• SkillCat Team

Disposable Cylinders

Updated: Feb 24

EPA 608 Core Chapter 44 (Take full course for free)


In this module, we will discuss how disposable refrigerant cylinders are used and what restrictions apply to them.


1. Definition


Disposable cylinders are single use containers that

  1. Are made of steel, and

  2. Cannot be refilled.

They contain up to 50 lb of refrigerant.

Disposable containers are designed so that they cannot be refilled. These cylinders use a one-way valve, also called a check valve. The one-way valve allows the refrigerant to flow only out of the container and prevents anything from going into the container.


The handle of disposable cylinders surrounds the valve of the cylinder. It’s designed this way so that if the cylinder is dropped, the handle will take the brunt of the impact, instead of the valve. This way, it protects the valve from being damaged and releasing the refrigerant.


Disposable cylinders are used only for virgin refrigerant. Recall that virgin refrigerant is refrigerant that is newly manufactured.


Virgin refrigerant is different than reclaimed refrigerant. Reclaimed refrigerant is processed to the same purity standards and is basically the same as virgin refrigerant. But reclaimed refrigerant will not be stored in disposable cylinders.



2. Cylinder Colors


An older industry practice was to standardize the color of disposable cylinders. This was so that technicians can easily recognize the refrigerant type by its cylinder color. As of January 2020, this is no longer the case.


Recall that AHRI stands for Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute. They are a trade organization that represents the HVAC industry. And it was AHRI who had previously set the standard colors for refrigerant cylinders.


AHRI includes refrigerant manufacturers, who produce these disposable refrigerant cylinders.


AHRI revised its Standard N to stop the use of different colors to denote different refrigerants on cylinders. This is because there are more and more refrigerants that are used in the industry and it got confusing for technicians. More than half of technicians in an AHRI survey found the colors designation confusing.


So as of January 2020, we no longer use colors to recognize different refrigerants. All cylinders now have a light green gray color. Specifically, this color is RAL 7044.


The standardized colors will still be used on printed materials including the labels that are affixed on the cylinders.



3. Disposal Procedure


If you are disposing of a disposal cylinder, you must:

  1. Evacuate the cylinder

  2. Reduce pressure to 0 psig

  3. Puncture the cylinder, and then finally

  4. Recycle the metal scrap


If you are disposing of a disposal cylinder, you must evacuate the refrigerant still inside by using a recovery device.


You need to make sure that the pressure of the cylinder is 0 psig before scrapping it.


After checking that the pressure is 0 psig, you need to puncture the cylinder so that it cannot be reused. You have to puncture the refrigerant with its one-way valve open.


We do this because a refrigerant cylinder is pressurized. If it is abandoned and left to deteriorate, it can explode and cause injury.


After this disposal procedure is completed, you can recycle the used cylinder with other scrap metal.



4. Conclusion


In this module, we went over the different procedures need to be followed while working with disposable cylinders. We also went over the different safety measures to take with disposable cylinders.

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