The Role of HVACR Professionals in Climate Action
HVACR technicians are at the forefront of environmental protection, especially in managing refrigerants. The stakes are high: the leakage of a single kilogram of HFC refrigerant equals the carbon dioxide emissions of several thousand kilograms. With the increasing adoption of heat pumps for temperature regulation, it’s imperative to focus on the effective recovery, recycling, and reclaiming of refrigerants – the critical “three R’s” – throughout all seasons.
Transition from A1 to A2L Refrigerants
By January 1, 2025, the American Environmental Protection Agency aims to phase out high global warming potential (GWP) A1 refrigerants in new equipment. This phase-out includes common refrigerants such as R134a, R404A, and R410A. The efficient recovery and recycling of these substances are vital to reduce their release into the atmosphere and to maintain a supply for existing A1 systems. As A1 refrigerants dwindle, their recycling and reclaiming become key to managing cost surges.
The industry is pivoting towards low GWP A2L refrigerants like R-32 and R454B. Despite being mildly flammable, they are less likely to ignite, which demands the use of A2L-specific tools and equipment for safe handling.
Best Practices for Refrigerant Recovery
Safety is the top priority. Technicians must use protective gear, including gloves, safety glasses, and appropriate clothing. Identifying the refrigerant type is essential to select the correct recovery cylinder, which should not be filled beyond 80% capacity. This is monitored using a tool such as our digital scale.
For effective refrigerant recovery, the RR recovery machine with A2L ATEX certificate is recommended. It accommodates both liquid and vapor recovery, making the process more efficient.
Understanding Recycled and Reclaimed Refrigerant
Recycled refrigerants are cleaned on-site and restricted to the same job site. These should not be stored beyond twelve months. Local HVAC supply houses often assist in gathering these for certified reclaiming.
Reclaimed refrigerant, processed to meet the AHRI 700 standards, undergoes thorough cleaning by certified reclaimers. This process ensures it matches the purity standards of new refrigerants. As the production of A1 refrigerants decreases, reclaimed refrigerants play an increasingly significant role.
For HVACR technicians, mastering refrigerant management is crucial. Using the right equipment and following established processes not only conserves the environment but also ensures a consistent supply of recycled and reclaimed refrigerants.