If all goes well, GE will offer U.S. consumers a hydrocarbon refrigerator for the first time in June 2011. Hydrocarbon fridges aren’t new – more than 400 million units have been sold worldwide, but the EPA says it wanted to wait for more information before approving their use in the U.S. They are expected to add their seal of approval this year, giving the green light for GE to begin sales.
Until now, all residential refrigerators have been cooled by CFCs or HFCs. Pre-1996 refrigerators use Freon, a CFC refrigerant that we now know eats away at the atmosphere’s ozone layer. Then the industry switched to HFCs – hydrofluorocarbons. HFCs don’t cause damage to the ozone per se, but they absorb radiation that would otherwise be released into space – contributing to global warming. Compared with the alternatives, hydrocarbons are much less destructive to the atmosphere.
The new refrigerator will debut with a hefty price tag. GE estimates that a 30” unit will set the consumer back about $6000. But, if history is any indication, we can expect prices to drop as the technology improves and the fridges become popular.
Don’t forget, fridges need coil cleaning too. Our 5 gallon bucket wet/dry vacuum BucketVac comes with a nice soft brush so that you can get right onto the coils and give ’em a quick clean. If you are an HVAC contractor, it’s a nice little touch to your service and show your customers you really care.