Determine What Refrigerants You Use
Whether you are on the job or at your home, you are likely to encounter a situation where you need to know details about your refrigeration and air-conditioning (AC) equipment, including what refrigerant is used. Refrigeration/AC equipment has historically used refrigerants and/or insulating foam, which deplete the stratospheric ozone layer and contribute to global climate change.
The refrigerant used in your home air conditioner is typically listed on the unit’s nameplate. If there is no nameplate, check your owner’s manual or contact the person or company that sold or services your air conditioner. If you know the manufacturer and model number, you could also call the manufacturer or check its website.
“Freon” is a trademark name that has been used to refer to several different refrigerants, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) such as CFC-12, and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) such as HCFC-22, which is often referred to as “R-22.” Under the U.S. Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the United States phased out CFCs in the 1990s, and is currently phasing out HCFCs. These chemicals eventually reach the stratosphere where they deplete the stratospheric ozone layer.
Government regulations are very strict on what you can and can’t do with used refrigerants. The guidelines are set up to avoid the damaging effects refrigerants can have on the atmosphere. In general, if the refrigerant is not contaminated it can be recycled and reused. You can typically take the non contaminated refrigerant back to the wholesaler for exchange. If the refrigerant is contaminated, you’ll need to send it to a reclamation facility. At the reclamation facility they’ll separate the refrigerant into the individual component refrigerants or incinerate it in accordance with EPA guidelines. It’s important to make sure that during service, contractors and technicians capture all of the refrigerant so it is not released into the atmosphere.
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