Category : AC Service
The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) has issued an urgent warning regarding R134A supplies.
The warning pertains to the possible contamination of R134 refrigerant cylinders. They recommend testing all cylinders with a reliable tester that are expected to be pure R134 to confirm that it is. According to several reputable sources, many cylinders have been found to be contaminated with and have counterfeit labeling.
This can be more serious than just a case of the refrigerant not working. There have been fatalities reported due to this issue. Most reports of contamination come from refrigerants coming from overseas. The most frequent contaminant has been found to be R-40 (Methyl Chloride). This is the worst possible contaminant. This compound is very flammable, toxic, and highly reactive when it is combined with aluminum. This is where the safety concern occurs. Any system that contains aluminum could lead to catastrophic consequences.
Some 30 lb. R134A containers have also been found to contain some R-12 and R-22 as well. All cylinders must read 100% on any approved refrigerant tester. Some contaminated cylinders were found to contain up to 40% of non R134A contaminants.
The Automotive repair industry has been dealing with constant changes to the refrigerant options for several decades now. Increasing regulation has forced the use of newer and more “environmentally friendly” refrigerants that are less harmful to the atmosphere. Now comes news that one of the new approved refrigerants, HFO-1234yf, will have onerous use rules attached to it. Companies and entities intending to use it, produce it, or transport it will be required to notify the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of their intended interaction with the refrigerant 90 days beforehand. The EPA states that the reason for this is because of the new refrigerant is considered hazardous. The EPA wants this added time to evaluate the intended use or interaction to assure that the interaction would not lead to an unsafe consequence.
One concern is that DIY users may not know how to properly handle this new, more hazardous substance. These users may be lead to believe that it can be handled much in the same way that it’s predecessors (R12 and R134a) were handled. The problem is that HFO-1234yf has much greater flammability properties.
Some argue that In the zeal to make us all safer in one aspect of the refrigerant process, the regulators and politicians have just made us less safe in other aspects. If a vehicle is involved in an automobile accident, this new refrigerant has a much greater likelihood to explode, or catch fire.
Another aspect is that technicians will need to be trained on the proper handling proceedures for this new refrigerant. Auto shop owners will need to purchase a new compliant AC Service Machine to handle the refrigerant as well. Just another expense for those struggling small business owners. Consumers will be shelling out more money as well, because this new refrigerant has a significantly higher cost.
What do you think? Is the rush to mandate new refrigerants worth all of the added burdens and costs?
The quest to find an alternative AC refrigerant for automotive Air conditioning systems is growing legs as GM is the latest auto manufacturer to announce that it will be using a new refrigerant, HF-1234yf, in many of their main auto models. The move is going to happen in 2013, as numerous models will make the shift, including mainstays such as Cadillac, Chevy and Buick cars.
The new refrigerant is HF-1234yf, and has been created by Honeywell.
Manufacturers are searching for a more environmentally friendly alternative to R134A, which has been in use for nearly two decades. This new refrigerant is 97% better for the environment. It is proven to have lower lifetime GHG emissions than HFC-134a or CO2. It also requires only minor modifications to current vehicle AC systems, compared to some other new refrigerants, which require a higher pressurized system.
Before R134A, R-12 was the refrigerant of choice for decades. The new refrigerant breaks down much quicker than R134A, which means less ozone depleting properties. Auto manufacturers are scrambling to come up with viable alternative to meet new, and increasingly strict EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulations on greenhouse gas production. The EPA just recently approved the use of this new refrigerant in February 2011. So the next time your car is up on the Garage Lift at the local auto shop, you may be a candidate for this new product.
Summer is coming sooner than you realize, and one of the most common services technicians perform during the warmer months is AC system service. It can be a profitable service for the repair shop owner, and a vital service for the customer. But it is more important than ever to assure that the service is performed properly, as government regulations are becoming more strict each year. Add to that the increasing cost of refrigerant, and there’s plenty of reasons why you don’t want to let any escape into the atmosphere. Another major concern is mixing refrigerants.
(MACS) the Mobile Air Conditioning Society has issued a reminder for all technicians across the globe to use a refrigerant identifier when servicing an AC system to make sure the improper mixing of refrigerants does not occur, and to assure of the purity of your refrigerant. The standard that AC Service Systems must conform to these days is SAE J-1771. If you don’t verify the refrigerant, you risk contaminating systems, and having a costly headache on your hands. If an improper refrigerant is introduced to a vehicle’s AC system, you risk anything from minor, to severe issues, including reduced cooling capability, corrosion of hoses and seals, up to and including total system failure.
We carry two different manufacturers of AC Service Machine, YellowJacket and RTI. They are packed full of features, boast the finest quality, and are affordably priced. Both are made in the USA, are durable, reliable, and accurate. And both comply with SAE standards. Check them out.