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Refrigeration chemicals are a nightmare for the climate. Experts say alternatives must spread fast

Refrigerants are chemical fluids that have made air conditioning and refrigeration possible, but they are hundreds or even thousands of times more powerful at warming the planet than carbon dioxide, the most notorious greenhouse gas

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — When Jennifer Byrne, owner and technician at Comfy Heating and Cooling, gets a call to come and fix a relatively new air conditioning system, one of the first questions she asks is if the house has just been remodeled.

Here in West Philadelphia, Byrne has found shoddy renovations where installers skip steps such as pressure testing after installation. That can result in ice buildup and leaks of the chemicals that cool, called refrigerants.

“This problem is extremely frequent around here. Usually people tell you they bought a house that was flipped and all kinds of things are wrong, like the AC is freezing,” Byrne said, referring to the ice buildup.

"Trying to get it done as cheaply as possible,” she added, as she hauled equipment out of her truck.