Propane Refrigerant

Propane Refrigerant

​​R-290 is the term used to describe Propane, used as a refrigerant. Propane as a refrigerant solves many problems, but it also has some drawbacks – it all depends on the application in which it’s used.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Hydrocarbon-based, non-synthetic substance
  • EPA-approved in commercial applications
  • Very low environmental impacts; GWO=3, ODP=0
  • Relatively affordable
  • High-efficiency, high-performance, reliable
  • Safe when proper protocols and procedures are followed

Some of the drawbacks include:

  • Class A3 refrigerant that is flammable
  • Globally mandated low charge limits of 150g restrict the application range
  • Difficulty getting approved in fire and building codes
  • Requires special handling requirements/certifications
  • Lack of trained and certified field technicians

R-404A vs. R-290 in Medium Back Pressure (MBP)

As seen in the chart below, the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of R-290 is far more appealing than R-404A.

Propane Diagram 
Special Use Cases for R-290 (Propane as a Refrigerant)

There are several considerations to take into account when determining whether or not R-290 will work for the application you have in mind.

  • 150g charge limit
    • The charge limit reduces the number of applications R-290 can be used.
  • Electrical components (UL471 / EN60079-15)
    • The electrical components of systems that use R-290 require the use of sealed or gas-tight electrical components that are fire/explosion proof.
  • Additional safety measures
    • Additional safety measures should be taken while installing and servicing systems that use R-290. Measures include additional ventilation requirements and the use of leak sensors.
  • Manufacturing safety
    • Special charge & leak detection processes (use sentences)

See the chart below for additional information on how the 150g charge limit impacts the applications in which R-290 can be used:​

R-290 Special Use 

Due to the volatile nature of Propane, R-290 requires some special considerations technicians need to keep in mind while performing service on systems using R-290. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Service Considerations 
Many of our products today are already compatible with R-290. Please reference the chart below to see which products are compatible with R-290 in low and medium temperature applications:

R-290 Model Readiness 
 For performance curves, please log on to the Online Product Information​ page.

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The Case for R-290 

 The Case for R-290
Delist Delay Decipher 
 EPA Refrigerants Ruling

Propane (R-290) Compressors
for the Refrigeration Industry

Download the brochure​​