The home appliance industry is committed to reducing its environmental footprint. The industry has a long history of transitioning to reduce environmental impact, improve energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and enhance safety. Appliance manufacturers are currently transitioning away from high-GWP (global warming potential) hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in refrigerators and freezers, room air conditioners, portable air conditioners and dehumidifiers and have completed a transition away from the use of HFC blowing agent for foam insulation. The industry took the next step in its transition out of high-GWP refrigerants by petitioning the EPA to ban high-GWP HFCs in dehumidifiers, portable air conditioners and most room air conditioners by 2023.
Several states have enacted laws or established regulations that recognizes the differing transition timing out of HFCs for compact (Jan. 1, 2020), full-size (Jan. 1, 2022) and built-in (Jan. 1, 2023) refrigerators and freezers.
In May 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed its first rule under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act of 2020 to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). AHAM is hopeful that the states will defer to a national program to meet climate targets. A national approach will have a larger impact than a few states acting individually. In addition, Environment and Climate Change Canada issued regulations prohibiting the use of HFCs with global warming potential as a blowing agent in 2021 and refrigerant in household refrigerators starting Jan. 1, 2025.
The transition will affect the servicing of cold appliances. AHAM has published “Safe Servicing of Cold Appliances: Recommended Practices” as guidance for the providers of service and maintenance on appliances that may contain newer refrigerants. The guidance is available in both English and French.