Updated Flammable Refrigerant Safety Standard
14th July 2023
Overview of the new standard
Following a significant delay, the latest edition of BS EN IEC 60335-2-89 2022+A11 2022, is now available from BSI. This updated standard addresses commercial refrigerating appliances and icemakers that incorporate either a remote refrigeration system or compressor. Notably, it introduces safety assessments for appliances containing flammable refrigerants exceeding 150 g. The newly introduced clauses outline construction requirements and introduce a leakage test to determine the gas concentration beyond the appliance’s boundaries.
Previously, the standard only allowed flammable refrigerant charges to a maximum of 150 g. However, the earlier clauses remain in effect, meaning that all systems, regardless of their level of flammable refrigerant charge, must undergo safety testing. It also allows for the application of flammable refrigerants in larger appliances, which previously required either two refrigeration circuits (each with a 150 g charge) or the use of non-flammable refrigerants.
The maximum allowable flammable refrigerant charge varies depending on the specific refrigerant used and is determined using a calculation. The allowable charge can significantly differ based on the refrigerant’s flammability.
Implications for Integral Refrigerated Cabinets under the New Standard
The responsibility for ensuring the safety of the units they produce lies with manufacturers. In many countries, manufacturers have the option to conduct additional risk assessments beyond the local regulations to guarantee safety. As in 2019, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) revised its safety standard, IEC 60335-2-89. However, this revision provided manufacturers with a justification for using flammable charge limits exceeding 150g in the United Kingdom.
With the updated standard now being incorporated into UK law, we can expect a significant rise in the number refrigerated cabinets with higher flammable charge volumes. This shift will allow for greater flexibility and potentially lead to more cost-effective manufacturing processes.
Rest assured that manufacturers are adapting to the updated safety standard, ensuring that integral refrigerated cabinets meet the highest safety standards. The updated standard introduces new construction-related clauses that necessitate inspection and physical testing. These clauses encompass various requirements aimed at minimizing piping vibration, testing appliance protection measures, ensuring the safety of solder alloys, and ensuring compliance of service ports with tightness control levels. Manufacturers must evaluate these new clauses through thorough inspections and physical testing to meet the standard’s construction criteria.
The ability to apply higher flammable refrigerant charges to refrigerated cabinets brings potential cost benefits to manufacturers. By utilizing larger charges, manufacturers can reduce the need for multiple refrigeration circuits or the application of HFC refrigerants. This streamlines the manufacturing process, leading to cost savings and improved efficiency.
The new clauses in the standard include a room area safety requirement. Manufacturers must mark the smallest allowable floor area limit for the refrigerated cabinet on the appliance itself. This provision ensures that cabinets are installed in suitable spaces, considering safety aspects and minimizing potential risks.