ARC releases free ‘tech packs’ for R32

The Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment have created free “tech-packs” on R32 refrigerant for licensed technicians and authorised businesses.

The packs contain information on refrigerant characteristics and properties, equipment requirements, safety, relationship to R410A, and more. They also include refrigerant safety stickers to help technicians identify the refrigerant and its basic characteristics before working on a system. Finally, there is a link to online resources, including a video.

The tech packs will be mailed to all stationary refrigerant trading authorisation holders Australia-wide.

The initiative is an important step towards raising awareness among technicians about R32 and flammable refrigerants in general.

R32 is now the refrigerant of choice for many AC manufacturers, especially in small split systems where it has displaced R410A. According to the ARC, in 2019, R32 systems (small, pre-charged) made up 71 per cent of the market, an increase from 52 per cent in 2018 and up from effectively zero in 2013. R32 is also increasingly used in larger applications, including split ducted systems and chillers.

Unlike the refrigerants it is replacing, R32 is classified as a mildly flammable (A2L) refrigerant. Until the most recent updates to the national training package, handling of flammable refrigerants has not been part of the Certificate III course for air conditioning and refrigeration. This has left a potentially dangerous knowledge gap in the workforce.

As the resources note, it is a requirement under work health and safety obligations that employers must ensure only competent workers work on air conditioners and other refrigeration systems, particularly those containing flammable refrigerants. The tech pack provides information on available training, and other useful information.

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