Is Refrigerant Gas Flammable?

If you’re a homeowner, then you know that your refrigerator is one of the most important appliances in your home.

So let’s take a closer look at whether or not refrigerant gas is flammable and what you need to do to keep your home safe.

Refrigerant gas is a flammable substance even though it does not catch fire easily, and can be dangerous if there is a source of ignition.

There are three main types of refrigerant gas used in household appliances such as your refrigerator:

  • CFC – ChloroFluoroCarbons
  • HCFC – HydroChloroFluoroCarbons
  • HFC – HydroFluoroCarbons

Each type has varying degrees of flammability so it’s important to follow safety precautions when dealing with them.

Keeping your family safe!

Safety incidents have taught me that everyone should have a home safety kit to ensure family members can escape a fire quickly and safely. Here is the Safety Kit that I recommend, in the event of a fire or other emergency.

CFC (ChloroFluoroCarbons)

Chlorofluorocarbons are refrigerants that contain chlorine. They were the first refrigerants used in household appliances.

CFCs are considered hazardous substances and have been banned from production in most countries due to their impact on the environment.

HCFC (HydroChloroFluoroCarbons)

These types of refrigerant gas contain hydrogen, chlorine, and fluorine.

In many ways HCFCs are similar to CFCs since both contain hydrogen and chlorine which means that they can be dangerous if there is a source of ignition nearby such as a spark or flame.

They have been banned since the beginning of the 90’s because of their negative environmental impacts.

HFC (HydroFluoroCarbons)

Hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs are composed of hydrogen, fluorine and carbon. They do not contain chlorine so they don’t contribute to ozone depletion like CFCs did.

The vast majority of HFC refrigerants in current use are classified as having low toxicity and zero flammability.

Because of its importance, it’s important to follow safety precautions when handling refrigerant gas

  1. Limit the amount of refrigerant gas in the appliance and in the room.
  2. When your refrigerator is not working, make sure to ventilate your home properly. Don’t use open flame devices or electrical appliances since they could lead to a fire.Do not heat up or keep in a closed environment since this could cause the refrigerant gas to increase in concentration, leading to an explosion.
  3. Replace any leaking refrigerant gas quickly and safely by hiring a licensed professional.

Using Refrigerant Gas Safely

Refrigerant gas can be dangerous if there is a source of ignition nearby such as a spark or flame, but most types are considered low-risk substances and are classified as having low toxicity.

Keeping your family safe!

Safety incidents have taught me that everyone should have a home safety kit to ensure family members can escape a fire quickly and safely. Here is the Safety Kit that I recommend, in the event of a fire or other emergency.

Anyone handling refrigerant gas should be sure to follow safety precautions when it comes to these substances.

The following safety measures will help risk.

  • Limit the amount of refrigerant gas in the appliance and in room. The less you have, the lower your risk is.
  • Use a flammable gas detector to monitor the air in the work area.
  • Make sure you have a dry powder or CO2 fire extinguisher available to you.
  • A working ventilation fan should be running in the area while you’re working to ensure that your work environment is safe.

Refrigerant gas can be difficult and dangerous to deal with, but if proper precautions are taken it can be done safely.

A2L Refrigerant Meaning

A2L refrigerants differ from other refrigerants in their ability to propagate a flame.

When A2L refrigerants burn, their burning velocity is below 10cm/s. This burning velocity is lower than A3 refrigerants which burn explosively when ignited.

This A2L classification is already widely used in many sectors, as the phasing out process for HFCs gathers pace. Expectations are that they will eventually be used in a wider range of equipment, too.

In reality, it is extremely hard to ignite A2L refrigerant gases, but care must be taken to prevent accidental build-up. This is where working ventilation fans must be used, especially if the unit is in an enclosed area.

A2L refrigerants are relatively safe to work with, but their low burning velocity makes them dangerous if the unit is in an enclosed area.

List of A2L refrigerants

A2L refrigerants have zero ozone depletion potential and low global warming potential, making them a more sustainable choice than traditional HFCs.

Here is a list of some of the most popular A2L refrigerants on the market today.

Refrigerant  Applications
R-1234yf  Automotive A/C
R-1234ze  Chillers, Aerosol Propellant
R-32  R-410A replacement
R-454A  R-404A replacement
R-454C  R-404A replacement
R-455A  R-404A replacement
R-447A  R-410A replacement
R-452B  R-410A replacement
R-454B  R-410A replacement

While A2L refrigerants are a better choice for the environment, they still contain elements that are dangerous to the user – so use a professional.

Final Thoughts

Even though A2L refrigerants are safe to work with, they do have a low burning velocity which makes them dangerous if the unit is in an enclosed area.

Only use units that have working ventilation fans when in closed areas and always follow all safety precautions when dealing with these types of refrigerant gas.