5 Common Questions about Ammonia Refrigerant


Today’s ammonia refrigeration contractors provide important services to businesses. However, as a business owner, you should learn as much about industrial refrigeration as possible. It’s important for safety reasons, and a better understanding helps you maintain peak efficiency. Here are five common questions about ammonia refrigerant with answers, to help you learn more on the subject.

1. What is R-717?

Anhydrous ammonia refrigerant is R-717. Anhydrous means the refrigerant is pure and not diluted with water. Ammonia comes from nitrogen and hydrogen and plays a role in the nitrogen cycle for both animals and plants. In fact, close to 80 percent of the earth’s atmosphere is nitrogen.

R-717 is a natural refrigerant, and although it’s colorless, it contains strong odors.

2. What are the Benefits of R-717?

R-717 is very efficient and delivers these benefits:

 * Safe for the ozone

 * Abundant supply – ammonia refrigeration contractors have no problems finding R-717.

 * One of the most efficient refrigerants you can buy

 * Cost-effective

3. Are all Ammonia Refrigerants Pure NH3?

Not all NH3 refrigerants are pure. They have no contaminants, but some have other ingredients. For example, R218 contains octafluoropropane, a non-flammable fluorocarbon. Some high temp heat pump applications use a 40 percent dimethyl ether refrigerant.

4. Is NH3 Safe?

Although R-717 has toxic properties, when handled properly by ammonia refrigeration contractors and trained maintenance personnel, it’s a safe refrigerant. In fact, the odor makes it easy to detect when you have leaks. However, handling NH3 requires special precautions, and it’s important to follow all EPA and OSHA rules on R-717.

5. Is R-717 Flammable?

NH3 doesn’t ignite easily and is not very flammable. Only under certain conditions, do high concentrations of NH3 ignite. In fact, other materials have to act as fuel because NH3 won’t sustain a fire on its own.