AREA-flammable-guideBELGIUM: The European contractors’ body AREA has produced a guide to safety procedures and the equipment needed to handle flammable refrigerants.

With Europe already in the grip of an HFC phase down, and with the rest of the world likely to follow suit, flammable refrigerants are set to play an increasing role in the future.

The chemistry behind the new synthetic refrigerants means that any of the lower GWP refrigerants are going to be flammable to some degree. Already we are seeing the introduction of air conditioners using R32 and stationary systems and mobile systems using the HFO R1234yf. Both are “mildly flammable” A2L refrigerants and, although difficult to ignite, do require special knowledge and treatment. This includes special service tools, specifically designed for flammable refrigerants

“This summer we will see a wide use of low flammable refrigerants, even more will follow due to the EU phase down of HFCs and the likely global agreement,” commented AREA vice-president Marco Buoni. “So due to AREA’s role as the European and international association for the air conditioning and refrigeration service engineer, we have decided to give advice on the use of the equipment to safely handle those new refrigerants.”

This new guide gives service technicians a tool to understand the equipment that should be used to service refrigeration plants containing flammable low GWP A2L refrigerants as well as the A3 higher flammability hydrocarbon refrigerants.

This latest document is free to download here. 

It follows on from, and complements, the earlier AREA guide for the competence of the personnel: Guidance on minimum requirements for contractors’ training & certification.

For those experiencing temporary difficulties connecting to the AREA website, a copy of the flammables guide can be downloaded here.