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Old 08-28-2013, 05:30 PM   #1
jmp6889928
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Default Refrigerant Question-should I use propane based refrigerant replacement?

There was a controversy over on LGT regarding the use of propane based materials in A/C systems as refrigerant. I posted the information below and thought it might be a good thing to post here as well.

I made contact with MACS (Mobile Air Conditioning Society) who is the sanctioning body for certification of repair facilities in states that require a certification in order to do A/C work. We've had a rather lengthy discussion in a couple of threads regarding the use of propane based materials in A/C systems and here is the response to my question as to whether or not it's recommended and/or safe to use a propane based refrigerant replacement. The answers are penned by the president of MACS, Elvis Hoffpauir and the manager of service training Paul DeGuiseppi.


From: Marion <marion@macsw.org>
Date: August 27, 2013, 3:24:56 PM EDT
To: 'John Peirce' <jpeirce@agscompany.com>
Cc: <elvis@macsw.org>, <paul@macsw.org>
Subject: RE: Enviro-Safe Refrigerant

Hi John:

Here are two replies from our president, Elvis Hoffpauir and Paul DeGuiseppi our manager of service training:

John,

See this link for recent EPA warning about propane and other unapproved refrigerants: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress...0!OpenDocument
While this release deals specifically with home air conditioning systems, note the statement in the fifth paragraph of the release: “At this time, EPA has not approved the use of propane refrigerant or other hydrocarbon refrigerants in any type of air conditioner.”

Dating back to the industry’s transition from R-12 to R-134a, MACS has taken a leading role in warning the industry against using these unapproved and dangerous substitutes.

The MACS Section 609 Certification Manual contains these warnings:

Caution: If the refrigerant contains flammable sub*stances, such as propane and butane, a fire or explosion could occur if the refrigerant is exposed to an ignition source within the equipment. Recovery equipment that has been certified for use with CFC-12 or HFC-134a is not approved for use with a flammable refrigerant and may become a safety hazard if used. Make sure you determine if features have been incorporated into your equipment to guard against these hazards.

WARNING
If your refrigerant identifier shows an indication of “HC” or “hydrocarbon,” take extra caution.
These gases, (propane, butane, or others) are high*ly flammable and explosive. Take extreme care to contain these chemicals properly and recover them without leakage.

In spite of our best efforts, some hobbyists and DIYers cannot be convinced of the potential danger.

I remember a few years back when a hobbyist’s antique vehicle burst into flames when a spark ignited the propane he had installed in his vehicle A/C. A refrigerant line had been rubbed through, venting the refrigerant.

After putting out the fire with the help of his buddies, the hobbyist confirmed that he had used a hydrocarbon refrigerant, defended it as the best thing since sliced bread, and said he would use it again in a heartbeat.

Go figure.

Regards,

Elvis

Envirosafe is a flammable blend of hydrocarbons.

It is illegal to install it as a replacement for R12 in all 50 states; it is illegal to install it as a replacement for any mobile A/C system refrigerant in 19 states, plus Washington DC. It is legal to sell and posses it anywhere in the country; just illegal to install it as a mobile A/C system refrigerant as noted above.

It is essentially the same composition as Duracool, RedTek, MaxiFrig, etc., etc., etc. (all Canadian companies, where most provinces currently have no ban on its usage as a mobile A/C system refrigerant.

It is not approved for use by any vehicle, system or component manufacturer, and virtually all vehicle, system and component manufacturers, as well as virtually all tool and equipment manufacturers, will not honor any warranty claims on any system, component or equipment that it has passed through.

It cannot be recycled for re-installation in the shop.


Paul



Marion J. Posen
VP Sales and Marketing
MACS Worldwide

225 S. Broad Street
Lansdale, PA 19446
215/631-7020 x 304
215/631-7017 FAX
twitter.com/MACS_Worldwide




If you choose to go ahead and use one of these refrigerant replacements, I would very closely look at the label and then consider what your state's regulations are. One thing I can guarantee is that if you do put this in your system and then for some reason have to go to a service facility where they need to recover your system, the facility is NOT going to be happy if they pull that crap into their machine. It will contaminate any refrigerant that is currently in their machine and can do damage to some of the equipment.


As I said before, to put a gas that I use in my PROPANE TORCH in your A/C system as a refrigerant is just plain not terribly intelligent. Irregardless of what the can says on it, the information above clearly states what is and is not approved to be used as refrigerants and anything with hydrocarbons (read-FLAMMABLE) is not to be placed inside of a closed system where pressure and heat are applied.



As before, do what you wish with your own car, but these people are the cutting edge of mobile air conditioning systems and have absolutely the latest information regarding the entire industry.


Good luck.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:41 PM   #2
Jack
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Boom.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:43 PM   #3
Cocoa Beach Bum
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The EU has banned R-134a from use in new model cars. Daimler contends that the new stuff (made by Honeywell) can catch fire in an accident and has been fighting a battle with France to get certain of its new models registered there. Details at http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...51156542,d.cWc

http://www.honeywell-refrigerants.co...f-refrigerant/

Last edited by Cocoa Beach Bum; 08-28-2013 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:38 PM   #4
jmp6889928
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cocoa Beach Bum View Post
The EU has banned R-134a from use in new model cars. Daimler contends that the new stuff (made by Honeywell) can catch fire in an accident and has been fighting a battle with France to get certain of its new models registered there. Details at http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...51156542,d.cWc

http://www.honeywell-refrigerants.co...f-refrigerant/
Daimler has a video of an actual explosion with R1234yf although it was put together in some rather unorthodox circumstances.

VW/Porsche/Audi is experimenting with CO2 as they also don't want to use the new R1234yf either. Several other companies-BMW being one, are also going to see an alternative.

There are 2 cars in the US with R1234yf-one is a Cadillac model (can't recall exactly which one) and I can't recall the other. Unfortunately, I believe we're going to get it whether we want it or not. (R1234yf=Obamacare for Automobiles)
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Old 08-28-2013, 09:47 PM   #5
bondosgto
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Why not us ammonia?
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:00 PM   #6
jmp6889928
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bondosgto View Post
Why not us ammonia?
I don't know for sure. Perhaps ammonia is corrosive to aluminum parts or the amount required would be huge? I honestly don't know.
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:30 PM   #7
aerosaaber
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The tanks I use to play paintball have up to 4500psi in them. People have been known to put a drop of oil into the tank to stop a slight leak at the fill point. When paintball tanks used pure nitrogen that wasn't an issue BUT now it's just compressed air which is about 20% oxygen. So 4500psi + a bit of flammable oil + just the right conditions leads to the tank exploding.
here's a box of tanks that were purposely overfilled to see what they could handle before bursting (testing requirement done by the manufacturer) I seem to recall the pressure being something like 20,000psi.


Here's the aftermath of a tank w/ a bit of oil in it, looks like the regulator/threads for the regulator failed first hence the different look.


burned hand, jersey pics in link form.
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n...5/DSC00133.jpg

http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n...72015/oil3.jpg
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n...2015/oil2g.jpg
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n...5/DSC00135.jpg
The player was knocked unconscious, had a broken and badly burned hand and obviously won't be putting oil in his tank (he may have never put it in, someone else might have done it to "help him out")

You have to be VERY careful when you are talking about pressure and flammable stuff.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:31 AM   #8
jmp6889928
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aerosaaber View Post
The tanks I use to play paintball have up to 4500psi in them. People have been known to put a drop of oil into the tank to stop a slight leak at the fill point. When paintball tanks used pure nitrogen that wasn't an issue BUT now it's just compressed air which is about 20% oxygen. So 4500psi + a bit of flammable oil + just the right conditions leads to the tank exploding.
here's a box of tanks that were purposely overfilled to see what they could handle before bursting (testing requirement done by the manufacturer) I seem to recall the pressure being something like 20,000psi.


Here's the aftermath of a tank w/ a bit of oil in it, looks like the regulator/threads for the regulator failed first hence the different look.


burned hand, jersey pics in link form.
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n...5/DSC00133.jpg

http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n...72015/oil3.jpg
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n...2015/oil2g.jpg
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n...5/DSC00135.jpg
The player was knocked unconscious, had a broken and badly burned hand and obviously won't be putting oil in his tank (he may have never put it in, someone else might have done it to "help him out")

You have to be VERY careful when you are talking about pressure and flammable stuff.
^5 to you for bringing these photos. That is EXACTLY what they mean by not introducing an explosive, flammable substance into the high pressure A/C system in your car. A very tiny, slow leak in the evaporator and the gas slowly leaks into the interior. This combined with sitting in the hot sun all day, and then the owner climbing in and lighting a cigarette or (whatever else), and BOOM goes the car. Your photos are excellent and it sucks for the guy with the burned hand. I hope he's OK.
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