Rules for placing heat pumps with R290 propane as a refrigerant on the market


How is the R290 propane heat pump marketed as the refrigerant? What requirements must the device meet in order to be approved for use in our country?

What requirements must a heat pump meet in order to be placed on the market?

A heat pump is a complex device that consists of many components. These mainly include the compressor, condenser, evaporator, expansion valve, controls and internal circuit pipes. In order for the device to be admitted to trading, its parameters must comply with the relevant legal regulations. This is confirmed by the manufacturer's declaration and CE marking.

The CE marking of a heat pump indicates that it complies with all applicable laws. The most important legal acts that determine the approval of a given heat pump are:

  • Directive 97/23 / EC on pressure equipment,
  • Directive 2004/108 / EC on electromagnetic compatibility,
  • 2006/95 / EC Low Voltage Directive.

Directive 97/23 / EC is harmonized with the Polish standard PN-EN 378-2: 2002 Refrigeration systems and heat pumps , which specifies the requirements for safety and environmental protection.

When the assessment is successful, the manufacturer issues a declaration of compliance of the heat pump with the requirements of the relevant standards and directives. It also places the CE marking on the product and the number of the notifying body that was responsible for testing the compliance of the heat pump with the applicable legal requirements. It is worth noting that the CE marking confirms the compliance of the entire assembly with the directives that apply to it. Therefore, it is not necessary to use a separate label for each component of it. However, each should be accompanied by information that will allow to identify the manufacturer and the parameters of the device. Documentation is also required, which will include instructions for installation, maintenance, operation and possible precautions.

Heat pumps using fluorinated gases as a refrigerant are additionally subject to the provisions of EU Regulation 517/2014 and the Act of 12 July 2017 amending the Act on substances that deplete the ozone layer and on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases, known as the F-Gas Act. They define, inter alia, which refrigerants can be used and on what terms.

Additional requirements for heat pumps using R290 propane as refrigerant

The above-mentioned EU Regulation 517/2014 and the F-Gas Act do not apply to heat pumps that use propane R290 as refrigerant. Its release into the atmosphere does not damage its ozone layer, and the impact on the greenhouse effect is negligible. However, due to its flammability, it is subject to the Regulation of the Minister of Development of July 11, 2016 on the requirements for pressure equipment and pressure equipment assemblies.

In order to legally place a heat pump with R290 propane as a cooling agent on the market in our country, the most important thing is to obtain a CE certificate from an authorized notifying body. Due to the fact that R290 propane is a flammable medium of A3 class, some elements of the heat pump working with it must additionally meet the requirements of the ATEX standard.

As you can see, the conditions for placing heat pumps with R290 propane as a refrigerant on the market are stricter than for other devices of this type. In this case, the certification body must check the safe operation of R290 propane for each component of the heat pump. Manufacturers of refrigeration components offer products marked with R290 or HC, which have been specially designed to work with R290 propane. An example of this is the Coopelad compressor, which is used in our heat pumps, specially designed for this medium. In order to be able to use it in the heat dissipation system, it had to be previously subject to additional explosion-proof approval of the ATEX EU directive. Before being placed on the market, our heat pumps have undergone a two-stage multi-month inspection carried out by the Central Refrigeration Center COCH in Krakow, which is the only unit in Poland with such authorization.

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