PHOENIX, AZ — When an HVACR contractor needs his refrigerant tank emptied, he either pays a specialist to make a visit or he drops into a distributor, who provides such services and pays them to empty it.

In the Phoenix area, HVACR contractors have another option — thanks to the opening of, and services provided by, Efficient Cylinder Management Inc. (ECMI).

“It can be a painstaking process of identifying what’s in the tanks and how to properly dispose of it,” said Mike Walters, owner of ECMI-Phoenix. “Distributors need to charge quite a bit to turn a profit and contractors have the necessary evil of maintaining their tanks.”

ECMI’s plan is simple: When a tank is full, it will pick it up and give an empty one in return.

“You technically never need to own another tank ever again,” said Walters, who added, “or worry about working with expired tanks.”

For $12 a month per tank, Walters said ECMI will come out to the contractor’s place of business twice per month and exchange full tanks for empty ones.

“I compare it to having water bottles delivered to your home, but in reverse,” said Walters. “The water company picks up your empty bottles and leaves you with whatever desired number of full bottles you need. We’ll pick up your full tanks and leave you with empty ones. Our service delivers EPA compliance.”

According to Walters, ECMI provides 400-psi cylinders, rated to handle refrigerant 410A.

“410A is going to replace R-22, which only required a 350-psi tank,” said Walters. “There are far too many contractors out there taking the risk of collecting 410A refrigerant in their old 350-psi tanks. We can supply the 400-psi tanks without the contractor purchasing them.”

ECMI is also working with state-of-the-art equipment, designed to identify refrigerant in the field in 30 seconds.

In the plans are establishing national franchises, with the Phoenix location being the first. Currently running along with the Phoenix branch is a Tucson branch operated by Richard Paone-Ramos. Walters said plans are to open locations in Los Angeles, Dallas, Fort Worth, Chicago, and Charlotte, NC.

“We are a national company, but it’s important to us to establish local support within the market we enter,” said Scott Herberg, president of ECMI-Phoenix.

For more information, contact Mike Walters at ECMI-Phoenix, 602-272-1424, or

Publication date: 07/01/2002