A refrigerant recovery machine is a device which can be used to remove refrigerant from a cooling system such as a freezer, refrigerator, or air conditioning system. Several companies manufacture refrigerant recovery machines, and there are a number of applications for these devices. Due to concerns about environmental pollution caused by the release of refrigerants into the environment, many nations require people to have a certification before they can operate a refrigerant recovery machine, demonstrating that they know how to operate the machine safely and correctly.
When any device which uses refrigerant is brought in for service, the recovery machine is used to drain the device first, to ensure that refrigerant is not accidentally released during servicing and repairs. Once removed, the refrigerant can be filtered to remove impurities, and pumped back into the device after the cleaning and servicing is over. Refrigerants can also be reclaimed, which involves more extensive processing to purify the refrigerant so that it can be released for sale, and they can also be disposed of in locations which are designed to process refrigerants.
In cases where appliances which contain refrigerant are being disposed of, it is necessary to extract the refrigerant first. A refrigerant recovery machine is used to pull out the refrigerant before the device is broken down so that its components can be recycled and discarded. The extracted refrigerant may be reclaimed or disposed of, depending on policies at the processing site and the type of refrigerant involved. Many nations hold the final custodian of the appliance responsible for extracting the refrigerant, requiring scrap yards and appliance recyclers to maintain records which indicate that they are handling refrigerant responsibly.
Refrigerant recycling is environmentally important because it reduces the need to produce more refrigerants. Processing facilities are also slowly removing and disposing of harmful refrigerants like Freon by taking the refrigerant out of old appliances. Proper disposal is critical for older refrigerants which have been linked with damage to the Earth's atmosphere, and for modern refrigerants which are considered safe, recycling still saves money and reduces stress on the environment.
The basic design of a refrigerant recovery machine is designed to create a vacuum which is used to suck the refrigerant out of the system, with good machines having recovery rates over 90%. If the refrigerant is going to be pumped back into the system after servicing, the recovery machine recreates the vacuum in the system so that the refrigerant will be sucked back in, and the system is resealed.