The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is warning homeowners, wholesalers, contractors and all related personnel and companies of potential fire and explosion hazard related to the use of propane or other unapproved refrigerants in home air conditioning systems.
As R-22 being phased out and price increase (actually price has dropped more than 30% recently) in the future more and more R-22 substitutes are filling the market. Some of them contain propane or other flammable gas that makes it unsafe to use in regular residential systems. There have been explosion caused by flammable refrigerant inside and outside the country where individuals have been injured as a result. According to EPA, some of the names for unapproved refrigerant include R-290, 22a, 22-A, R-22a, HC-22a and CARE 40. Hydrocarbon refrigerant, refrigerant with propane or any refrigerant with any flammable gas should not be used in systems not designed to run those gases. Most if not all standard home a/c are not intended to run on those refrigerants therefore home owners must confirm with service personnel when additional refrigerant is needed for addition or replacement for their a/c system.
At this time, EPA has not approved the use of propane refrigerant or other hydrocarbon refrigerants in any type of air conditioners. EPA has only approved the use of propane as a substitute refrigerant for R-22 in industrial process refrigeration systems and in new, stand-alone retail food refrigerators and freezers that are specifically designed to use flammable hydrocarbon refrigerants. EPA's Significant New Alternative Policy Program has already listed numerous refrigerants as a R-22 replacement. More information about the program : http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/r22a.html
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