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Chapter 8. Refrigerant Management. Objectives. After completing the material in this chapter, the student should be able to: List the desired properties for refrigerants. Explain the characteristics of hydrocarbons. Explain how a refrigerant becomes halogenated.

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Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Refrigerant Management


  • After completing the material in this chapter, the student should be able to:

    • List the desired properties for refrigerants.

    • Explain the characteristics of hydrocarbons.

    • Explain how a refrigerant becomes halogenated.

    • Explain the chemical elements that make up CFC, HC, HCFC, and HFC refrigerants.

    • Differentiate between azeotropic, near-azeotropic, and zeotropic refrigerant blends.

    • Explain how ozone protects the Earth.

    • Explain the difference between good and bad ozone.


  • After completing the material in this chapter, the student should be able to:

    • Explain how ozone is destroyed.

    • Explain the concept of global warming.

    • Interpret ozone depletion potentials (ODP) and global warming potentials (GWP).

    • Determine the proper oil to use with various types of refrigerant.

    • Differentiate between reusable and disposable refrigerant cylinders.

    • Obey laws regarding certification and refrigerant handling.


  • After completing the material in this chapter, the student should be able to:

    • Differentiate between Type I, Type II, Type III, and Universal certification.

    • Differentiate between refrigerant recovering, recycling, and reclaiming.

    • Demonstrate passive and active recovery methods.

    • Demonstrate methods to recycle refrigerant.

Refrigerant types
Refrigerant Types

  • Environmentally friendly

  • Non-toxic

  • Non-flammable

  • Chemically stable

  • Recyclable

  • Relative low cost

  • Detectable at low concentrations

Ethane and methane
Ethane and Methane

  • Most refrigerants in use today originate from one of these two base molecules.

  • Methane and ethane are referred to as pure hydrocarbons.

    • Pure hydrocarbons contain only hydrogen and carbon.

    • Other hydrocarbons include propane and butane.

Ethane and methane1
Ethane and Methane

  • (A) Methane molecule (B) Ethane molecule

Classes of refrigerants in use today
Classes of Refrigerants in Use Today

  • Hydrocarbons (HC)

  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC)

  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC)

  • Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC)

Ozone depletion
Ozone Depletion

  • Skin cancer.

  • Eye-related issues, including cataracts.

  • Decreased plant growth rates.

  • Compromised immune systems.

Ozone depletion1

Atmospheric regions

Ozone Depletion

Global warming
Global Warming

  • Also referred to as the greenhouse effect.

  • Earth’s inability to release heat by radiation back to the atmosphere.

Ozone depletion potential odp
Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP)

  • CFC refrigerants have high ozone depletion potentials.

  • HCFC refrigerants have lower ozone depletion potentials.

  • HFC and HC refrigerants have an ozone depletion potential of zero.

Global warming potential gwp
Global Warming Potential (GWP)

  • CFC refrigerants have high global warming potentials.

  • HCFC refrigerants have lower global warming potentials.

  • HC refrigerants have low global warming potentials.

  • HFC refrigerants have very low global warming potentials.

Refrigerant oils
Refrigerant Oils

  • Alkylbenzenes

  • Glycols

  • Esters

Refrigerant cylinders
Refrigerant Cylinders

  • Disposable refrigerant cylinders

  • Reusable refrigerant cylinders

  • Recovery cylinders

Refrigerant cylinders1
Refrigerant Cylinders

  • Disposable refrigerant cylinder (Photo by Eugene Silberstein).

Refrigerant cylinders2
Refrigerant Cylinders

  • Reusable refrigerant cylinders.

Refrigerant handling
Refrigerant Handling

  • Always be thoroughly familiar with surroundings.

  • Wear personal protection equipment (PPE) including safety glasses, gloves, and protective clothing.

  • Recovered refrigerant may be acidic. BE CAREFUL.

  • Do not inhale refrigerant vapors.

Refrigerant handling1
Refrigerant Handling

  • When possible, work in well-ventilated areas.

  • Refrigerant containers should never be filled to more than 80% capacity.

  • Always secure cylinders before transporting.

  • Properly label all refrigerant cylinders.

Refrigerant handling2
Refrigerant Handling

  • Store tanks in a cool, dry place.

  • Always maintain equipment and tools including recovery equipment, gauges, hoses, and refrigerant cylinders.

  • Dedicate hoses for use with specific refrigerants to reduce cross-contamination.

  • Change oil and filters regularly on recovery equipment.

Epa type 608 certification
EPA Type 608 Certification

  • Type I – Small Appliances

  • Type II – High-Pressure and Very-High- Pressure Appliances

  • Type III – Low-Pressure Appliances

  • Universal – Type I, Type II, and Type III

Refrigerant recovery
Refrigerant Recovery

  • Passive recovery:

    • Uses the system compressor to pump the refrigerant from the system to an approved DOT refrigerant cylinder

  • Active recovery:

    • When the system contains more than 15 pounds of refrigerant or if the system compressor is inoperative

Refrigerant recovery1
Refrigerant Recovery

  • Setup for passive refrigerant activity.

Recovered refrigerant identification

Active recovery setup with moisture indicator and filter installed.

Recovered Refrigerant Identification

Summary installed.

  • Refrigerants should be environmentally safe, non-toxic, non-flammable, and chemically stable.

  • Halogen refrigerants are created when some hydrogen atoms are replaced with chlorine or fluorine atoms.

  • Hydrocarbons (HC) contain only hydrogen and carbon.

  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) contain only hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon.

  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) contain only chlorine, fluorine, and carbon.

Summary installed.

  • Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) contain only hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine, and carbon.

  • Blended refrigerants are mixtures of two or more other refrigerants and can be azeotropic, near-azeotropic, or zeotropic.

  • Stratospheric ozone protects the Earth from ultraviolet radiation.

  • Ozone molecules are destroyed by chlorine.

  • Chemical substances are rated by their ozone depletion potentials (ODP) and their global warming potentials (GWP).

Summary installed.

  • CFCs have high ODPs, while HFCs and HCs have low ODPs.

  • Synthetic oils can be alkylbenzenes, glycols, and esters.

  • Refrigerant cylinders are color-coded and can be reusable or disposable.

  • The Montreal Protocol Act paved the way for a number of regulations regarding refrigerant handling.

  • Technicians must be certified as per EPA Section 608 guidelines.

Summary installed.

  • Refrigerant can be recovered, recycled, or reclaimed.

  • Recovery involves the removal and storage of the refrigerant.

  • Recycling involves the filtering of refrigerant prior to reintroducing it to the system.

  • Reclaiming involves restoring the refrigerant to ARI 700 standards.