Quantcast Refrigerant Safety

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January  2000.  Depending  on  the  rate  of  depletion  of the ozone layer, these timetables could be accelerated. As a result of the Clean Air Act of 1990, there has been a determined effort by manufacturers to develop alternative  refrigerants  to  replace  those  to  be discontinued. CFCs, R-11, and R-12, primarily used in chillers, residential, and automotive refrigeration, can be  substituted  with  HCFC  R-123  and  HFC  R-134a. Future replacements include HCFC R-124 in place of CFC,  R-114,  in  marine  chillers,  and  HFC  R-125,  in place of CFC R-502, used in stores and supermarkets. These   replacement   refrigerants   have   slightly different  chemical  and  physical  properties;  thus  they cannot just be "dropped" into a system designed to use CFCs.   Loss   of   efficiency   and   improper   operation could be the result. When changing the refrigerant in an  existing  system,  parts  of  the  system  specifically designed to operate with a CFC refrigerant may need to be  replaced  or  retrofitted  to  accommodate  the  new refrigerant. Q13. What are CFCs and HCFCs? Q14. What can happen if improper refrigerant is used in a refrigeration system? Q15. What types of refrigerants are to be phased out by the Clean Air Act in 2030? Q16. What refrigerant has been developed to replace R-12? REFRIGERANT  SAFETY Learning Objective:   Recall the safety requirements for handling and storage of refrigerants and refrigerant cylinders. Safety is always paramount and this is especially true  when  you  are  working  with  refrigerants.  Major safety concerns are discussed in this section. PERSONAL   PROTECTION Since  R-12,  R-22,  and  R-502  are  nontoxic,  you will not have to wear a gas mask; however, you must protect  your  eyes  by  wearing  splashproof  goggles  to guard  against  liquid  refrigerant  freezing  the  moisture of  your  eyes. When  liquid  R-12,  R-22,  and  R-502 contact the eyes, get the injured person to the medical officer  at  once.  Avoid  rubbing  or  irritating  the  eyes. Give the following first aid immediately: Drop sterile mineral oil into the eyes and irrigate them. Wash the eyes when irrigation continues with a weak boric acid solution or a sterile salt solution not to exceed 2 percent salt. Should  the  refrigerant  contact  the  skin,  flush  the affected  area  repeatedly  with  water.  Strip refrigerant-saturated clothing from the body, wash the skin with water, and take the patient immediately to the dispensary.  Should  a  person  be  overcome  in  a  space which  lacks  oxygen  due  to  a  high  concentration  of refrigerant,  treat  the  victim  as  a  person  who  has experienced   suffocation;   render   assistance   through artificial  respiration. HANDLING  AND  STORAGE  OF REFRIGERANT  CYLINDERS Handling  and  storage  of  refrigerant  cylinders  are similar  to  handling  and  storage  of  any  other  type  of compressed gas cylinders. When handling and storing cylinders, keep the following rules in mind: Open valves slowly; never use any tools except those approved by the manufacturer. Keep the cylinder cap on the cylinder unless the cylinder is in use. When refrigerant is discharged from a cylinder, immediately weigh the cylinder. Record the weight of the refrigerant remaining in the  cylinder. Ensure   only   regulators   and   pressure   gauges designed  for  the  particular  refrigerant  in  the cylinder are used. Do   use   different   refrigerants   in   the   same regulator  or  gauges. Never  drop  cylinders  or  permit  them  to  strike each other violently. Never use a lifting magnet or a sling. A crane may be used when a safe cradle is provided to hold the cylinders. Never use cylinders for any other purpose than to carry refrigerants. Never tamper with safety devices in the cylinder valves. Never force connections that do not fit. Ensure the cylinder valve outlet threads are the same as what is being connected to it. 6-22

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