UL Executive Summary - Revisiting Flammable Refrigerants in HVAC Equipment and Appliances


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UL Executive Summary - Revisiting Flammable Refrigerants in HVAC Equipment and Appliances

  1. 1. Executive Summary:Revisiting FlammableRefrigerants in HVACEquipment and Appliances
  2. 2. Executive Summary:Revisiting Flammable Refrigerantsin HVAC Equipment and AppliancesSince the 1989 Montreal Protocol and its successor agreements, the world of refrigerants has been marked bychange. In the search for more environmentally-preferable refrigerants, technology has moved from chlorofluo-rocarbons to a host of alternative substances. Many of these substances are serving as interim measures, until thephase-out of ozone-depleting and global-warming refrigerants meets the targets set by the U.S. Clean Air Act.In response, HVAC equipment and (SNAP). EPA SNAP affects the selectionappliance manufacturers are exploring and use of alternative refrigerants inthe potential use of a wide range of HVAC equipment and appliances. Insubstances that have good environmental 2010 the EPA proposed that hydrocarbonand thermodynamic properties as refrigerants be accepted in refrigeratingrefrigerants. Unfortunately some of the appliances provided that they metmore environmentally attractive options the requirements of specific productare also flammable. Selecting alternative safety standards. In addition, theyrefrigerants has increasingly become proposed rules regarding identificationa complicating factor in equipment and servicing of flammable refrigerantdesign, construction, installation and containing appliances. When adopted,use. The more widespread use of pure the rules will facilitate the use ofhydrocarbon (HC) refrigerants, flammable hydrocarbon refrigerants in the affectedhydrocarbon refrigerant blends, or halo- residential and commercial appliances.hydrocarbon blends with flammable However, fulfilling governmenthydrocarbons has further complicated regulations is only part of the compliancematters, due to the risk of fire and/or landscape for HVAC equipment andexplosion associated with their use. appliance manufacturers. EquipmentThe most significant regulation affecting must also comply with safety standardsthe use of flammable refrigerants in order to be installed in a workplace orin appliances is the Clean Air Act, (depending upon the local jurisdiction)administered by the U.S. Environmental in other facilities. Retailers, insurers andProtection Agency (EPA), under its other parties may also require evidenceSignificant New Alternatives Policy of compliance with safety standards.page 2
  3. 3. Executive Summary: Revisiting Flammable RefrigerantsIn the U.S., Underwriters Laboratories • ANSI/UL 1995, Standard for Safety for(UL) is the principal standards developer Heating and Cooling Equipmentaddressing electrical appliance and HVAC • ANSI/UL 484, Standard for Safety forequipment safety. UL standards are part Heating and Cooling Equipmentof an overall safety system of coordinatedstandards and codes to facilitate safe • ANSI/UL 474, Standard for Safety forinstallation and use of equipment. They Heating and Cooling Equipmentcomplement the electrical installation • UL 984, Standard for Safety forrequirements of the National Fire Refrigerant Motor CompressorsProtection Association (NFPA), notably theNational Electrical Code © (NFPA 70), and • ANSI/UL 60335-2-34, Standard formechanical refrigeration requirements Household and Similar Electricalof the American Society of Heating, Appliances, Part 2: ParticularRefrigerating and Air-Conditioning Requirements for Motor-CompressorsEngineers (ASHRAE), Standards 15 and 34. (The technical white paper providesThe following are standards and detailed information about each of thesecodes where the use of flammable standards and their current status.)refrigerants is either already addressed Much experience has been gained inor will be addressed therein: recent years regarding the safe use of HCs• ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34, Designation and other flammable refrigerants. During and Safety Classification of Refrigerants this time, the reduction in use of ozone depleting substances and drive toward• ANSI/UL 2182, Standard for greater energy efficiency continues. When Safety for Refrigerants responding to these challenges, it is• ANSI/NFPA 58, Liquefied important that all stakeholders in the U.S. Petroleum Gas Code product safety system fully examine the potential impact of the use of flammable• ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 15, Safety refrigerants, and take the necessary Standard for Refrigeration Systems steps to ensure their continued safe use• ANSI/UL 207, Standard for Safety for in HVAC equipment and appliances. Refrigerant-Containing Components To download a copy of the technical and Accessories, Nonelectrical white paper or learn more about• ANSI/UL 250, Standard for Safety for related UL standards, testing and Household Refrigerators and Freezers certification services, visit www. uluniversity.com/thoughtleadership.• ANSI/UL 471, Standard for Safety for Commercial Refrigerators and Freezerspage 3 Copyright © 2011 Underwriters Laboratories Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be copied or distributed without the prior written consent of Underwriters Laboratories Inc. 01/11 BDI 110103-5