New Regulations are Changing A/C Service Tools, Procedures

Technical Editor Dave Cappert shares his tips on the new A/C standards, and what to look for in the new equipment.


Over the years, system charge levels have been dropping, making them more sensitive to leaks and improper charging. Unlike the old days of say, 3lbs. systems, many of today's systems only hold around 1lbs. refrigerant. While their engineering is sound from a technical perspective, they don't have much margin for error when the refrigerant charge goes awry. This factor was key in the new standards for recovery/recycling equipment and electronic leak detectors.

Refrigerants – Where to next?

OK, so we made the move from R-12 to R-134a. It eliminated the harmful chlorine component that erodes the ozone layer, but now there's a growing concern about greenhouse gases. R-134a is a greenhouse gas with 1,300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Manufacturers of R-134a systems will likely be under increasing pressure to change to something else. Europe was looking heavily at using carbon dioxide as a refrigerant, but may have changed course now that some other refrigerants are available for review. Europe plans to eliminate R-134a in light-duty vehicles by 2017, so what happens there may eventually influence what happens here.

The world of A/C service will continue to bring change and new challenges. Stay tuned to PTEN for new details as they unfold.

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