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BESA repeats R290 competence concerns

UK: The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has called for all engineers working on R290 (propane) systems to receive appropriate specialised training for handling flammable refrigerants.

With the use of flammable refrigerant gases in air conditioning and heat pump systems increasing, BESA has alerted the industry to the safety risks

The association points out that there are currently no UK regulations governing the purchase and installation of systems using propane because, as a hydrocarbon, it falls outside the scope of the F-gas regulations.

Under new EU rules, stationary split air conditioning and heat pump equipment with capacities below 12kW will be required to use F-gases with a GWP below 150 from the start of 2027. For larger systems, the GWP will have to be below 750. This means the most commonly used refrigerants in these systems will be phased out to be replaced by R290 in many smaller systems. While the UK is not bound to EU legislation, it is expected to adopt the same rules because of its commitments, under the Montreal Protocol and Kigali Amendment, to minimise the global warming impact of refrigerant gases.

BESA says it recognises that R290 is a highly effective refrigerant that provides low GWP, high heat transfer performance, and low-pressure ratios which in turn cause fewer leaks. However, the association maintains that its high flammability poses a significant safety risk during installation, maintenance, and retrofitting.

It is, therefore, calling for all technicians and engineers working on R290 systems to receive appropriate specialised training for handling flammable refrigerants.

“Most properly qualified engineers could work perfectly safely with this gas, if they have undergone training that covers the specific technical challenges and risks of working with flammable gases,” commented BESA technical engineer Keegan Farrelly.

Related stories:

BESA calls for urgent review of refrigerant safety proposals7 September 2022
UK: The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has added its voice to concerns being raised across Europe that the F-gas revision proposals could increase the risk of accidents. Read more…

F-gas proposals risk equipment safety and efficiency – 27 August 2022
BELGIUM: AREA has warned that failing to ensure that only competent contractors can work with alternative refrigerants risks widespread safety hazards and inefficient equipment. Read more…

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