Saturday, July 27, 2013

Have you ever been asked or ever wonder, "Is Refrigerant, especially R-134a, heavier than air?

Is Refrigerant Heavier than Air You Ask

I was asked just this week this very question.  Thinking I knew the answer right away, I was able to contain my natural, blurt it out style of an answer, at least until now.  Now that I have indeed verified this data and not relied upon my 49 year old, filled with million of bits of USELESS Data, brain to produce a quality answer.

Yes is the correct answer, Refrigerant, and in this case, I am speaking specifically to and about R-134a, but it is a typical gas.  Always check with the or a refrigerant manufacturer, as the chemical composition of R-134a is all the same regardless of the name on the canister, it is just branded as, Freon or Aspen and a host of other "Names to Make You Think Col or Cold Thoughts".

If you are curious for the actual verbiage, see section 7.1 of the MSDS that this link will take you to.

Why does this matter to people?  Well if you are a building manager or the safety officer within you company, this could be an integral part of your safety SOP's and or helping people understand what to do in the case of a reported refrigerant leak into the office space.  Knowing that these refrigerants will lie close to the floor versus rising within the occupied spaces could be very helpful.

Secondly, if you have a refrigerant evacuation duct system, some instances are dictated by state and local mechanical codes to do so, it will help you understand why it is important to keep the intake grills free of obstructions and debris.

Lastly, if you operate a building of any size, you may want to consider how many other people handle and are prepared for refrigerant related issues.  Having a Refrigerant Management Process is a great idea. 

The link below will take you to an example of how California regulates stationary HVAC systems and the associated refrigerants are to be handled.  Know your local code, that is the only way to ensure that you are covered.

Refrigerant Management Process Link to Info

Remember that each local jurisdiction can and frequently does act independently of any other party.  Different refrigerants also have different characteristics insofar as Global Warming Potential, GWP as well as Flammability levels and ODP, which is Ozone Depletion Potential. We all have a responsibility to handle refrigerants in a safe way to us, others as well as the Earth herself.

Learn and understand what refrigerant or refrigerants, as many buildings contain multiple units that can utilize unique refrigerants, that you are responsible for or have the potential to be exposed to.

Like everything else, knowledge is the key to understanding, then educating others.

I truly hope this will help you structure or refine your system or process.

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