The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a caution regarding flammable refrigerants that every homeowner with an older (manufactured before 2000) cooling system should be aware of.
The EPA is alerting homeowners, manufacturers of propane-based refrigerants, contractors and technicians regarding safety hazards related to the use of propane in existing home AC systems. A number of refrigerants with “22a” or “R-22a” in the name contain highly flammable hydrocarbons, such as propane, and are being marketed to consumers and contractors seeking to recharge their existing home air conditioning systems that were not designed to use flammable refrigerants. Because these flammable refrigerants pose significant risk to public health and the environment, the EPA is encouraging homeowners to confirm that contractors follow manufacturers’ recommendations, and to be aware that recharging their cooling systems with the wrong refrigerant may void warranties on their systems.
This warning does not extend to those with newer (manufactured after 2000) Air Conditioning systems that utilize the environmentally-friendly – and non-flammable – “410a” refrigerants which have since become the industry standard; and it is suggested that in addition to the increased reliability & efficiency offered by the current generation of cooling systems, anyone with a “22a” refrigerant-based system should also factor the potential dangers of operating these older systems as part of a “should I upgrade” decision-making process.