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Hydrocarbon refrigerants are becoming the new standard for small commercial refrigeration units like reach-in coolers, reach-in freezers, and ice machines. R-290 (propane) and R-600 (isobutane) are the two most prevalent types of hydrocarbon refrigerants. Manufacturers are beginning to create more refrigeration units using hydrocarbon technology because of the lowered environmental impact. R-290 and R-600 are both non-toxic and have nominal global warming potential, which means they possess no qualities that can destroy the Earth’s ozone layer. Not only are these hydrocarbon refrigerants better for the environment, they also are one of the most cost-effective refrigerants offered.

R-290 and R-600 are excellent options for small commercial refrigeration units, but they do not meet the requirements for larger commercial refrigeration. While they are environmentally friendly and energy efficient, they are also flammable. Hydrocarbon refrigerants are currently approved for use in things like window air conditioning units, household refrigerators and freezers, stand-alone retail food refrigeration, very low-temperature refrigerators and freezers, small commercial ice machines, and vending machines. They can reduce energy use by as much as 25% and are exempt from the Clean Air Act’s restrictions on ventilation, release, and disposal of refrigerants.

It is important to always use proper monitoring when using flammable refrigerants. All sources of potential ignition should be eliminated before the refrigerant is used, and you should always use the proper refrigerant listed on the equipment label. You should also use non-sparking or explosion proof electrical components for the application. Hydrocarbon refrigerants also cannot be used on older machines and cannot be retrofitted.

SPECS Refrigeration provides commercial and scientific refrigeration as well as ice machines and controls solutions in Lubbock and its surrounding areas. If you are interested in learning more about how you can reduce your energy usage and environmental impact, SPECS is ready to help you. Contact us today for information on hydrocarbon refrigerants.

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