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Do HVAC Systems Emit Greenhouse Gases?

December 18, 2015

Scientific evidence has revealed that the Earth’s ozone layer is damaged by exposure to greenhouse gases, and these emissions also cause various other types of harm to the environment. People sometimes ask “Do HVAC systems emit greenhouse gases?” Unfortunately, all cooling and heating equipment produces this kind of pollution.


The depletion of the ozone layer has serious impacts. It strips away the world’s protection from UV rays, raising the risk for sunburns and skin cancer. This endangers both humans and animals with exposed skin. Increased radiation also causes average temperatures to rise and promotes climate change.


Air conditioning systems utilize refrigerants to capture heat and transfer it outdoors. These substances regularly shift between liquid and gas forms as they circulate through the equipment. Refrigerants create greenhouse gas emissions, especially when A/C systems develop leaks. Furthermore, most power plants generate this type of pollution when they produce electricity for air conditioners.

Other electric-powered HVAC equipment also adds to these emissions. Such devices include fans, space heaters and certain furnaces. Additionally, greenhouse gases are released by systems that directly burn fuel. Although amounts vary by fuel, substances like natural gas and oil generate such emissions as they burn.


The federal government is taking measures to reduce HVAC greenhouse gas emissions. For example, regulators have opposed the use of liquid CFC refrigerants in air conditioning equipment. Manufacturers switched to HCFCs during the mid-1990s. Although it is still harmful, this refrigerant causes less harm to the ozone layer. The authorities intend to ban it within 15 years.

Government agencies have also made an effort to increase the efficiency of heating and air conditioning systems while helping the public identify low-emission equipment. Americans can help protect the environment by looking for products with high efficiency ratings and Energy Star labels. This usually cuts fuel or electricity consumption by at least one-tenth.

People do not necessarily need to buy new equipment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They can accomplish this by performing regular HVAC maintenance, replacing filters when needed, sealing ducts and adjusting their thermostats. To learn more about techniques to optimize your cooling and heating equipment, please follow us.

About The Author

Brody Pennell

Since 1945, Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning is the committed to helping homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area experience total home comfort. In 2021, the readers of the Los Angeles Times voted Brody Pennell the Best HVAC Company in the area.

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