Find something to do anyway.

I was assisting a couple of HVAC professionals yesterday while they installed a new heat pump for an apartment where I do maintenance work. They were doing the important work, like using oxygen/acetylene gas to join copper tubes with silver solder so that refrigerant lines would be airtight and efficient. I had shoveled snow so that they could maneuver, with a little hand truck through a  crusty foot of the white stuff,  the compressor/condenser/coil exterior unit into its place behind the building. I was also taking care of minor chores like dropping an electrical cord out the second-floor window so they’d have 110 volts to power the vacuum pump that would remove all the air from their freon lines.
Mostly though, I was asking a lot of questions. Roger explained to me very cogently how the old R-22 refrigerant, known generally as “freon,” is being phased out, to be replaced eventually with a new gas, R410-A. This is because the new gas does not have chlorine. The old gas refrigerant, the R-22, released chlorine atoms into the atmosphere whenever it happened to escape a “closed” heating/air conditioning system. The chlorine ions would rise into the atmosphere and eventually bond with ozone, converting them into oxygen and depleting the protective ozone layer that once kept us from getting  so sunburned.
When I was a kid in the 50’s, we had never even heard of sunscreen, much less used any of it, and we had a little sunburn now and then, but nothing like the sunburns you get today when you fail to slather the stuff on at the beach.
But anyway, Roger also explained to me that in a residential heating/cooling system, the expansion and contraction of the “freon” (a registered trademark that can include many refrigerant gases, whether they’re being phased out or phased in) is what makes the heat move from one place to another. In the winter, the system is designed to use the gases to transfer heat into the house. (There is some heat, believe it or not, somewhere in all that frigid air outside.)
In the summer, the heating/cooling system reverses itself to carry heat out of the house. This reversal is what I was thinking of this morning as I began writing this, because it seems that our warming globe has done a sort of heating/cooling reverse this winter, dumping us in the eastern US with record snows and cold spells just when we’re all talking about global climate change, while the snow level in Vancouver was questionable for hosting Olympic events, up until the last minute (or so I heard.)
So nature has played a little trick us this year. Is it a meteorological trend? Or an aberration? Only time, future winters and summers, and the statistics will tell us. what is happening. Perhaps nature or Nature’s God (as Thomas Jefferson called him) is trying to tell us something: Just when you’ think youve got it all figured out, expect the unexpected anyway. That way, you can prepare for any eventuality. We don’t really know what the future holds.
But I do know this. Sunburn is a lot more rampant in my children’s generation than it was in the days of my childhood.  So something is going on with that ozone layer. I’m glad we’ve figured out enough about the effects of chlorine gas in the atmosphere to make some changes. Aren’t you?
Another thing I’ve noticed recently is, (not to change the subject or anything): times are harder now than they were a few years ago. Who knows what will happen with the money situation?  Not me. But consider this: if you haven’t yet figured out what to do with your life, you should take a look around and find out what needs to be done to keep this old planet and all its people and machines and ecosystems humming. And if you see something that needs to be done, do it. And if you don’t know how to do it, it’s time you learned. Either way, get busy. Don’t be waitin’ for no bailout.


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