Issue Date: July 8, 2013
Propane Is Hazardous In Air Conditioners
Propane and other hydrocarbon refrigerants should not be used in home air-conditioning systems as a substitute for hydrochlorofluorocarbon-22, EPA warns. Hydrocarbon refrigerants, sold as R-290, 22a, 22-A, R-22a, HC-22a, and CARE 40, can explode or cause fires in this sort of equipment, the agency says. Production of stratospheric-ozone-depleting HCFC-22, which is nonflammable, is being phased out worldwide under the Montreal protocol, an international treaty. EPA has approved propane as an HCFC-22 substitute in some types of industrial and commercial refrigeration equipment that are specifically designed for flammable hydrocarbon refrigerants. But the agency has not approved the use of propane or other hydrocarbon refrigerants as substitutes for HCFC-22 in any kind of air-conditioning system. “Home air-conditioning systems are not designed to handle propane or other similar flammable refrigerants,” EPA explains.
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