MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) launched its fourth annual consumer safety awareness campaign to warn Canadians about the risks of using flammable hydrocarbon refrigerants in home and business air conditioning systems. The campaign provides the public with important safety information about do-it-yourself (DIY) kits containing flammable hydrocarbon refrigerants that are being offered by major retailers to home and business owners.

“Retailers are aggressively selling these DIY kits that contain the propane used in a BBQ tank as a replacement refrigerant for home or business air conditioning systems,” said Warren Heeley, president of HRAI. “With the air conditioning season nearly here, Canadians need to know that flammable refrigerants used in home or business air conditioning systems can create the potential for a serious explosion and fire, which could result in injury or death.”

In May 2013, HRAI approached the Ontario Office of Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) to seek action on this potentially hazardous product and the hazard it could cause for fire personnel. As a result of these discussions with OFMEM, a communiqué was sent out in September 2013 by OFMEM detailing the fire marshals’ safety concerns and risks associated with this product being sold to consumers. HRAI is now taking these concerns to the Canadian Council of Fire Marshalls and Fire Commissioners.

This year’s campaign covers the risk factors that consumers should be aware of when considering the purchase of these hydrocarbon refrigerant kits. In addition to the potential for fire and explosion, these refrigerants are not approved for use in air conditioning equipment already installed in the home or business, and their use could cause environmental damage if the existing refrigerants in these systems are not properly recovered.

Consumers should ask themselves if it is worth the risk to place their families, business colleagues, and the environment in potential danger by using these DIY kits or if they should use a qualified air conditioning technician?

Consumers can learn more about air conditioning and locating a qualified technician to service their air conditioning systems by going to the consumer section of the HRAI website at www.hrai.ca/educationcentre.html, the HRAI YouTube channel, or calling 877-467-4724.

Publication date: 6/23/2014

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