Frequently Asked Questions on Refrigerants:
I would not recommend it. You should be using the pag oil that is referenced by your compressor’s manufacturer. These manufacturers test varying types of oil and choose the one that best protects their individual design.
Each compressor and or manufacturer may recommend a different variant of pag oil and by following their instructions you will prolong the life of your compressor and your air conditioning system.
If you are looking to purchase pag oil then hop over to Ebay for the best bargain!
R-134a was already phased out in the European Union a few years ago and it was just announced in July 2015 that it will be phased out in the United States as well. The phase out date of R-134a in the United States is the year 2020, or on 2021 vehicle model years. I did a full article on this and it can be found by clicking this link. 134a is an HFC refrigerant and has a high Global Warming Potential of over 1,300. Due to it’s high global warming potential there is a widespread push to phase it out across the world and to replace it with a new environmentally friendly alternative refrigerant known as 1234YF.
PAG oil, or Polyalkylene Glycol, is a fully synthetic hygroscopic oil specifically designed for automotive air conditioner compressors. It is used in R-134a air conditioning systems to lubricate the compressor. When looking at PAG oil you will notice various numbers such as PAG46 or PAG100. These numbers refer to the viscosity of the oil, similar to 10W30 oil. In order to determine the correct PAG viscosity for your vehicle you will need to look up the specifications of your make and model of your vehicle either online or in the instruction manual.
This one is a bit tricky. If we travel back in time to before 2018 then no, you did not need a license to purchase R-134a cylinders. However, as of January 1st, 2018 you WILL need to be certified to purchase HFC refrigerants such as 410A, 134a, and 404A. Click this link for the exact wording from the EPA’s website. As I write this post in March of 2018 I can safely say that this new regulation has caused a lot of upset across the industry. No longer can the do-it-yourselfers purchase thirty pound cylinders of R-134a. No, now in order to purchase you have to be 609 certified with the Environmental Protection Agency.
It should be noted that there are some exceptions to this rule. The first is that if you provide a signed document with your address, phone, and business stating that you will resell the R-134a product and that you will not use it then you can still purchase. This is known as a certificate of resale. The other work around is that you are still able to purchase 134a cans that come in under two pounds. So, while you can’t get your thirty pound cylinders anymore you can still get the product just in a much smaller quantity. I usually recommend purchasing these cans from our Amazon partner. You can see their R-134a can selection by clicking here.
While R-134a does not contain Chlorine like previously banned refrigerants such as R-12 and R-22, 134a does have an extremely high Global Warming Potential, or GWP. GWP is a measurement of how potent a gas is when released into the atmosphere. These gases are known as greenhouse gases. 134a has an extremely high GWP number of one-thousand four-hundred and thirty. What that means is that 134a is over one-thousand times more potent to the climate then Carbon Dioxide.
In July 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency announced that the United State would be phasing out 134a across the country. The date that was picked was the year 2020 for total phase out in new vehicles. (2021 model year.) There was one exception made for vehicles being exported out of the country. Exported vehicles will have to be in compliance in the year 2024, or 2025 model year.
Over the next few years expect to see the price of 134a to slowly increase and to begin seeing 1234YF become more and more mainstream throughout the country. You can read more about this in an article I wrote earlier this week by clicking here.
As of January 1st, 2018 you will need a section 609 certification with the Environmental Protection Agency. This was changed due to the high Global Warming Potential that 134A has. It is known as a ‘supergas’ and contributes highly to Global Warming. For more information on how to obtain a 609 license click this link to be taken to our refrigerant licensing guide.
It should be noted that there is an exception to these rules for the weekend warriors out there. People who are not certified to handle refrigerants can still purchase two pounds or less canisters at their local stores. So, if I needed to recharge my Camry then all I would need to do is go to my local parts store or Amazon.com and Purchase Refrigerant R134a for MVAC use. This can be done without a license. So, there is hope!
Thanks for reading,
R-134a is the default refrigerant for all automotive applications. If you own a car between 1994 and 2015 chances are that it takes R-134a. 134a is classified as an HFC refrigerant and does not contain Chlorine.
Just as R-22 was phased out residential and commercial units R-12 was phased out of the automotive market. R-134A is it’s replacement. R-134A has exploded in use over the last ten years with most all new vehicles being R-134A only.
R-134a’s peak may be waning over the next few years due to it’s high global warming potential. 134a has already been banned in the European Union and there are steps being taken to have it banned in America as well as to have it added to the Montreal Protocol. HFO refrigerants, mainly 1234YF, will be the primary replacement when 134a is gone.
Yes! With past refrigerants such as R-12 and R-22 you needed to be licensed to handle the refrigerant as they caused damage to the O-Zone layer and a laymen could inadvertently cause a leak of the cylinder.
R-134A, R-404A, and R-410A are HFC refrigerants which do NOT cause damage to the O-Zone layer but they do have extremely high greenhouse gas emissions. While you can still purchase them today it is important to note that as of January 1st, 2018 you WILL need to be certified to purchase HFC refrigerants such as 410A, 134a, and 404A. Click the link on the bottom of the article for the exact wording from the EPA’s website.