Kevin Lee: "The key to using these refrigerants is safety and a lot of training"

Kevin Lee: “The key to using these refrigerants is safety and a lot of training”

AUSTRALIA: The Australian refrigeration and air conditioning institute AIRAH has produced a video to promote the safe use of flammable refrigerants.

The video promotes the Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide, which AIRAH published last year, and emphasises the need for safety in all aspects of dealing with flammables.

With the world moving away from high GWP HFCs, engineers and end users are being increasingly confronted with flammable alternatives, whether hydrocarbons or the low GWP “mildly flammable” HFC and HFO alternatives.

Australia is seen to be at the forefront Flammable-Refrigerant-Safety-Guide-2013-1of developed countries adopting these new gases. Hydrocarbon refrigerants are broadly available in Australia and the low GWP fluorocarbons are available, or are expected to be available, in the near future.

Kevin Lee, global technical manager for refrigerant supplier Heatcraft Australia and chair of the Flammable Refrigerants Taskforce says: “The key to using these refrigerants is safety and a lot of training.”

Discussing the Flammable Refrigerants Guide, he says: “I personally feel it’s a vital document for the industry because of experience I’ve had myself. I have witnessed the aftermath of a flammable refrigerant accident.”

The video also hammers home the message that A2 and A3 flammable refrigerants are not suitable drop-in replacements for non-flammable A1 refrigerants.

“The system that was designed and manufactured for an A1 refrigerant will not have the electrics suitable for flammable refrigerants,” says Kevin Lee.

“So when we talk drop-in replacement refrigerants you should only change from one drop-in replacement refrigerant to another one of the same safety classification.”

The Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide covers the health and safety risks associated with the safe design, manufacture, supply, installation, conversion, commissioning, operation, maintenance, decommissioning, dismantling and disposal of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment and systems that use a flammable refrigerant.

The video can be watched here

The Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide can be downloaded here

It should be noted that while safety is always paramount, these documents relate to the current laws in Australia. The laws in other countries may differ as to the acceptability and restrictions on the use of flammable refrigerants.