If you haven’t had to recharge your automotive A/C in a while, you might be surprised to notice that your old can taps, hose and gauges, and other dispensing equipment don’t work on your new refrigerant can. No, this is not a plot by the A/C industry to force you to make additional purchases….in fact, the reason behind the design change is actually for the betterment of our environment, to conserve product, and to save you money.
Hopefully we can explain a few things to help assuage your frustration.
Through Section 608 of the EPA Clean Air Act, the EPA mandated the switch to self-sealing cans for all refrigerant produced after January 1, 2018. (It’s possible you still purchased puncture-style cans in 2018 because companies were permitted to sell their remaining inventory of those cans until they were depleted). The purpose of the switch is because refrigerant was found to be harmful to the environment when vented into the atmosphere. The old can style had a foil top which the dispensing equipment punctured to release the contents. When the dispensing equipment was removed from the can, the refrigerant which remained in the can vented directly into the environment. While the amount left over in a can may seem negligible, when multiplied across thousands and thousands of cans, the amount was actually significant.
Newer refrigerant cans are required by law to have a “self-sealing” (or Shraeder) valve. This valve automatically reseals the can when the dispensing equipment is removed. Resealing the valve ensures minimal refrigerant venting into the atmosphere. It also conserves the refrigerant so it can be used at a later date, saving you money.
What about that old “puncture style” dispensing equipment you have? I’m sorry to tell you, it will no longer have any use. Even if the EPA were to roll back their regulation, many states have already adopted the more environmentally-sensitive rules, ensuring that the industry will not go back to puncture-style cans.