If you live in a place where summer temperatures rise to soaring highs, you depend on air conditioning for keeping you cool. Making sure that your air conditioning units are in good working condition not only helps to keep you cool but is vital to your family’s safety. Freon™ is a refrigerant which includes chlorofluorocarbons that is commonly used in air conditioning units in homes and cars as well. It is best to contact your local air conditioning repair service when you are ready to have your coolant checked. However, you can check your coolant levels and the condition of your AC unit(s) yourself as long as you are well educated on the dangers and precautions of working with Freon™. In 2006, 33,500 injuries were reported by emergency rooms across the country related to AC units, heat pumps, humidifiers, and air purifiers. To avoid becoming a statistic, you need to take safety precautions when handling any appliances.
Best not to do it yourself
Chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons are heavier than air. In a confined space, a sudden refrigerant release can result in the displacement of air and cause asphyxiation. Oxygen starvation is the leading cause of death in accidents involving refrigerants. Even in lower concentrations, a refrigerants’ sudden release can cause skin damage, frostbite, and blindness. Contacting an Air Conditioning Repair Service is the best choice to avoid any abovementioned damage to your life and skin. The AC repair service personnel are trained and equipped to deal with Freon™.
Do not test AC in compressed air
The refrigerant HFC-134a is not flammable at normal ambient temperatures and atmospheric pressure. However, tests have shown it to be combustible at certain pressures and temperatures when mixed with air under pressure in a sealed environment. Service equipment or vehicle A/C systems should not be pressure tested or leak tested with compressed air.
Learn to deal with PAG (Polyalkylene Glycol) Lubricants
Polyalkylene Glycol oil or PAG is the primary lubricant used for automotive air conditioners. It is known to absorb moisture so any package containing PAG lubricant must be tightly closed until in use. PAG lubricant can irritate the skin so be sure to wear protective, impermeable gloves when using it to prevent contact. Mineral oil should be used to coat o-rings and seals prior to installation, which will also minimize contact with skin and reduces the potential for fitting corrosion. PAG lubricants can cause damage to paint, plastic parts, engine drive belts, and coolant hoses. Avoid PAG lubricants from coming into contact with these items.
Follow all the safety procedures in the AC manufacturer’s guide
If you do decide to deal with it on your own, be sure to educate yourself. Different electrical appliances need different handling. You can’t handle your AC the same way you handle certain other residential appliances. Always keep the manufacturer manual safe in the time of use during fixing your AC. When you decide to work on your home AC, follow all the guidelines in your AC manual without fail. Otherwise, in addition to putting your life at risk, you may run the risk of voiding your manufacturer’s warranty.
Be aware of changes in your AC unit
Be aware of changes in your AC such as wires sticking out of the AC unit, leaking refrigerant or if you are hearing unusual noises in the unit. All these could be a sign of trouble. If you have detected any of these issues, immediately call the nearest Air Conditioning Repair Service to prevent further damage to your appliance as well as protect your family. Don’t take chances with your family’s safety.
Here are a few guidelines to follow while dealing with Freon in your AC
• Always wear safety goggles and gloves while working with Freon or servicing a refrigeration system.
• Wear the proper respiratory protection mask while working with Freon. Check the MSDS for the proper level of protection required.
• Proper ventilation or respiratory protection is required for any work on equipment in an enclosed area where a leak is suspected.
• Always ventilate or test the atmosphere of an enclosed area before beginning work. Many refrigerants which may be undetectable by human senses are heavier than air and will replace the oxygen in an enclosed area causing loss of consciousness.
• Inhaling refrigerants can cause sudden death. Intentional inhalation of refrigerants to produce intoxication can cause the heart to cease functioning properly and may be fatal.
• Refrigerant cylinders should never be filled over 80% of their capacity (liquid expansion may cause the cylinder to burst).
• Check the I.C.C. cylinder stamp to ensure the cylinder is safe. Always check the refrigerant number before charging to avoid mixing refrigerants.
• Always check for the correct operating pressure of the refrigerant used. Use gauges to monitor the system pressure.
• If refrigerant makes contact with the eyes, immediately wash with mineral oil as this absorbs the refrigerant. Then wash your eyes with a prepared boric acid solution.
• Do not allow temperatures where refrigerant cylinders are stored to reach 125 degrees F. Temperatures can easily exceed 125 degrees F in your vehicle during hot weather.
• Inspect refrigerant cylinders regularly. Do not use the cylinders if they show signs of rust, distortion, denting, or corrosion. Store cylinders secured and upright in an area where they will not be knocked over or damaged.
Make sure to adhere to the safety manuals that come with Air Conditioners. Before handling any Freon refrigerant, follow all the safety requirements. Exposure to large concentrations of fluorocarbon refrigerants can be fatal. In high concentrations, these vapors have an anesthetic effect, causing stumbling, shortness of breath, irregular or missing pulse, tremors, convulsions, and even death. So, take care and ensure your safety.