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Refrigerant reclamation is the process of removing old Freon from a cooling system and reprocessing said gas to a level of purity so it can be resold. Since the Clean Air Act of 1990 the USA requires all used cooling gases be processed by a certified reclaimer which is licensed by the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the gas must be recovered and delivered to a specified processing facility by EPA certified technicians.

Freon is used throughout the world and can be found in devices such as dehumidifiers, central air conditioning systems (HVAC), freezers, refrigerators, and air conditioners. When these systems need servicing, there is a risk that some gases will be released into the atmosphere. Misuse of these gases has been shown to have a detrimental effect on the ozone layer, hence the training of specifically certified technicians and the building of processing facilities to handle this coolant.

Definition

The Environmental Protection Agency defines coolant recycling as to reprocess refrigerant to at least the purity level specified in government established codes and to verify this purity using analytical methodology. What this means is used coolant must be reprocessed to exact purity levels of newly sold coolant.

This requirement protects the purity of used coolant to prevent damage to the systems that use this product. Equipment damage would result in a loss to the consumer that would result in the reduction of consumer confidence.

Dangers Of Exposure

Freon contains chemicals known as fluorinated hydrocarbons that are a nearly odorless, tasteless gas and when deeply inhaled may cut off oxygen to your lungs and blood cells. Limited exposure, such as breathing near an open container or a spill on your skin is only mildly harmful. However, care should be taken to avoid exposure to these types of chemicals. According to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), even trace amounts can cause symptoms that include: Dizziness, headaches, irritation to the eyes, throat, and nose, and heart palpitations. Inhaling high concentrations of Freon on a regular basis can cause respiratory problems, fluid buildups in the lungs, damage to your organs, and sudden death (OEHHA, 2003).

Now that you know what it is for and how dangerous it is, you know the most logical thing for you to do if you need assistance with an appliance that uses this gas is to call a specially trained professional.

Many do not know that refrigerant reclamation and recycling as an industry was given the opportunity to create its own business solutions in order to meet these requirements. The industry responded with the startup of new companies and the expansion of existing companies to provide recovery and recycling equipment and recovery cylinders, analytical testing procedures, and the processes of disposal of unusable products.

The recycling business is now known as the collection, consolidation, processing, resale, and disposal of refrigerant that a contractor’s customer can no longer use.

Refrigerant reclamation can be a dangerous job. If you need help, contact your qualified local technician today.

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