Are hydrocarbon refrigerants safe?

Hydrocarbon refrigerants are safe to use if handled correctly. Although flammable, millions of tonnes of hydrocarbons are used safely every day throughout the globe for cooking, heating, transport and as aerosol propellants for deodorants, hairsprays, whipped cream and cooking sprays etc.

In refrigeration and air conditioning systems that utilise chemical refrigerants, oil mixes with the refrigerants and travels around the cooling system. All chemical refrigerants are flammable due to the oil vapour content of the gases when being discharged from the systems. Most chemical refrigerants produce environmentally hazardous, toxic by-products and poisonous gases following accidental release in the presence of an adequate heat source.

Procedures and standards have been developed and adopted to ensure the safe use of hydrocarbon refrigerants. Australian Standard AS 1677-1998 includes comprehensive procedures for the safe use of all refrigerants including hydrocarbons.

Is my new Engas hydrocarbon refrigerant handled by an expert?

At Natural Refrigerants NZ, safety comes first. Hydrocarbon air conditioning refrigerants can only be handled by cooling systems engineers and technicians who have been trained by Engas experts. We offer approved training to all Engas product engineers and ensure adequate control of health and safety risks associated with any use of Engas hydrocarbon refrigerants.

Are hydrocarbon refrigerants flammable?

Yes. However hydrocarbon refrigerants do not spontaneously combust on contact with air. Three elements need to coincide:

1) There needs to be a release of hydrocarbons.

2) The hydrocarbon needs to mix with the correct proportion of air, the range of flammability being between 2% and 10%. Outside of these limits combustion cannot occur.

3) An ignition source exceeding 440°C must be present. If either one of these three elements is eliminated, combustion cannot occur.

Our professional engineering technicians are trained to handle hydrocarbon refrigerants correctly and safety is our first priority.

How can I save on my power bill by using hydrocarbon refrigerants

Hydrocarbon refrigerants are good for the environment and save you up to 35% on your energy costs. Air conditioning systems consume large amounts of electricity. The energy used in cooling usually makes up around 60% of a building's total energy consumption. By converting to Engas hydrocarbon refrigerants, you can save money and energy.

How do hydrocarbon refrigerants extend the working life of my equipment?

Hydrocarbon refrigerants are 50% more efficient conductors of heat than old, chemical fluorocarbon refrigerants. Their operating pressures are approximately 20% lower than that of fluorocarbon refrigerants. These lower operating discharge pressures reduce the work that the compressor has to do, resulting in a reduction of wear and tear. There is less pressure on pipe work, joints, hoses and fittings too, so less likelihood of leaks. (All these advantages equate to an energy saving of between 15% and 54%.)

How do hydrocarbon refrigerants impact the environment?

Climate change, global warming, the extinction of species. How can we do our bit to increase the resilience of our planet and those who live there? By choosing Engas hydrocarbon refrigerant products you’re already making a difference, to the environment and to substantially reducing your energy costs.

Why is New Zealand phasing out or prohibiting chemical refrigerants?

New Zealand’s commitment to preserving the ozone layer and reducing global warming has led to concerted, government led changes in what refrigerants can now be used. This has resulted in many environmentallyvhazardous, chemical fluorocarbon refrigerants such as r32 and r410a beingcbanned or phased out. You can find out more information here.

Do you have to change the whole air conditioning unit when converting over to hydrocarbon refrigerants?

No. Only the chemical refrigerant in the unit will be replaced. However, every unit is different therefore inspections and assessments are important before conversion. Talk to us about a free assessment check.

Why are hydrocarbon refrigerants not commonly used in air conditioning units already?

Commonly used prior to 1930, hydrocarbon refrigerants were replaced with non-flammable chemical refrigerants (CFCs) up until 1990. With environmental issues on the rise, hydrocarbon refrigerants have made a comeback, offering better performance and efficiency.

Have more questions? Contact us to learn more about Engas hydrocarbon refrigerants.

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Engas hydrocarbon refrigerants.

  • "Subsequent use of the air-conditioning in the following weeks has seen vent temperatures down as low as 7.9 degrees, while the outside temperature is in the 30's. This is a cooling level that has never been achieved before, and most remarkably a very hot Porsche engine does not seem to have the same detrimental effect that it used to have. So thank you to Engas for finally making my mid-summer driving a more comfortable experience in an old Porsche"
    Horton M