In variable climates, the system may include a reversing valve that switches from heating in winter to cooling in summer. By reversing the flow of refrigerant, the heat pump refrigeration cycle is changed from cooling to heating or vice versa. This allows a facility to be heated and cooled by a single piece of equipment by the same means, and with the same hardware.
Modern refrigerants have been developed to be more environmentally safe than many of the early chlorofluorocarbon-based refrigerants used in the early- and mid-twentieth century. These include HCFCs (R-22, as used in most U.S. homes before 2011) and HFCs (R-134a, used in most cars) have replaced most CFC use. HCFCs, in turn, are supposed to have been in the process of being phased out under the Montreal Protocol and replaced by HFCs such as R-410A, which lack chlorine. HFCs, however, contribute to climate change problems. Moreover, policy and political influence by corporate executives resisted change. Corporations insisted that no alternatives to HFCs existed. The environmental organization Greenpeace provided funding to a former East German refrigerator company to research an alternative ozone- and climate-safe refrigerant in 1992. The company developed a hydrocarbon mix of isopentane and isobutane, but as a condition of the contract with Greenpeace could not patent the technology, which led to its widespread adoption by other firms. Their activist marketing first in Germany led to companies like Whirlpool, Bosch, and later LG and others to incorporate the technology throughout Europe, then Asia, although the corporate executives resisted in Latin America, so that it arrived in Argentina produced by a domestic firm in 2003, and then finally with giant Bosch's production in Brazil by 2004.
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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.