EPA takes action against unapproved propane refrigerants

May 12, 2016 By    

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a warning about the safety hazards related to the use of propane in existing motor vehicle and home air-conditioning systems. The warning is directed at homeowners, manufacturers of propane-based refrigerants, home-improvement contractors and air-conditioning technicians.

According to EPA, a number of refrigerants with “22a” or “R-22a” in the name contain highly flammable hydrocarbons, such as propane, and are being marketed to consumers and contractors who want to recharge air-conditioning systems that are not designed to use propane or flammable refrigerants. EPA adds that using these refrigerants in systems that are not designed for them can create a fire or an explosion.

The agency plans to investigate instances where propane-based refrigerants have been illegally marketed and used as substitutes for HCFC-22 (R-22). EPA took enforcement action in several recent cases of unapproved marketing and sale of propane refrigerants.

“As the summer cooling season gets started, we want to make sure consumers and equipment owners know what is going into their system is safe,” says Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, in a press release.

EPA adds that it encourages technicians and contractors to consult its website for more information. EPA also recommends homeowners confirm that their air-conditioning service provider follows manufacturer recommendations.

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