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Bad refrigerant is still out there

By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine

Once again, the MACS office is beginning to receive calls about bad, contaminated or mislabled refrigerant. Some folks in theU.S.are receiving offers to purchase refrigerants that contain hydrocarbons (HC), notably under the designations HC-12a or similar names. All of these are listed as “unacceptable for use” on the EPAs companion page to the SNAP list.
Further reports heard here include outright fraud through simply re-labling a tank of almost anything as R-134a. As always, some tanks are being found with combinations of R-12, R-152a, or R-142b plus the usual suspects propane and butane. Scary stuff.

Ron Henselmans’s “Auto Airconditioning Reporter” from the Netherlandsnotes a rise in European problems as well. Shops over there are finding high concentrations of R-22, an industrial refrigerant, and R-40 (chloromethane), a product judged toxic enough that it was removed from consumer access years ago.
We say: Protect yourself! First, know your supplier—a reputable business will sell reputable products. Second, if you don’t have a refrigerant identifier, get one now. Use it to check every tank and every vehicle, every time. Third, simply and politely decline work on any system identified as having bogus refrigerant in it. Why?—the loss or damage to your RRR machine isn’t worth that repair order. The “easy money” never is.
When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, click here for more information.

You can E-mail us at or visit to find a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Visit to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.
The 32nd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Convention and Trade Show will take place January 18-20, 2012 at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

One response to “Bad refrigerant is still out there”

  1. theicemanac says:

    Great article! We were able to instill into our technicians again the importance of this issue. It also helps that we have refridgerant identifiers in our mobile service units.

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