Recycling Refrigerants

For decades, HVACR contractors and technicians have been providing on-site recycling services. Not only is it the right thing to do for the environment, it also helps them comply with federal regulatory guidelines and it can be a sound business decision.

Whenever technicians open an air conditioning or refrigeration system for service or to dismantle it for disposal, they are required by law to recover the refrigerant, which means removing it from the system using an EPA-certified recovery device, which also moves it into a separate container.   

Once the refrigerant is removed from the system into a separate container, the HVACR contractor can then decide whether to recycle the refrigerant on site for reuse by the HVACR equipment owner or send it to an off-site reclaimer to restore it to industry AHRI-700 purity specifications.

What is Recycling?

Recycling is using approved recovery equipment to extract refrigerant from an appliance and clean that refrigerant for reuse without meeting all of the requirements for reclamation.  In general, recycled refrigerant is cleaned using oil separation and single or multiple passes through devices, such as replaceable core filter-driers, which reduce moisture acidity and particulate matter. The recycling process benefits equipment owners by removing some of the impurities that can build up over time and cause the system to fail. However, recycling does not clean the refrigerant as well as a certified reclaimer who can restore it to a purity level that meets AHRI Standard 700.

Why Recycle?

The decision to recycle an equipment owner’s refrigerant may be based on a few different factors such as the condition of the refrigerant, whether the refrigerant will be used to recharge the same owner’s equipment, whether the contractor has invested in refrigerant recycling equipment or not, and whether the contractor or equipment owner has made the business decision to reclaim refrigerants.

Keep in mind, recycled refrigerant may only be reused in the system that it was recovered from, or in any other system owned by the same equipment's owner. Only reclaimed refrigerant can be resold or used in a system of a different owner.