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
What are CFCs and HCFCs?
What can happen if improper refrigerant is used
in a refrigeration system?
What types of refrigerants are to be phased out
by the Clean Air Act in 2030?
What refrigerant has been developed to replace
Learning Objective: Recall the safety requirements
for handling and storage of refrigerants and refrigerant
Safety is always paramount and this is especially
true when you are working with refrigerants. Major
safety concerns are discussed in this section.
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
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
HANDLING AND STORAGE OF
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
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
Never tamper with safety devices in the cylinder
Never force connections that do not fit. Ensure
the cylinder valve outlet threads are the same as
what is being connected to it.