The new refrigerant cylinders will be gray. This is the decision of AHRI, which had previously defined a colour coding for hydrofluorocarbon containers, used until a few months ago by many manufacturers.
Colour coding is a quick way to identify the contents of a cylinder at a glance. This allows those who have to handle it to be fully aware of the substance they are dealing with. Standardisation has become necessary because of the countless compounds that have started to circulate in recent years.
The new AHRI regulation
Although there have never been specific laws for the colors to be assigned to refrigerant containers, most of the companies involved in the HVAC&R sector have relied on AHRI coding for years. This method of classification is simple and intuitive but, with the appearance of new gases and mixtures, it has become very confusing.
For this reason, since 2020, it has been decided to update the color regulation system, standardizing the refrigerant containers. The colour chosen is light green/grey, also known as “silk grey” (RAL 70444).
The news, reported by ZEROSOTTOZERO (the well-known italian portal dedicated to HVAC), underlines how the identification of refrigerants contained in cylinders is now entrusted to labels. The labels are based on the old AHRI colour code, but contain more data.
In addition to the various markings on the cylinder, the most important information is the refrigerant classification. The substances are divided into four main classes, which indicate their status:
- Class I: refers to liquid refrigerants with a boiling point above 20 degrees centigrade;
- Class II: refers to low pressure refrigerants with a minimum cylinder pressure not exceeding 3447 kPa;
- Class III: refers to high pressure refrigerants exceeding 3447 kPa;
- Class IV: for flammable refrigerants (in the specific case of the latter, a red band must be affixed to the top of the container).
It should be noted, however, that these guidelines do not apply to cylinders of recycled refrigerants, which refer to a separate regulation. There is no need to repaint old containers, but all new ones should follow the above provisions.
Why it is important to know the new standard
Although not mandatory, colour coding has for some time helped the HVAC industry to classify the substances contained in cylinders. According to AHRI, knowing the changes made to the regulation is essential to avoid unpleasant inconveniences.
The Institute, in its statement, suggests to make the new guidelines standard for all industries involved in the use and production of hydrofluorocarbons.
Identifying the refrigerants contained in grey cylinders, forcing people to read the information label, is a great way to reduce the risk of confusing different substances (which could easily happen with the previous method of cataloguing).
This, in addition to avoiding damage to equipment and appliances, allows operators to handle the most dangerous refrigerants with due care. Customs inspection is also faster and more accurate, thanks to specially printed labels.
Spreading these important changes in refrigerant identification is crucial to help all involved bodies comply. By doing so, the coding of new substances and mixtures becomes intuitive and makes the distinction more immediate.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith