Embraco Leads RSES Webinar on the Safety & Handling of Hydrocarbons

Embraco, along with many other industry experts and thought leaders, believes that natural refrigerants are the future for refrigeration gases. While the use of hydrocarbons is on the rise in the United States and the benefits of natural refrigerants are clear – they are sustainable, energy efficient and reduce costs – there are some concerns and misconceptions regarding the flammability and safety of hydrocarbons.

While most refrigerant charges for household and light commercial applications are equivalent to the charge of two or three lighters, safety is critical when it comes to both the design and servicing of hydrocarbon-based systems. It is very important that individuals handling hydrocarbon equipment are well-educated on the safety aspects of working with flammable refrigerants.

If service technicians are properly trained to handle hydrocarbons, then the probability of a problem, such as refrigerant leakage and accumulation, is greatly reduced. Safety can be managed very well, as long as service technicians follow their training and the rules for handling hydrocarbons. Safety can also be ensured by conducting regular risk assessments, creating safe zones free of ignition sources, ensuring the presence of fire extinguishers and monitoring the area with hydrocarbon detectors.

Embraco is committed to educating the market on the safety and handling of hydrocarbons, and recently presented important information on this topic during a Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) webinar.

In the webinar, Denny Martin, Embraco Aftermarket Product Line Manager, provided an overview of the pending 2017 DOE energy standards, the benefits of natural refrigerants and the tremendous impact they have on energy consumption. Martin also discussed the safety classifications and standards of hydrocarbons R600a and R290, as well as provided practical safety tips and precautions for technicians servicing or replacing compressors. A few examples include:

  • Stay alert when working with flammable refrigerants.
  • Develop procedures for working with natural refrigerants and follow them on every job, keeping in mind the flammable nature of these refrigerants.
  • Because hydrocarbon refrigerants do not have an odorant, a quality combustible gas leak detector is mandatory for service work.
  • Pass the combustible gas detector through every work site you enter.
  • Ensure there is a fire extinguisher present or bring one.

Click here to view the full RSES webinar presentation, and for a quick guide to ensure you are working in a safe environment when handling hydrocarbons, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you working in a well ventilated area?
  • Are you wearing protective equipment such as gloves and glasses?
  • Are you more than ten feet from an ignition source while in the work area?
  • Do you have a leak detector that is suitable for hydrocarbons?