GIZ launches publication on safe conversion of split ACs to Hydrocarbons

GIZ launches publication on safe conversion of split ACs to Hydrocarbons

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the German International Cooperation (GIZ) has published a guide intended to assist technicians, trainers and engineers with the safe conversion of split air conditioning systems to hydrocarbon refrigerants.

Despite recommendations to the contrary, GIZ recognises that conversions of existing equipment using non-flammable refrigerant to flammable refrigerants that they were not initially intended for do take place and are likely to continue to do so. In that light it has published a booklet titled “Operation of split air conditioning systems with hydrocarbon refrigerant: A conversion guide for technicians, trainers and engineers”, which provides a summary of special considerations when carrying out such conversions.

Suitability for conversion of systems to hydrocarbons

The conversion guide discusses some of the considerations to take into account before deciding whether to go ahead with the conversion of a particular system, such as the type and complexity of the equipment to be modified or the quantities of refrigerant involved (in relation to the system location.

It discusses the type of systems that are typically suitable for conversion to hydrocarbons, and provides a decision chart to assist with evaluating the suitability of the equipment.

Conversion workshops & conversion kits

The guide recommends that companies set up at their facilities special conversion workshops, policies and upgrades of tools and equipment.

Especially for companies involved in frequent conversions of a particular type of system it recommends that they prepare “conversion kits” for their technicians, where each kit is dedicated to a particular type of system, and it provides an example of a standard conversion kit collection for small air-conditioning systems.

Carrying out conversions while ensuring workplace and equipment safety

A flow chart indicating the sequence of activities involved in the safe conversion of a system to hydrocarbons is provided.

The important stages in evaluating and carrying out conversions are described in fourteen (14) steps, from estimating the required hydrocarbon refrigerant charge size, to design changes, sealing of the system, refrigerant charging, etc.

The publication highlights that system design changes are critical to ensuring that safety requirements are met and discusses the typical major considerations with particular attention paid to addressing the potential sources of ignition.

Finally, the booklet gives an example (including pictures) of the different steps discussed for the case of converting a split air conditioner from R22 to R290 (propane).

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