Everyone from the professional contractor to the average homeowner experiences frustration with color-coded equipment. HVAC professionals deal with an entire color wheel of refrigerant cylinder colors. There are so many, in fact, that the issue has prompted the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute to take action. New revisions in AHRI Guideline N, “Assignment of Refrigerant Container Colors” state that all refrigerant containers should be a universal gray-green color by 2020. The guideline is a means of equipment identification. However, increasing numbers of approved colors and equipment has lead to concern about confusion among colors that look too similar. Find out how HVAC refrigerant cylinders expected in uniform color by 2020 will affect the market and the industry.
Colors are added to equipment in many industries as a safety precaution. For example, refrigerants have different operating pressures and some contain flammable properties that pose serious safety hazards. In addition, using refrigerants in the wrong application can lead to equipment damage, which means expensive repairs. With so many new refrigerants on the market, the new guideline will ensure safe and proper use for contractors.
AHRI conducted a survey of contractors, suppliers, technicians, and more to determine if the many colors used for refrigerant identification was confusing. More than half of the participants said that they were. As a result, the new change stipulates that all containers will be a universal color, but their individual packages may maintain the original unique assigned color. The goal is to have contractors and other handlers rely more on the labels to identify individual refrigerants.
Ultimately, the cartons or packaging for refrigerant cylinders is not changing. Only the cylinders themselves are getting a new look. Therefore, assigned colors being used today will still appear on cylinder cartons in 2020. In the end, the change to the cylinders will not necessarily make anything easier for contractors. Rather it means that contractors will have to pay more attention to the labels instead of relying on the colors for identification.