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Halon Recycling – The Basics

Posted on: April 12, 2011

If you have a Halon fire suppression system installed in your building, you probably already know the drill – it’s still the most effective fire suppression system (even 40 years after its development!), but it is extremely destructive to the ozone layer should it escape into the outside air and for this reason new production of Halon is illegal. You may have even heard of Halon reclamation and recycling, which allows you to take used Halon and repurpose it after it has been used to put out a fire. But how does Halon recycling work? Is recycled Halon less effective than new Halon?

Why should you recycle Halon in the first place?

Since Halon production was outlawed in 1994, it is important to conserve our existing Halon supplies as much as possible, especially until a suitable alternative is discovered.

As a side note, routine testing of Halon fire suppression systems for proper operation is actually unlawful. Since existing supplies have to be so carefully regulated, the actual release of Halon gas should be restricted to times when it is needed to put down a fire. However, a small sample of the Halon gas should be tested using gas chromatography in order to ensure that the purity of the fire suppressant is maintained.

What does Halon recycling consist of?

The term “Halon recycling” generally refers to a three step process that involves Halon recovery, the actual Halon recycling and finally Halon reclamation.

Halon recovery – Halon recovery involves the collection and storage of the Halon gas from machinery, equipment, containment vessels, etc. during service and prior to disposal.

Halon recycling – during Halon recycling, the Halon that was recovered in the previous step is cleaned through a process of refrigeration and filtration that removes all of the contaminants, including oils, nitrogen, moisture and other particulates. Once it is cleaned, the Halon is ready to be used again.

Halon reclamation – the last step of the Halon recycling process is Halon reclamation. During Halon reclamation, the Halon is reprocessed by means of filtering, drying, distillation and chemical treatment in order to restore it to its original standard of performance.

What equipment do I need to recycle Halon?

Since Halon is so destructive to the environment, minimizing losses of the gas during reclamation is crucial. For this reason, the process of recycling Halon is best left to a professional fire services company.

The most important tool involved in Halon recycling is an effective pump system. The pump must be able to move the Halon from the storage tank to the processing equipment quickly and efficiently. When a Halon supply is recycled, it is crucially important that the recovery and recycling equipment is purged of any Halon or refrigerant from previous Halon recycling jobs. Halon recycling is already difficult enough, and to purify Halon that is contaminated with other Halon or with CFCs is prohibitively expensive.

If you use a Halon fire suppression system to protect your New Jersey, Delaware or Philadelphia building and want more information about Halon recycling or Halon recharging, call Confires today!

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