EUROPE: The leading European air conditioning and refrigeration associations are behind a new document warning of the consequences of buying refrigerant from unsafe sources.
With the European market swamped with cheap, illegal refrigerant, the contractors association AREA, refrigeration component manufacturers group ASERCOM, refrigerant producers organisation EFCTC, and EPEE, the European Partnership for Energy & the Environment, have joined together to produce Protect your business: buy refrigerant from safe sources.
The new leaflet gives a brief overview on how to distinguish safe sources from illegal ones and how to recognise illegal refrigerants.
It warns that the risks of buying illegal refrigerant are high and range from hefty fines to risks for health and safety for installers and users.
There have been reports that the illegal material can be, at best, out of specification or, at worst, badly contaminated. Out of specification product can contain unacceptably high levels of moisture, oil or other non-condensibles that can affect system performance, leading to loss of capacity, reduced energy efficiency, higher operational cost and equipment failures. Use of highly contaminated or counterfeit product could be dangerous and potentially fatal.
The leaflet also warns of the environmental impact of the illegal trade: it undermines the F-gas regulation’s aim to phase down HFCs and increases the risks of refrigerant leakage to atmosphere through the use of inadequate cylinders, or illegal disposable cylinders.
It recommends that refrigerant should only be purchased from a reputable distributor, to avoid purchases from internet platforms and not to buy refrigerants in disposable cylinders which are banned in the EU.
The document also suggests that if the price offered by a supplier is unusually low the customer should be prepared to check for other indicators including cylinder markings and labelling and safety documentation.
The document will be available from all the relevant associations. ASERCOM has posted copies in English, French, German and Italian here.