Safe Refrigerant Disposal
Cooling and heat pump systems use refrigerant to move heat from one location to another. During the cooling season we remove heat from homes and buildings and put that heat outside. In the winter, heat pumps operate in the reverse, extracting heat from the air outside and moving it indoors.
As the world has learned more about global warming, the manufacturing and use of refrigerants has changed. Although much of the harshest ozone-depleting refrigerant compounds have been curbed, there is still a need to keep all types of refrigerants from escaping into the atmosphere.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air Act of the 1980’s it is unlawful to knowingly vent, or otherwise release or dispose of refrigerant in such a manner that permits it to enter the environment. As such, a common task an HVAC service technician will perform when repairing or maintaining a system is the proper handling of refrigerant.
When refrigerant does need to be removed from a system, it must be Recovered then Recycled, Reclaimed or Disposed:
- Recovery: Removal of refrigerants from equipment and collection in an approved recovery container.
- Recycling: Reduction of used refrigerant contaminates using devices that reduce oil, water, acidity and particulates.
- Reclamation: Reprocessing/Purifying of used refrigerants to Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) 700 specifications where the quality is verified by chemical analysis.
- Disposal: When refrigerant is badly contaminated and no longer meets manufacturer’s specifications, it must be sent to a qualified facility to be destroyed.
The are many environmental and economic benefits from the recovery, recycling and reclamation of used refrigerant including:
- Reduced environmental impact by minimizing atmospheric emissions.
- Reduced environmental compliance costs.
- Expanded market opportunity for used refrigerant.
- Reduced need for new refrigerant.
- Increased lifetime of refrigeration/cooling equipment due to contamination removal.
At Keyes North Atlantic our technicians collect the refrigerants we extract from systems and contain the refrigerant in specially designed vessels, which are then stored safely in our warehouse. Periodically we then bring in a licensed refrigerant-recovery firm to collect our stores and safely recycle reclaim or properly dispose of the compounds, thus preventing damage to the atmosphere.