• SkillCat Team

Handling Cylinders

Updated: Feb 24

EPA 608 Core Chapter 43 (Take full course for free)


In this module, we will discuss how to use refrigerant cylinders. We will also discuss specific safety procedures for the different types of cylinders.


1. Cylinder Overview


Refrigerant cylinders are containers used to hold and store refrigerants. They are also known as refrigerant canisters or refrigerant drums.


We need specialized containers to hold refrigerants because refrigerants

  1. Need to be pressurized

  2. Can be highly toxic

  3. Can be highly flammable, and

  4. Can be corrosive

This is why we cannot use just any container to store refrigerant.

Because the contents of the containers are pressurized, we need to be careful with how we handle and store these cylinders.


Cylinders with flammable refrigerants will still have a red band on top of the container.


All of these requirements apply to both


  1. Disposable Cylinders, and

  2. Recovery Cylinders

We will discuss these cylinder types in greater detail in later modules.



2. Flames


First and foremost, we must make sure that any cylinder with refrigeran

t should never be heated with a flame. If heating is needed for servicing, you can use a heating blanket instead.


If refrigerant cylinders are exposed to flames, this can lead to:

  1. Explosions

  2. Causing serious injury

  3. Venting refrigerants

  4. Which is illegal

  5. Decomposition of the refrigerant

  6. The refrigerant inside the cylinder will become a toxic material



3. Cylinder Requirements


For safety reasons, we need to make sure that all refrigerant cylinders are:

  1. Free of rust and damage

  2. Clearly labeled

  3. Secured

  4. Stored properly


Before handling refrigerant cylinders, technicians need to make sure that the cylinder is not rusted or damaged in any way. If you see signs of rust or damage, the cylinder is no longer safe to use.


For cylinders with rust and damage, you need to:

  1. Retrieve the refrigerant inside the cylinder, then

  2. Dispose of the damaged cylinder.

You can place the retrieved refrigerant in a new cylinder to store it.


All refrigerant cylinders need to be clearly labeled with the following information:

  1. Refrigerant Type

  2. e.g. R-12

  3. Chemical Name

  4. e.g. Trichloromonofluoromethane, and

  5. UN Number

  6. eg. UN1078


A refrigerant UN Number is just like its regular ASHRAE number. The UN Number is specific for the international transport of dangerous chemicals.


Refrigerant cylinders need to be clearly labeled in order to:

  1. Avoid mixing refrigerants

  2. Identify contents for recyclers

  3. Identify the amount of refrigerant for record keeping purposes


Refrigerant cylinders need to be secured at all times to prevent tipping, falling, and rolling. This can be done by using straps that attach to a wall bracket or by using a cylinder stand.


Gas cylinders need to be stored in a place that is

  1. Dry

  2. Cool, and

  3. Well-Ventilated


The Department of Transportation (DOT) is a US federal agency. The DOT decides classifications for refrigerant cylinders that are disposable or refillable.



4. Conclusion


In this module, we went over the different types of refrigerant cylinders. We also went over the different safety measures to take with refrigerant cylinders.


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