Proper Disposal & Recovery of Used Refrigerant

Ashworth -- Disposal -- 06-15-16

The procedures and guidelines for the recovery and disposal of used refrigerant from HVAC systems is very thorough and must be adhered to. In every step of the process there are rules to follow and specific, certified, equipment to be used, as it is illegal to knowingly vent any type of refrigerant into the atmosphere as it depletes the ozone layer. The Clean Air Act has laid out all of the specifications and guidelines for this and also requires special training to be able to do it safely and legally.

This begins with pumping down the HVAC system and recovering the refrigerant. A DOT approved, empty refrigerant cylinder is used to collect the used refrigerant from the system. From there it can be stored long term or it can be sent to a certified recycling or destruction facility. An EPA-certified reclaimer is required in order to sell the used refrigerant that has not come from, nor intended for use within motor vehicles.

As with the other steps in the process of handling the used refrigerant, there are specific guidelines the recycling plants must follow. Before it can be resold it must meet minimum purification requirements so that it will not damage the system it is then put into.

On some older systems that use refrigerants no longer in use, the refrigerant can either be destroyed, or it can be cleaned up and put back into the same unit from which it came. When intended for destruction there are specific methods used to destroy the refrigerant that must meet the EPA’s guideline of 99.9% destruction rate. Any number of methods can be used but radio frequency plasma is often used as it generates only salty water from the destruction of refrigerant.

There are there are other sources of refrigerant than a home or commercial HVAC system. Refrigerators, freezers, dehumidifiers, and chillers all contain refrigerant. The coolant in these must be recovered just like the coolant from the home or commercial HVAC systems.

Ashworth Heating & Cooling has years of experience in the safe recovery and handling of refrigerants. Our technicians care about the environment and make sure to follow all the EPA guidelines. If your HVAC system needs servicing, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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