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Flammable refrigerants

Refrigeration engineers and technicians are a key source of advice to customers on equipment and refrigerants and need to be mindful of their obligations to provide accurate advice on safety issues and their implications. This is particularly important if substitution of the original refrigerant to an alternative refrigerant is being contemplated.

The Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) has strict standards and procedures that must be followed when using flammable refrigerants.

The Commonwealth Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995 cover the handling of natural refrigerants such as hydrocarbons that do not require a refrigerant handling license.

Anyone handling fluorocarbon refrigerants, including halocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and HFCs, must hold an appropriate refrigerant handling licence.

Any individual, including repairers or dismantlers, who removes fluorocarbon refrigerant from any refrigeration or air conditioning system and wants to replace this gas with natural refrigerants must, as a minimum, hold a Restricted Refrigerant Recoverers Transitional licence available from the ARC.

Further information

The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) has a range of guidance material on designing and installing systems for flammable refrigerants, and operating flammable-refrigerant-based systems, including the Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide.

Safety consideration using flammable refrigerants, Department of Environment and Energy