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Ammonia Refrigeration

While ammonia as a refrigerant has many benefits, users must be aware of the hazards of an accidental leak and practice ammonia refrigeration system safety. Accidental Ammonia leaks, from any pressurized system, have the potential to cause injury or even death to any person in the immediate vicinity and surrounding area.

It is critical that an Ammonia leak is detected as soon as possible and that corrective action is taken immediately. Safe operating procedures, inspection, maintenance, and monitoring are all important aspects of prevention.

New Safety Policy – Analysis of Secondary Coolant

One way to reduce the risk of an ammonia leak is by monitoring for leakage through the analysis of the secondary coolant (often brine) for signs of ammonia. It is important that the secondary coolant in an indirect Ammonia system be tested no less than twice a year. Information Paper IP-BPV-2021-08-01 outlines the requirements for a secondary coolant analysis that your TSASK inspector will be enforcing during your next scheduled inspection. 

As this policy is effective immediately, do not delay and wait for the inspection but consider having the analysis completed as early as you can. Detection of ammonia in the secondary coolant may indicate a leak and should be further investigated to determine if it is a current leak or a past resolved leak. Monitoring of future results may also indicate a leak. 

Guidelines for Care and Operation of Refrigeration Systems Containing Ammonia

The care and operation of your ammonia refrigeration system is essential in the prevention of associated risks. TSASK has developed Information Paper IP-BPV-2021-08-02 with guidelines to help assist in the safe care and operation of mechanical refrigeration systems that contain ammonia. We highly recommend you print this document and display in your mechanical refrigeration room, the operator should be thoroughly aware of these guidelines to prevent safety hazards.  

As the guidelines were designed to be posted in your mechanical refrigeration room, TSASK will have copies available on colored cardstock to help make them more visible. You can request a copy from your TSASK Inspector or complete our online form.

Information Papers


Information Paper IP-BPV-2021-08-01 Ammonia Refrigeration System Secondary Coolant Analysis


Information Paper IP-BPV-2021-08-02 Guidelines for Care and Operation of Mechanical Refrigeration Systems Containing Ammonia


Information Paper IP-BPV-2021-12-01 Guidelines For Care And Operation Of Mechanical Refrigeration Systems Containing Ammonia Used In Industrial Facilities