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How to Properly Dispose of HVAC Coolant

Home air conditioning has been a great invention. It allows us to keep cool and comfortable in otherwise hot environments and keeps our food fresh. But the coolant used inside of the systems can cause a lot of trouble for the environment if not handled properly. Early coolants were chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) or hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC’s) and they were very damaging to the ozone layer. These CFC’s and HCFC’s are what made the hole in the ozone layer.

Since the Clean Air Act, there has been a set of specific guidelines for the reclamation, recycling, and destruction of the coolants used in HVAC systems. This includes requiring special training and certification to be legally allowed to collect and sell reclaimed refrigerant. It is illegal for someone not specifically trained in the recovery process following the EPA’s guidelines to attempt to recover the used refrigerant.

When the system is pumped down, the old refrigerant is transferred to an empty, DOT approved refrigerant cylinder for storage. Once the refrigerant is collected it is weighed and the same amount of new refrigerant is put into the system. The cylinder of new refrigerant is placed onto the scale and allowed to pump the same weight back into the system.

There are several options for what to do with the old refrigerant. You can store it long term in approved containers. It can be sold to a recycling plant. Or it can be sent to a destruction facility.

When selling to a recycling plant, an EPA certified technician is required to make the sale. The facility will then use various chemical processes, reactions, and distillation techniques to bring the old refrigerant back to within the same tolerances of impurities that new refrigerants have.

If intended for destruction, the refrigerant will under go any of several destruction methods: rotary kiln, cement kiln, radio frequency plasma, liquid injection incineration, or gaseous/flume oxidation. Each of these methods will meet the EPA’s mandated 99.9% destruction rate.

At Hader Solutions, we care about the environment and all of our technicians meet and follow the EPA guidelines and certifications. If your HVAC system needs servicing, give us a call and we would be happy to help you.

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