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Concerns about the global warming impact of fluorocarbon refrigerants have led to consideration of flammable refrigerants such as propane, isobutane, or hydrocarbon blends as working fluids in air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment. This paper provides an overview of the current body of knowledge regarding the risks, benefits, and North American regulations associated with the use of highly flammable A3 refrigerants in air-conditioning and commercial refrigeration systems. The first phase of the study consisted of a review of regulatory issues associated with the use of A3 refrigerants in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The second phase of the study involved an evaluation of A3 refrigerant performance, benefits, risks, and costs. It was not the intent of this project to perform original research on the topic but rather to gather and synthesize existing information.

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Citation: Symposium, ASHRAE Transactions, vol. 108, pt. 2