The transition to more environmentally friendly refrigerants and foam blowing agents has long been an integral part of the home appliance industry’s commitment to sustainability and to reducing its environmental footprint. Home appliance manufacturers in the U.S. have largely transitioned away from using high-GWP (global warming potential) hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in refrigerators and freezers and are transitioning room air conditioners, portable air conditioners and dehumidifiers away from the use of very high-GWP HFCs.
AHAM was both a leading advocate for these transitions and for relevant changes to safety standards that allowed manufacturers to incorporate more environmentally friendly alternatives.
As the refrigerant transition continues, AHAM advocates for a consistent national approach as opposed to states setting their own laws and to ensuring that appropriate alternatives are available. With the California Air Resource Board’s recent decision to prohibit the use of refrigerants with 750 GWP or greater in room air conditioners, PACs, and dehumidifiers by Jan. 1, 2023, AHAM is encouraging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to make regulatory changes to allow manufacturers to approve the use of a preferred alternative refrigerant. Without the change, consumers in California could face a limited availability of dehumidifiers.
AHAM is also committed to ensuring that appliance repair professionals have the knowledge they need to service appliances that utilize newer refrigerants. 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.