Above: the Dr. makes a house call at the Peel Memorial Hospital.
The Peel Memorial Hospital is one of the most important facilities in the Brampton area. For decades the original building had been a place of healing, but it reached the point where an expansion was needed to help more families get access to care.
But before it could be reborn, the old building needed to be demolished. For Dr. HVAC owner, Brendon Aldridge, it was a bittersweet time.
“Not only was I born at that hospital, but I lived down the street for most of my childhood, and you can see my old elementary school from there. I’ve lived here in Brampton almost my entire life, and saw a lot of that building over the years.”
Brendon adds, “While I was sad to see the old building go, I was proud to safely remove the refrigerant from all the old air conditioning units and ensure it gets recycled. I’m also involved with the Rotary Club, which helped to fund the new hospital.”
Our part of the project was to work with the demolition team to make sure that all the refrigerant was removed and the units properly disposed of before the building was torn down. For a building of this size, it required several weeks of work.
What is Refrigerant?
“Refrigerant is the gas inside the air conditioners that transfers the heat,” Brendon explains. “It absorbs the heat in the air as it passes through the cooling unit.”
In the old Peel Memorial Hospital, there were a lot of air conditioners, refrigeration units, and even cooling units for computer servers! All of them used refrigerant that had to be collected safely.
How Do You Collect It?
Collecting refrigerant has to follow a very specific process, and adhere to multiple codes. “You use a special machine, and it sucks the refrigerant out into a cylinder that looks kind of like a propane tank,” Brendon explains.
These cylinders are then taken to a special facility where the refrigerant is reclaimed or recycled (depending on the exact refrigerant used in each unit). Dr. HVAC sent the refrigerant from the old Peel Memorial Hospital to Fielding Environmental in Mississauga.
Refrigerants and the Environment
This may seem like a lot of work for a little gas, but the types of refrigerant used in the older air conditioners are extremely harmful to the environment.
“They have ozone depleting properties, and it was a big problem before they were phased out. R-12 use was halted in 1995, and R22 was in 2011,” Brendon explains.
In modern air conditioners, we use a safe refrigerant called R-410A. But even though it’s much safer and more efficient now, refrigerant still isn’t great for the environment if it isn’t contained inside the AC system. “That’s why it has to be disposed of properly,” says Brendon.
Part of Our Commitment to the Environment
“Every time we remove an air conditioner, we properly collect the refrigerant and pay to have it reclaimed,” Brendon explains. “It’s essential to help care for the ozone layer. Then we take the old air conditioner to a metal recycling facility so that everything that can be reused is reused. It’s no good to anyone if it justs rusts away in a landfill.”
For Brendon, the commitment to the environment is a personal one. “I am always outdoors – hiking, boating, and fishing. In fact, part of the reason I started in heating and cooling was the amount of time you spend outside. Most people don’t know this, but as a technician you’re working in a lot of rooftops and backyards.”
Every year, Brendon and his team participate in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, sometimes around Brampton’s rivers and marshes, and sometimes along Mississauga’s shorefront. “I’ve spent a lot of time around places like Etobicoke Creek, Hilton Falls, and on our local trails. Every time I see litter it makes me sad and angry. Some people just don’t understand that litter isn’t just ugly, it kills wildlife locally and in our oceans.”
You can learn more about our environmental and community involvement on our About page.
Prevent Refrigerant Leaks: Have Your Air Conditioner Checked by the Experts
Spring is just around the corner (thankfully) and it’s time for your air conditioner to get its yearly tune up. Amongst the many things our technicians check for are refrigerant leaks. These can go unnoticed by homeowners, but are harmful to our environment, and can result in lots of damage to the air conditioner.
Tune ups also ensure air conditioner is working as efficiently as possible, so you save money on your energy bill every month.