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New UL Training on Flammable Refrigerant

UL FSRI has released a new on-line course for al firefighters explaining the hazards associated with flammable refrigerants based on recent fire tests by UL.

Checking HVAC Refrigerants

July 6, 2021

A disruptive change is currently underway in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R) refrigerant market. Driven by environmental concerns, global promoters are advocating the phase-out of traditional refrigerants in favor of new alternatives with a lower global warming potential (GWP).

New regulatory guidelines mean that businesses face different requirements depending on where and how they operate. A large number of new refrigerants have emerged, along with new technology to support them.

UL recently completed a landmark joint study with the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) investigating the use of these environmentally friendly refrigerants. To capture all current market changes, ease global market access, and simplify testing, UL is also transitioning our traditional Standards, including UL 1995, the Standard for Heating and Cooling Equipment and UL 484, the Standard for Room Air Conditioners to harmonized International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards.

This online course is available at no cost. The program explores the results of research experiments conducted as part of a collaborative effort between UL FSRI, UL’s Fire Research and Development team, the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM), and National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC).

Over the past few years, UL’s Fire Research and Development team has been involved in an ongoing conversation with AHRI and the fire service that seeks common solutions for both industry and firefighter safety related to incidents involving flammable refrigerants. In order to address the concerns of both groups, UL’s Fire Research and Development team proposed a project to AHRI that would comparatively test newer A2L refrigerants (lower global warming potential refrigerants) with traditional A1 refrigerants in replicated firefighting scenarios. Knowing the tests would need to mirror actual scenarios to make a true impact on firefighter safety, the research collaborative knew additional fire service-based scientific expertise would be required.

With a trusted history of developing and executing experiments with the fire service both in the laboratory and in the field, UL FSRI was brought in to design the tests and to translate the science into strategy. Once the research was complete, UL FSRI continued working with the primary fire service organizations to put the tactical considerations for firefighters into an interactive online training course.

Now available through the UL FSRI Fire Safety Academy users can access this complimentary course anytime to learn more about the hazards posed by refrigerants as well as appropriate mitigation strategies. Armed with this knowledge, standard operating guidelines utilized during fireground operations can be examined and potentially improved to enhance operational effectiveness and reduce the risk to firefighters and building occupants.

The learning objectives of this online course are:

  • Understand and describe the evolution of refrigerants and the characteristics of the substances found in residential and commercial refrigeration and air conditioning applications.
  • Compare the results of performance tests conducted on third and fourth generation refrigerants.
  • Identify the hazards presented by flammable refrigerants.
  • Incorporate tactical considerations based on experimental results into standard operating guidelines to improve firefighter safety.

What is UL FSRI?

UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) ( advances fire research knowledge and develops cutting edge, practical fire service education aimed at helping firefighters stay safe while more effectively protecting people and property. Working in partnership with the fire service, research departments, and agencies, UL FSRI executes firefighter research and makes the results widely available to the global fire community. With a team of pioneering experts and access to UL’s leading infrastructure, equipment, and vast knowledge and insights, UL FSRI conducts and disseminates research and training programs focused on the changing dynamics of residential, commercial, and industrial fires and the impact they have on strategies and tactics throughout the fire service.

Guided by a global advisory board comprised of fire service personnel, UL FSRI investigates residential, commercial, and industrial fires through full-scale testing, field testing, and fire modeling to replicate actual fires faced by firefighters. Research results are vetted through academic training courses that have reached hundreds of thousands of firefighters globally.

The Code Authority Newsletter 2021 | Issue 2

Flammable Refrigerants Testing for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration

As an industry expert and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-recognized certification body for the Energy Star® program, UL is well-equipped to help you overcome complex design challenges associated with flammable refrigerants.

Read more