The manufacture and use of CFCs has been banned or severely restricted due to concerns about ozone depletion (see also Montreal Protocol). In light of these environmental concerns, beginning on November 14, 1994, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has restricted the sale, possession and use of refrigerant to only licensed technicians, per rules under sections 608 and 609 of the Clean Air Act.
R22 (also known as HCFC-22) has a global warming potential about 1,800 times higher than CO2. It was phased out for use in new equipment by 2010, and is to be completely discontinued by 2020. Although these gasses can be recycled when air conditioning units are disposed of, uncontrolled dumping and leaking can release gas directly into the atmosphere.
The selection of the working fluids (refrigerants) has a significant impact not only on the performance of the air conditioners but on the environment as well. Most refrigerants used for air conditioning contribute to global warming, and many also deplete the ozone layer. CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs are potent greenhouse gases when leaked to the atmosphere.
High-efficiency condensing furnaces (90% AFUE and above) are a bit more complex than conventional furnaces. The main differences between a conventional and condensing furnace are the heat exchanger technology used to extract heat from the combustion process and the method used to exhaust the combustion gases. In these ways, the furnaces are very different. The condensing furnace does not have a significantly more efficient combustion process than does a conventional furnace; both use gas burners with electronic ignition. The difference lies in that the condensing furnace has a more efficient heat extraction process after combustion.