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Dangers of using Counterfeit/Contaminated Refrigerants

Written by Ritwik Ruia Friday, 10 May 2019 11:51
Dangers of using Counterfeit/Contaminated Refrigerants

Counterfeit refrigerants are defined as impure, imitation refrigerants that aim to mimic the properties and use cases of the underlying, original refrigerants. They’re impure, hazardous and typically sold at discounted prices. The buyer believes he or she is buying an original, approved blend. Trade in counterfeit refrigerants is on the rise & it brings a host of consequences, ranging from poor performance, costly damage to machines & equipment and most importantly dire safety hazards resulting in explosions and loss of human life.

An important development related to refrigerants is India being a willing signatory to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol – which came into effect in January 2019. According to the amendment, signatories promised to reduce the consumption of HFC (hydroflurocarbon) gases like HFC-23 and HFC-134a by 85%, from 2024-2026 levels by 2045. This is significant because while HFCs are not ozone depleting, they do contribute to global warming. This strong stance on phasing out HFCs will directly impact the proliferation of spurious and counterfeit refrigerants in the market over the next few years, which will make it even more important to to vet the authenticity of refrigerants being procured.

Refrigeration is a part of everyday life. Food is chilled, frozen, stored, transported and displayed in refrigerated units using refrigerant gas. Refrigerants are used for a variety of applications in Automotive Air Conditioning, Food & Beverage, Airport, Stationary Air Conditioning, etc. Refrigeration is also a key component of many industrial processes such as pharmaceutical, chemical and natural gas production.

Contaminated/used refrigerants that can no longer be recycled or re-used need to be destroyed. However, some of these contaminated refrigerants are put back onto the market without going through proper recycling processes putting the end users at risk both financially & in terms of human safety.

With so many uses of refrigerants, malevolent unregistered suppliers cut corners and do whatever they can to undercut the pricing of real, certified refrigerant manufacturers. This comes at a cost to an unsuspecting user, who might not have the tools and capability to judge the authenticity of the contents of the cylinders they’re receiving gas in. These dealers not only infringe upon the intellectual property of manufacturers and dealers, they supply without much regard to the quality of their ‘product’.

Gorakhram Haribux is an authorised supplier of Chemours refrigerants all over India and we sell refrigerants under our own brand, providing customers with assurances over quality and reliability.

The main challenge that legitimate sellers face is the problem of counterfeit refrigerants marketed with false, mimicked packaging – giving false promises to the customer.

Counterfeit Refrigerants: Know the Dangers

Counterfeit and illegally imported refrigerants pose a threat to your business and your customers. These products can be substitutes that are unsafe for use and pose quality and equipment performance issues. Equipment failure costing lakhs of rupees, food spoilage, inefficient room cooling and personal injuries are a few of the possible outcomes resulting from counterfeit or illegally imported refrigerant usage.

  1. Systemic Freezing: Low-quality refrigerants with excessive moisture can possibly damage the internal system by freezing into ice crystals & blocking refrigerant flow in expansion valves and evaporator tubes
  2. Corrosion and Acid Formation: Excessive moisture in a refrigerant can create highly corrosive acids by reacting with lubrication oil that can harm the compressor
  3. Sludge Formation: Acid content in the system can cause the formation of sludge that can create blockages in expansion valves & capillary tubes. The sludge can also impede heat transfer in heat-exchangers and affect system performance
  4. System Breakdown: Counterfeit refrigerants may contain chemicals/substances which are not compatible with the refrigeration system and can cause damage leading to system failures

Unlike genuine registered products that are tested for their impact on health and the environment, counterfeits and illegally imported refrigerants can contain unknown ingredients with different toxicity profiles than what you would expect from the information on the product label. Counterfeit refrigerants have also been found to contain varying percentages of ozone-depleting substances, which may be illegal under the terms of the Montreal Protocol.

Risks of using Disposable Cylinders to store Counterfeit Refrigerants:

Disposable cylinders are usually the container of choice to store fake/counterfeit refrigerants due to their relatively low price and untraceability. In India, packaging refrigerants in disposable cylinders is banned, primarily due to the fact that ‘heel’ quantity is usually left behind in cylinders, which can be as high as 10%.

The risk of acquiring counterfeits is therefore higher when procuring disposables over returnable cylinders.

Safety Hazard: Disposable cylinders are meant for one-time usage only, hence are specifically made with thin metal cylinders. Refilling & using the same cylinders can be dangerous as it can cause the thin metal wall to wear out from fatigue resulting in an explosion

Non-Compliance: Counterfeit refrigerants may contain low quality illegal and low purity contents or could even contain used/contaminated refrigerants recovered from old systems. Furthermore, it is illegal to own or use disposable refrigerant cylinders in India

Pollution And Global Warming: Improper disposal of disposable cylinders causes pollution as in most of the cases these cylinders are not completely emptied & residual/leftover refrigerants leak into the atmosphere causing pollution

Ways to avoid counterfeit or illegal refrigerants

  • Obtain refrigerants from reliable and reputable sources who are verified suppliers & manufacturers
  • Avoid disposable cylinders at all costs
  • Verify the source and authenticity of the refrigerant
  • Purchase refrigerants supplied in environmentally-friendly refillable, re-usable cylinders with traceability

Counterfeiters do attempt to replicate our process, so please follow ALL four steps below to ensure authenticity and SAFE refrigerant use!

GORAKHRAM HARIBUX is a name you can rely on for quality refrigerants.

SAFEguard Yourself Against Counterfeit Refrigerants

Select: Make sure you select a reputable Chemours refrigerants distributor for all of your purchases; you can locate authorized resellers in your area by calling us on 022-489-31801

Ask: Don’t leave quality up to chance. Ask for a genuine Chemours refrigerant.

Find: Closely examine your refrigerant packaging to find these key security features I.e.

  1. Hologram
  2. Seal

Ensure: Take a moment to ensure the authenticity of your refrigerant package.

If you witness suspicious activity or are ever in doubt as to whether you have purchased a genuine Chemours refrigerant, contact us on 022-489-31801.

Last modified on Wednesday, 04 March 2020 05:51

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