July 23, 2014: EPA Warns Against Charging A/C Units with Propane-Based Refrigerants
Using Such Refrigerants in an Existing Air Conditioner Poses Risk of Fire or Explosion
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a warning to consumers, contractors, and technicians about the safety hazards related to charging existing home and motor vehicle air conditioning systems with propane-based refrigerants.
EPA said a number of refrigerants with “22a” or “R-22a” in the name contain highly flammable hydrocarbons, such as propane. These refrigerants are being marketed to consumers seeking to recharge existing home and motor vehicle air conditioning systems that were not designed to use propane or other flammable refrigerants. EPA noted that these refrigerants have never been submitted to the agency for review of their health and environmental impacts and are not approved for use in existing air conditioning systems.
Using propane-based refrigerant in an air conditioner that is not designed for flammable refrigerants poses a threat to consumers as well as service technicians because systems that are recharged with “22a” refrigerants can catch fire or explode resulting in injury and property damage. EPA said it is investigating instances where propane-based refrigerants have been marketed and used as a substitute for R-22 and will take enforcement actions where appropriate.
Questions and answers about R-22a can be found at www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/r22a.html
Publication date: 7/21/2014