A/C - a guide for upgrading R134A systems to R152A

It’s a constantly moving issue, R1234yf, a HFO, has now shown that when released to the atmosphere it produces trifluoroacetic acid which then forms a salt derivative which settles into the water table and isn’t real good for us. Bravo we just removed an issue from the upper atmosphere and brought it to ground level :face_with_raised_eyebrow::face_with_raised_eyebrow::face_with_raised_eyebrow:.

R152A has none of these problems and going on our past is a vast improvement over even R134a. But like anything huge releases by using it as a foam blowing agent, etc is not wise. In an AC system it is contained and when removed with a recovery pump never even sees the atmosphere.


Where do you buy R152A in the US? I looked it up (also difluoroethane) and get nothing but duster cans and Alibaba type sources. Preferably the standard 20-30 lb cylinders. Don’t know why I can’t find it.

Don’t know about the US. In Australia you can’t buy any refrigerants without a trading licence and you can’t touch it without a handling licence. Big fines apply and if caught releasing it to the atmosphere you can be fined up to $51,000. Possibly similar restrictions apply?

I’m fully licensed here in the US (EPA “Universal” certificate). You can buy thousands of pounds here without a license, but it has to be packaged in duster cans. Anyone else know if it’s sold in the US in a more convenient form? Evidently available in Canada.

Robert, I simply use cans of duster with a side can tapper and at 65% quantity vs. R134A you only need a couple of cans for the average car, (or at least MY old cars).

BTW, I suggest that most of the automotive refrigerant released into the atmosphere probably occurs when cars are crushed - and thousands get crushed every day.

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By law here in the States you must recover the refrigerant or face fines. Not to say that a scrapyard might ignore such

Personally I haven’t released any R134A, was able to just top up my R134A systems with RI52A.
My friend who runs a recovery (towing) biz gets calls to haul away unwanted cars daily. These are often late-model luxury marques like Jags, Mercs and BMWs as not many people want to deal with the huge repair bills that are sometimes quoted for these things.
He used to store the cars but as the cost of storage/property values soared and any scrap of open land got snapped up by REIT’s he was forced to take the cars directly to the crusher.
I know the scrappers remove the cats and batteries etc but find it doubtful that the yards evacuate the A/C before crushing, although I’ll ask him tomorrow at coffee.
BTW, the laws against releasing refrigerant into the atmosphere are the same in Canada as Stateside. Of course as R152A (duster) is MEANT to be released as it cleans off your keyboard - it does suggest a somewhat contradictory note, eh?

It does sound a bit contradictory. IIRC, fines for not reclaiming start at $10K per release. But although I carry a license, I haven’t done AC work for several years so can’t quite remember the specifics. I also reclaimed what I did pull out


The fines are for venting certain refrigerants into the atmosphere. You can avoid that by recovering into an approved cylinder. I don’t think it’s required that you have the refrigerant professionally reclaimed (reprocessed). OTOH you’re not suppose to sell recovered but not reclaimed refrigerant, but you can use it yourself (or let the customer reuse it). IMO from memory.

Oh, and another useful nugget from the US EPA. You can vent “de minimus” amounts of refrigerant for testing etc. But the quantity that qualifies as “de minimus” is not stated.

You are correct. My use of reclaim is incorrect. It should have been “recovered”. And yes you can simply recover into a proper vessel, but using a recover pump, and ideally should be a separate container for each particular refrigerant or you may have difficulty in getting a reclaimer to accept it. Or may charge significantly higher due to mixed refrigerants :+1:


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Maybe I’m uninformed but I thought those duster aerosol cans were just compressed air for blowing off keyboards etc. Why does it need to be some chemical? Fill me in here.

Yes, we all thought they were compressed air John! But no, they don’t contain compressed air, they contain Difluoroethane aka R152A

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You need something that’s a liquid in the can. If not you get very little product for your money.

Learn sumfin new, EVERY day!!!

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Does anyone know what type of oil should be used with 152a? I have heard replace the PAG with ester, any ideas?

Same oil as R134a - it’s fully compatible with R134a systems