View Full Version : Air Conditioner

12-23-2002, 03:22 PM
Okay, so this week I'm full of questions. Anyway, I was driving in my car with the AC on for some reason. I began to think, hey, how does that actaully cool me down? Then my train of thought began to morph into, is this good for me? Will this cause cancer?

Anyone know how harmful AC can be, if it is in fact harmful?

I'm assuming that the "coldness" is produced by chemicals, but what do those chemicals do to the body?

12-23-2002, 03:29 PM

AC works by transferring heat, via the thermodynamic travails of a working fluid like freon, from inside air to (usually warmer) outside air. The freon is sealed into its tubing, and never actually contacts the air you breathe.

12-23-2002, 03:36 PM
Unless :gasp!: the tubing leaks and the freon escapes. But the amount of coolant used in a car air conditioner is not enough to do you any serious harm, and I believe newer AC's use much less toxic stuff in them.

But assuming there's nothing wrong with your AC, all that's happening is you're getting cold air blown on you.

How Air Conditioners Work (http://www.howstuffworks.com/ac.htm).

12-23-2002, 03:38 PM
Ah, well that certainly clears my mind:D

12-23-2002, 03:48 PM
I remember my Dad and me ... I ... me! talki ng about this. I asked how does an air conditioner cool you. He says it takes water out of the outside air and blow dry air on you and it evaporates water from your skin and you feel cooler. I said how'zit do that. He says by cooling it.

Wonderful guy, my Dad. Got two doctorates and can't explain AC to his seven-year-old.

12-23-2002, 04:04 PM
and I believe newer AC's use much less toxic stuff in them

Quite the opposite is true (unless somethign new and improved came out) F-12 used almost exclusivly in cars up untill sometime in the 80's was pretty much biologically/chemically inert and worked very well and was not flamiable. IIRC a form of this freon was used so mice could breath the liquid (freon) instead of air.

BUt there were some rumors that some penguins in antiartica were getting sunburned (or something about the hole in the ozone layer) and it was caused by this lovely freon. So without proof it was banned from production. Automakers scrambled to find alternitives.

One such was Freon 22 which was used in home A/C's - it was slightly reactive (caustic) and wasn't great to breath in either (possible carcinogen) but it cooled fairly well (not as good as 12 but not bad). This freon had some of the bad stuff that 12 had (Florene) and was phased out later.

Then auto makers mainly switched to 134a, which is more caustic and potentially more carcinogenic, and doesn't cool nearly as much requiring you to burn more fuel to get the same amount of cooling.

Now these chemicals are sealed in the system and can only cause you harm when the system leaks.

12-23-2002, 04:07 PM
Now these chemicals are sealed in the system and can only cause you harm when the system leaks.

Didn't mean it that way - they were always sealed. Now should have been "now to the second part of the OP..."