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Consumers warned topping-up A/C systems illegal

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Think you can top up your air conditioning unit at home or in your car on your own?

Think again.

Dealers in refrigerants rolled out a campaign today to warn consumers if they do it, they’re probably breaking the law.

Manitoba’s environment laws are strict when it comes to ozone protection and top of the list of restrictions is the use of refrigerants in this province.

"Under Manitoba law, the improper handling, mixing or release of regulated refrigerants, even by accident, carries penalties of up to $50,000 or six months imprisonment for a first offense," warned a poster released today by the Manitoba Ozone Protection Industry Association.

The industry association issued its warning after hearing some consumers are being sold do-it-yourself kits even though they likely violate the province’s tough environmental protection laws.

Under the province’s regulations, only certified A/C technicians have the legal authority to recover old refrigerants, repair equipment and recharge air conditioning systems with new refrigerants.

The poster warned that mixing refrigerants can be dangerous and cause damage to your equipment. Propane and ammonia, for instance, are toxic and flammable and even if they don’t combust, releasing them can damage the environment.

The destruction of ozone layer in the upper atmosphere is caused by chemicals, including certain chlorine and bromine containing compounds, such as chlorofluorocarbons or halon. Ozone forms a protective layer against deadly ultraviolet radiation.

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