The Automotive repair industry has been dealing with constant changes to the refrigerant options for several decades now. Increasing regulation has forced the use of newer and more “environmentally friendly” refrigerants that are less harmful to the atmosphere. Now comes news that one of the new approved refrigerants, HFO-1234yf, will have onerous use rules attached to it. Companies and entities intending to use it, produce it, or transport it will be required to notify the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of their intended interaction with the refrigerant 90 days beforehand. The EPA states that the reason for this is because of the new refrigerant is considered hazardous. The EPA wants this added time to evaluate the intended use or interaction to assure that the interaction would not lead to an unsafe consequence.
One concern is that DIY users may not know how to properly handle this new, more hazardous substance. These users may be lead to believe that it can be handled much in the same way that it’s predecessors (R12 and R134a) were handled. The problem is that HFO-1234yf has much greater flammability properties.
Some argue that In the zeal to make us all safer in one aspect of the refrigerant process, the regulators and politicians have just made us less safe in other aspects. If a vehicle is involved in an automobile accident, this new refrigerant has a much greater likelihood to explode, or catch fire.
Another aspect is that technicians will need to be trained on the proper handling proceedures for this new refrigerant. Auto shop owners will need to purchase a new compliant AC Service Machine to handle the refrigerant as well. Just another expense for those struggling small business owners. Consumers will be shelling out more money as well, because this new refrigerant has a significantly higher cost.
What do you think? Is the rush to mandate new refrigerants worth all of the added burdens and costs?