HFCs And The Safety Issue

February 1, 2003
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HFC refrigerants were extensively tested prior to introduction. According to refrigerant manufacturer DuPont, HFCs “are as safe as, or safer than, the refrigerants they replace.”

However, the company recommends that “Anyone working with refrigerants should always follow these safety tips.”

Storage Safety

  • Store the refrigerants in a clean, dry area, out of direct sunlight. Never heat cylinders above 125 degrees F. (51.7 degrees C).

  • Never pressurize systems or vessels containing HFC refrigerants with air, for leak testing or any other purpose.

    Personal Safety

  • Wear appropriate clothing such as gloves and eye protection when handling any refrigerant.

  • Avoid contact with liquid refrigerant; frostbite may occur.

  • Avoid exposure to vapors through spills or leaks.

  • Evacuate the area if a large spill occurs. Return only after the area has been properly ventilated.

    Cylinder Safety

  • Never tamper with cylinder valves or pressure relief devices.

  • Never refill disposable cylinders with anything. Do not use disposable refrigerant cylinders as compressed air tanks.

  • Make sure that the cylinder label matches the color code.

  • Avoid rough handling of refrigerant cylinders.

    Charging Safety

  • Verify that the system has been completely evacuated with a vacuum pump before cutting any lines.

  • Before welding or brazing, evacuate the equipment and then break the vacuum with air or nitrogen. Do not perform any repair on pressurized equipment.

  • Always ventilate the work area before using open flames.

  • Verify proper cylinder hookup to the system.

  • Open the cylinder valves slowly.

  • Refer to the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and the manufacturer’s or supplier’s written information prior to handling and use.

    For additional information, visit www.dupont.com.

    Publication date: 02/03/2003

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