F gases you need to avoid

F Gases – no, we are not swearing but you’ll want to avoid them all the same 

Greenhouse gases have been a part of everyone’s vocabulary for a good while now but, while we have known for some time that they do us little good, it’s only recently that legislation has been put into place to try to curb their harmful effects.  

Since the new F-Gas regulations came into force on the 1st January 2021, demand for safe and complying material has soared through the skies, as hirers have started to recognise the need to reduce their CO2 emissions and meet the new standards.  

Dehumidifiers and air conditioning units have been some of the most specifically sought-after pieces of equipment, now that it’s become clear just how important it is to take into consideration the “Global Warming Potential” (GWP) of the F Gas the units will use when choosing your equipment. 

Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) include: 

• hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) 

• perfluorocarbons (PFCs) 

• Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) 

These are nasty, planet-killing gasses that serve no purpose other than to poke holes in the Earth’s ozone layer and encourage you to tan slightly darker. Despite the fetching title and the homely smell of tomatoes growing in your granddad’s greenhouse, these are actually only good for trapping infrared radiation and heat in the atmosphere – not ideal conditions for tomato growth, as you can imagine. 

HFCs, or hydrofluorocarbons, are man-made, organic compounds that contain both fluorine and hydrogen atoms. Sure, we like hydrogen and fluorine, they have their own place in the world and they’re great for insulating electric towers and helping keep the lights on in the production of nuclear material. When you chuck atoms of hydrogen and fluorine with a sprinkle of carbon together, though, life gets messy. 

To add to that, the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Study conducted in Canada since 2007 has actually found evidence linking some PFCs to an increase in the growth of tumours and harmful effects to the human reproduction system. 

Besides making your voice deeper when breathed in – please do not try this at home now – SF6 is toxic and can cause a build-up of fluid in your lungs, making you dizzy and more confused than normal, with the potential to suffocate, faint, have a bit of a seizure and fall into a coma – intense, we know. So intense, in fact, that SF6 was considered to be used as a chemical agent in World War II.  

SF6, however, has many commercial applications, from the space between glass in double glazing window units to cushions of “AIR” in training shoes manufactured by a leading brand – ten points to whoever guesses it right in the comments down below.  

Nevertheless, if you are looking to get carbon neutral as a business and meet the exacting standards of the Environment Agency and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs guidance on Fluorinated gases, then you will want to think carefully about the dehumidifiers you’re using and what refrigerants are in them.  

For example, R410 has a GWP CO2 equivalent of 2088kg per kg, whereas R290 has a GWP equivalent of only 3kg per kg, and R1234YF 4kg per kg. Both R290 & R1234YF are used in Master dehumidifiers, and, as you can see, the difference is enormous! 

Are you are interested in reducing your impact on the environment? Do you worry about these things when you’re hiring equipment? Get in touch and let us know. 

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