AHRI updates refrigerant container colour protocol

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute’s (AHRI) Guideline N,  Assignment of Refrigerant Container Colors updates remove paint colour assignments for refrigerant containers.

Guideline revisions, first published in 2015, specify that all refrigerant containers should have the same paint colour, RAL 7044, to reduce confusion among similarly coloured refrigerant containers.

“Misidentifying refrigerants can lead to serious safety issues because refrigerants have different operating pressures and physical properties, including potential flammability,” said Helen Walter-Terrinoni, AHRI vice-president of regulatory affairs in the press release. “It can also cause equipment damage if refrigerants are used in the wrong applications. The updated guideline will ensure that refrigerants continue to be used correctly and safely.”

According to the press release, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 49 for hazmat transportation regulations and CFR Title 29 for occupational safety and health regulations require that all hazardous material containers, including refrigerant cylinders and drums, be labelled to clearly identify the contents. These container labels and markings should always be used as the primary means of identification for hazardous materials, including refrigerants. AHRI will continue to assign PMS colours for printed materials only, including the label on containers and the outer packaging of DOT39 cylinders, the guideline still requires that all flammable refrigerants include a red band on the shoulder or top of the container. The changes do not apply to products already packaged.

While AHRI Guidelines act as recommendations from industry and are not required by law, virtually everyone in the industry adheres to Guideline N and all users should be aware that the cylinder and drum label or silkscreen will now serve as the primary means of properly identifying the type of refrigerant in a cylinder or drum.

Guideline N is free to download from AHRI’s website and the changes to refrigerant container colour protocol kick off in January 2020.

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