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4 October 2019

Asercom provides guidelines for safe handling

The handling of components for flammable refrigerants involves numerous risks. Since flammable refrigerants, due to their lower global warming potential (GWP), are very important for achieving the objectives of the F-Gas Regulation, it is necessary to change to them.

The figure shows the zone classification according to Atex. If a system with components according to the directive is installed in an Atex zone, the plant manufacturer must ensure Atex approval of the system. Such a system can also contain several components not approved according to Atex, while other critical components must then be certified.

Asercom has published a guide for the safe handling of components in the use of flammable refrigerants. The association therefore wants to provide experts, manufacturers and installers of systems that are operated in non-hazardous areas with a handling recommendation.

The guideline aims at the safe handling of components used in compression refrigeration circuits with flammable refrigerants.

Asercom president, Wolfgang Zaremski, explained: 'Although safety regulations document well how corresponding systems must be built, installed and maintained, the component manufacturers organised in Asercom have noticed a high degree of uncertainty among refrigeration and air conditioning specialists when dealing with flammable refrigerants. Therefore we would like to counteract this uncertainty with this guideline.'

The HVACR industry has to look for alternatives with a lower GWP by gradually reducing the use of fluorinated refrigerants with a high GWP value. Unlike refrigerants with a high GWP value, refrigerants with a very low GWP value are likely to be flammable and combustible.

Flammable refrigerants have been used in millions of household applications for decades. The filling quantity in household appliances is limited to 150 grams per system. Industry and the associated service sectors are now faced with a new challenge: the increased use of flammable refrigerants means that larger fill quantities are required, which, if handled incorrectly, pose a significantly higher risk potential.

Asercom expresses in the current guideline the specific conditions under which flammable refrigerants are allowed to be used. If components are approved for a particular flammable refrigerant or for a group of flammable refrigerants and their conformity has been declared by the manufacturer, these components may be used, taking into account the specific requirements for their installation and use.

The installer must always carry out a comprehensive risk assessment of the installation. This means that he must design the installation in accordance with the safety requirements described in the application-specific safety regulations. Asercom provides appropriate instructions in its guideline to assist in specifying the requirements for handling components for flammable refrigerants.

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