Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
Refrigeration and air conditioning end-uses typically use a refrigerant in a vapor compression cycle to cool and/or dehumidify a substances or space, like a refrigerator cabinet, room, office building, or warehouse.
- Chillers typically cool water, which is then circulated to provide comfort cooling throughout a building or other location. Chillers can be classified by compressor type, including centrifugal, reciprocating, scroll, screw, and rotary. SNAP has identified substitutes for CFC-11, CFC-12, CFC-113, CFC-114, R-13B1, HCFC-22, R-500 and other ODSs. Chillers used to cool industrial processes are discussed under Industrial process refrigeration systems.
- Industrial process refrigeration systems cool process streams in industrial applications. The choice of substitute for specific applications depends on ambient and required operating temperatures and pressures. SNAP has identified substitutes for CFC-11, CFC-12, HCFC-22 and other ODSs.
- Ice skating rinks frequently use secondary refrigeration loops. They are used by the general public for recreational purposes. SNAP has identified substitutes for CFC-12, HCFC-22, R-502 and other ODSs.
- Industrial process air conditioning is distinct from commercial and residential air conditioning. It is often used when ambient temperatures near 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius) and corrosive conditions exist. Units in this end-use provide comfort cooling for operators and protect process equipment. SNAP has identified substitutes for CFC-12, CFC-114 and other ODSs.
- Cold storage warehouses are used to store meat, produce, dairy products and other perishable goods. The majority of cold storage warehouses in the United States use ammonia as the refrigerant in a vapor compression cycle, although some rely on other refrigerants. SNAP has identified substitutes for CFC-12, HCFC-22, R-502, and other ODSs.
- Refrigerated transport moves products from one place to another while maintaining necessary temperatures, and include refrigerated ship holds, truck trailers, railway freight cars, and other shipping containers. SNAP has identified substitutes for CFC-12, R-502 and other ODSs.
- Retail Food Refrigeration includes all cold storage cases designed to chill food for commercial sale. In addition to grocery cases, the end-use includes convenience store reach-in cases and restaurant walk-in refrigerators. Icemakers in these locations are discussed under commercial ice machines. SNAP has identified substitutes for CFC-12, HCFC-22, R-502 and other ODSs.
- Vending machines are self-contained units which dispense goods that must be kept cold or frozen. SNAP has identified substitutes for CFC-12, R-502 and other ODSs.
- Water coolers are self-contained units providing chilled water for drinking. They may or may not feature detachable containers of water. SNAP has identified substitutes for CFC-12, R-502 and other ODSs.
- Commercial ice machines are used in commercial establishments to produce ice for consumer use, e.g., in hotels, restaurants, and convenience stores. SNAP has identified substitutes for CFC-12, R-502 and other ODSs.
- Household refrigerators and freezers are intended primarily for residential use, although they may be used outside the home. Household freezers only offer storage space at freezing temperatures, unlike household refrigerators. Products with both a refrigerator and freezer in a single unit are most common. SNAP has identified substitutes for CFC-12, R-502 and other ODSs.
- Residential dehumidifiers are primarily used to remove water vapor from ambient air for comfort or material preservation purposes. While air conditioning systems often combine cooling and dehumidification, this application serves only the latter purpose. SNAP has identified substitutes for CFC-12, HCFC-22 and other ODSs.
- Motor vehicle air conditioning systems, or MVACS, provide comfort cooling for passengers in cars, buses, planes, trains, and other forms of transportation. MVACS pose risks related to widely varying ambient conditions, accidents, and the location of the evaporator inside the passenger compartment. Given the large number of cars in the nation's fleet, and the variety of designs, new substitutes must be used in accordance with established retrofit procedures. Flammability is a concern in all applications, but the conditions of use and the potential for accidents in this end-use increase the likelihood of a fire. In addition, the number of car owners who perform their own routine maintenance means that more people will be exposed to potential hazards. SNAP has identified substitutes for CFC-12 and HCFC-22.
- Residential and light commercial air conditioning and heat pumps includes central air conditioners (unitary equipment), window air conditioners, and other products. HCFC-22, a class II substance, is the most common refrigerant for this application. SNAP has identified substitutes for HCFC-22 and other ODSs.
- Heat transfer includes all cooling systems that rely on convection to remove heat from an area, rather than relying on mechanical refrigeration. There are, generally speaking, two types of systems: Systems with fluid pumps, referred to as recirculating coolers, and those that rely on natural convection currents, referred to as thermosiphons. SNAP has identified substitutes for CFC-11, CFC-12, CFC-113, CFC-114, CFC-115 and other ODSs.
- Very Low Temperature Refrigeration systems require maintaining temperatures in the vicinity of -80 degrees F (-62 degrees C) or lower. Examples include medical freezers and freeze-dryers, which generally require extremely reliable refrigeration cycles to maintain low temperatures and must meet stringent technical standards that do not normally apply to refrigeration systems. SNAP has identified substitutes for CFC-13, R-13B1 (Halon 1301), R-503 and other ODSs.
Note about Alternative Refrigerants Containing HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b
As of January 1, 2010, virgin HCFC-22, HCFC-142b and blends containing HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b may only be used to service existing appliances. Consequently, virgin HCFC-22, HCFC-142b and blends containing HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b may not be used to manufacture new pre-charged appliances or appliance components or to charge new appliances assembled onsite. For further information on the phasedown of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b, see http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/phaseout/rulesoverview.html
- General Questions and Answers
- What You Should Know about Refrigerants When Purchasing or Repairing a Residential A/C System or Heat Pump
- ASHRAE Journal Article about Refrigerant Safety
- Compositions of Refrigerant Blends
- Publications regarding Motor Vehicle Air Conditioning and Alternatives
- Safety warning about R-22a flammable refrigerant
- EPA Warns Against Use of Refrigerant Substitutes that Pose Fire and Explosion Risk (7/1/2013)