Refrigerant Labeling: Guidelines for Safety and Compliance

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Courtesy of Courtesy of IHS

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Whether you are conducting routine maintenance, recovering, recycling or purchasing new refrigerant, it is necessary to know how to properly label and identify a refrigerant by its color markings and required Department of Transportation (DOT) tags.

This article is a refresher on what all HVACR contractors and technicians should maintain and look for when handling any refrigerant cylinder. Understanding these color codes could protect you from making serious compliance blunders and most importantly, ensure that you are handling any refrigerant safely.

Recovered Refrigerant Color Codes
All recovered refrigerants, whether recovered to cylinders, drums or tanks, need to be marked in a yellow and gray color scheme per the following:

  • Cylinders with non-removable collars: body of the cylinder needs to be gray, the shoulders and collar yellow.
  • Cylinders with removable caps: cylinder body needs to be gray, the cylinder's shoulder and cap should be yellow.
  • Drums: the drum body needs to be gray, the top yellow.
  • Tanks: the body needs to be gray, the ends and chimes of the container need to be yellow.
  • Also, label the cylinder or container with a DOT 4-by-4 green, diamond-shaped, 'nonflammable gas' label.
  • Refillable cylinders should have a label that notes the refrigerant type, CAS number, and UN number.

When transferring refrigerant from containers or equipment avoid contamination. Containers must be of the correct type and color and properly marked. Manufacturers follow a voluntary color-coding system to ensure separation.

Refrigerant Cylinder Identification

Virgin Refrigerant Container Color
and Class Matrix
Refrigerant Color PMS # Class
11 Orange 021 I
12 White None II
13 Light Blue (Sky) 2975 III
13B1 Pinkish-Red (Coral) 177 III
14 Yellow-Brown (Mustard) 124 III
22 Light Green 352 II
23 Light Blue-Grey 428 III
113 Dark Purple (Violet) 266 I
114 Dark Blue (Navy) 302 II
116 Dark Grey (Battleship) 424 III
123 Light Blue-Grey 428 I
124 Deep Green (DOT Green) 335 I
125 Medium Brown (Tan) 465 I
134a Light Blue (Sky) 2975 II
401A Pinkish-Red (Coral) 177 II
401B Yellow-Brown (Mustard) 124 II
401C Blue-Green (Aqua) 3268 II
402A Light Brown (Sand) 461 III
402B Green-Brown (Olive) 385 III
404A Orange 021 III
407A Lime Green 368 III
407B Cream 156 III
407C Medium Brown (Brown) 471 III
408A Medium Purple (Purple) 248 III
409A Medium Brown (Tan) 465 II
410A Rose 507 III
410B Maroon 194 III
500 Yellow 109 II
502 Light Purple (Lavender) 251 II
503 Blue-Green (Aqua) 3268 III
507 Blue-Green (Teal) 326 III
717, NH3 Silver
Any Recovered Yellow/Gray
*Source: ARI Guidelines N-1995, ARI Guidelines K-1997. PMS = Pantone® Matching System, an international printing, publishing and packaging color language.

Any time a container or system undergoes the transfer of refrigerant, check the refrigerant for compatibility: type, cleanliness and oils used. Under no circumstances should different refrigerant be mixed. Refillable cylinders must be retested and recertified every five years and the test date stamped on the cylinder collar, in accordance with DOT Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 173.34 (e) and 173.31 (d). Retesting by visual inspection alone is not permitted. Do not fill a container that is 5 years or older; return it empty to the owner or a recertification company for retesting.

When attempting to identify a refrigerant, it is also important to know all the names by which each refrigerant may be called. For example, Carrier's Puron Brand is actually R-410a.

Any time used refrigerant is transported, clearly label its container with a DOT classification tag in order to meet the requirements of the Code of Federal Regulations title 49.

With these guidelines in mind, you will not only show that you take EPA compliance regulations seriously, but that you are concerned about the efficient maintenance of refrigerant inventories and the safety of those who work with you.

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