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The Three Rs

EPA 608 Core Chapter 32(Take full course for free)

In this module, we will discuss three important processes within the HVAC industry.

1. The Three Rs

The three Rs of refrigeration are:

  1. Recover

  2. Recycle, and

  3. Reclaim

These three Rs describe three important processes within the HVAC industry.

2. Recovering

Recovering is when the technician removes refrigerant from a system and stores it in an external container. When we recover refrigerants, we’re not testing or processing the refrigerant in any way. All we’re doing is storing it in a separate container.

We recover refrigerants for a number of reasons. Recall that CFCs and HCFCs have been phased out, meaning they can no longer be produced or imported. We recover refrigerants so that we can have supplies of CFCs and HCFCs to service equipment with.

You can think about recovering refrigerants like filling up a water bottle for the road. You store the water in a container so that you can drink it later.

Recall that venting, or releasing CFC and HCFC refrigerants into the atmosphere, is harmful for the ozone layer. This is another reason we recover refrigerants — to prevent damage to the ozone layer.

3. Recycling

Recycling is the process of cleaning refrigerant for immediate reuse. We recycle refrigerants by separating the oil from the refrigerant and using filter driers to remove moisture and acidity from the refrigerant.

You can think of recycling as washing your plate and using it again. With recycling refrigerants, you’re just cleaning out the contaminants so you can use the same refrigerant again.

4. Reclaiming

Reclaiming is when refrigerant is processed to new product specifications. After the refrigerant is processed, we need to verify its properties through chemical analysis.

If a refrigerant is reclaimed, it has basically the same properties as newly manufactured refrigerant.

Recall that since CFCs and HCFCs have been phased out, we can no longer produce or import these refrigerants. So the closest we can get to new supplies of these refrigerants is reclaimed refrigerants.

Reclaimed refrigerant has to meet the standard AHRI 700 - 2016 before it can be resold. You can think of reclaiming like refurbishing, good as new. But the properties are chemically verified, so it would be better than refurbishing.

5. Conclusion

In this module, we discussed the three Rs and how are the refrigerants recovered, dehydrated, and evacuated.


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