Refrigerant Review: R-40

“Extremely toxic… flammable… highly reactive…”

As you might imagine, anytime we hear those words used in our industry it causes our antenna to up in a big way.

More and more we are learning about the dangers of a very volatile refrigerant called R-40. This dangerous and harmful material is NOT suited for mobile air conditioning (a/c) systems, and even a small amount of R-40 blended with other types of commonly found automotive refrigerants (like R-134a for example) can result in disastrous outcomes. To date, some offshore R-134a cylinders have been found to be contaminated with R-40 — with several deaths already associated with this growing concern.

Ward Atkinson, a Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) co-chair says that R-40 and R-40 blends “…have been discovered in 30-pound cylinders and a/c systems fraudulently labeled as R-134a”. According to Atkinson, R-40 damages mobile a/c systems as well as service equipment. Moreover, within mobile a/c systems the material has been found to form a highly volatile compound called trimethyl aluminum that is explosive upon contact with air!

Since most of the a/c equipment in use by today’s shops cannot (yet) detect R-40, what can be done to ensure the safety of our people and of our customers? For the here-and-now, one of the most important things you can do is to be on the lookout for counterfeit refrigerant, which unfortunately is becoming more and more widely available. Be very wary of any R-134a that is being sold (via the Internet for example) that is priced well below the regular market price.

As we get more information on this subject we will be sure and share it with you. In the meantime, feel free to check out these sites for more information;

As always, it’s our goal here to help you keep it Safe, Clean, & Green. Until next time…

Charlie Ayers

Written by CCAR