Safety First When Choosing a Refrigerant

Safety First When Choosing a Refrigerant

As refrigerant use practices are constantly evolving, particularly to establish which refrigerants are suitable for which applications, the European Fluorocarbons Technical Committee (EFCTC) has published a factsheet presenting objective basic accident and incident statistics for all refrigerants types, including alternative refrigerants and Fluorocarbons.

The factsheet presents the results of a non-comprehensive survey/collection of the global frequency of accidents due to refrigerant releases in the last eight years , in order to assess the safety of all refrigerants : fluorocarbons, ammonia (R-717), hydrocarbons (mainly propane R-290, propylene R-1270, butane R-600, isobutane R-600a ), and CO2 (carbon dioxide R-744).

It is widely recognized that refrigerants are selected on the basis of a number of criteria which include safety, energy efficiency and environmental impact.

Fluorocarbons (HFCs) have a favourable safety profile since they display low flammability and low toxicity characteristics.

Alternative refrigerants such as ammonia, hydrocarbons and CO2 are used on a much more limited basis than the fluorocarbons (HFCs) because they do not easily meet the currently applicable standards and local codes designed to provide safety in use for the general public, and to contribute to safe servicing and maintenance for engineers. It is, for example, well-known that ammonia is toxic, that hydrocarbons are extremely flammable and that CO2 is an asphyxiant that requires very high pressure to operate.

You can download the factsheet by clicking here


Fluorocarbons are used as feedstocks, as refrigerants, as solvents and as blowing agents for insulation plastic foams. The Sector Group’s main objective is to monitor the constantly changing legislation related to HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons), PFCs (perfluorinated carbons) and SF6 (sulphur hexafluoride), CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), in the EU and at global level.

This article is brought to you by Fridgehub – The online directory and information service for manufacturers, distributers, service providers, operators and consumers of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat-pump (RACHP) products and services.

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