquid, just like rubbing surgical spirits on your skin.
  2. Condensation: When cold liquid turns into water, it creates a cooling effect, similar to the outside of a glass on a humid day.
  3. Heat of Compression: Pumping air creates heat, like a bicycle pump getting hot.
  4. Compression: Gases become liquids under pressure, for example, the propellant inside a deodorant can.
  5. Cooling by Expansion: When gases expand quickly, they cool down, just like deodorant.

Components of Car's Air Conditioning:

Metal or alloy tubing and flexible rubber hoses connect all the actual components of the air conditioning in your car. Evaporation and condensation, expansion and compression are the physics of why it works. There are five main components to the whole system, namely the Compressor, Condenser, Receiver-dryer, Expansion valve or TX Valve, and the Evaporator.

The Role of Refrigerant:

The fluid that passes around the whole system is the refrigerant. It can evaporate at a low temperature and then condense again at a higher pressure. R-12 was the refrigerant used in almost all cars, but it was discontinued due to its impact on the ozone layer. Today, all cars use a non-CFC fluid called R-134A, which is kinder to the environment.

Key Components:

  1. Compressor: Powered by a drive belt connected to the engine, it pumps refrigerant vapor under high pressure to the condenser.
  2. Condenser: Mounted in front of the engine's radiator, it changes high-pressure refrigerant vapor to a liquid.
  3. Receiver: A small reservoir for liquid refrigerant that removes moisture.
  4. Expansion Valve: Removes pressure from liquid refrigerant, allowing it to expand and become

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