by Brianna Crandall — July 4, 2016 — This past week, the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) published updates to two of its guidelines concerning safety and environmental issues for refrigerant containers (cylinders).
AHRI Guideline Q, Content Recovery and Proper Recycling of Refrigerant Cylinders
AHRI’s updates to AHRI Guideline Q, Content Recovery and Proper Recycling of Refrigerant Cylinders, include best practices for end-of-life recycling of flammable refrigerant containers.
AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek noted:
This guideline and the new additions are a critical part of the industry’s plan for the future of refrigerants. As flammable refrigerants are being introduced as low-global warming potential alternatives to refrigerants currently in use, it is critical that industry not only handle these refrigerants safely, but also recycle the containers properly.
Recommended practices for recycling containers for flammable refrigerants are different from those for non-flammable refrigerants, in that it involves using a non-sparking pick to prepare the container for recycling, points out AHRI.
As with all AHRI standards and guidelines, AHRI Guideline Q, Content Recovery and Proper Recycling of Refrigerant Cylinders, is free to download from the organization’s Web site.
AHRI Guideline N, Assignment of Refrigerant Container Colors
AHRI also announced significant changes to refrigerant paint color designations in the revised version of AHRI Guideline N, Assignment of Refrigerant Container Colors. Revisions now specify that all refrigerant containers should have one uniform paint color, a light-green grey (RAL 7044), and that existing individually assigned container paint colors should be transitioned to that color by 2020.
AHRI Guideline N previously stipulated that specific paint colors be used for refrigerant containers as an additional means of refrigerant identification. However, with the increasing number of refrigerants approved for use, there was concern over the potential misidentification of similarly colored containers. More than half of respondents to an AHRI survey of refrigerant handlers found that container colors had caused confusion. This confusion was likely to increase as new refrigerants are added to the market.
Maureen Beatty, who chairs the AHRI committee that oversaw the revision, commented:
Misidentifying refrigerants can lead to serious safety issues since refrigerants have different operating pressures and, in some cases, flammable properties. It can also cause equipment damage if refrigerants are used in the wrong applications. Therefore, we decided the best course of action for the industry was to update the guideline to ensure that refrigerants continue to be used correctly and safely based on the required product markings and labels.
The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 49 for hazmat transportation regulations and CFR Title 29 for occupational safety and health regulations require that all hazardous material containers, including refrigerant cylinders and drums, be properly labeled to clearly identify the contents, reminds AHRI. These container labels and markings should always be used as the primary means to identify the type of refrigerant in a container.
While AHRI guidelines serve as recommendations for industry and are not required by law, most industry members use Guideline N, and all refrigerant users should be aware that the label will now serve as the primary means of positively identifying the type of refrigerant in a cylinder or drum.
AHRI says it will continue to assign individual PMS ink colors for printed materials only, including the product label on containers and container cartons. The guideline already requires that all flammable refrigerants include a red band on top of the container.
AHRI Guideline N, Assignment of Refrigerant Container Colors, is free to download from the organization’s Web site.