A1 refers to the safety classification of the refrigerant.
For many years our industry has been focused on the effect that refrigerants have on the environment. The characteristics that the different refrigerants exhibit can result in a variety of impacts on the environment.
When released into the atmosphere, some refrigerants do not dissipate as quickly as others which will result in a longer lifetime than others. This could result in an extended impact on the environment.
Some refrigerants contribute to ozone depletion while others have no effect.
Refrigerants are also characterized by their Global Warming Potential (GWP). The higher the GWP number of the refrigerant, the greater the potential for that refrigerant to impact global warming.
Because of these concerns, the search for refrigerants that have less negative impact on the environment has been a high priority. This has led us to a variety of new refrigerants over the years. Today we are now seeing the use of natural compounds which are more environmentally friendly. However, other characteristics of these refrigerants need to be considered, such as flammability and toxicity. Refrigerants are classified by these safety characteristics in ASHRAE Standard 34.
|CLASS||A – Lower Toxicity||B – Higher Toxicity|
|1 – No Flame Propagation||A1|
R-22, R-134a, R-410A, R-1233zd(E), R-404A, R-407C, R507A,
R-744 Carbon Dioxide
|2 – Lower Flammability||A2|
R-32, R-1234yf, R1234ze(E)
|3 – Higher Flammability||A3|
Figure 1- Safety Classification of Refrigerants in ASHRAE Standard 34
Because of the characteristics of these refrigerants, safety procedures must be followed that may not have been necessary in the past. With a higher flammability, for example, vacuum pumps and controls must be appropriately designed to eliminate the possibility of producing a spark (which could be a source for igniting the refrigerant) during operation.
To keep up with the ever-changing technology that we see in our industry, we encourage you to take advantage of the training opportunities offered by your local wholesaler.
Have a great 2020!