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8.2.1 Flammable Storage in Refrigerators/Freezers

It is important to store flammable liquids only in specially designed flammable storage refrigerators/freezers or explosion-proof refrigerators/freezers. Do not store flammable liquids in standard (non-flammable rated) refrigerators/freezers. Standard refrigerators are not electrically designed to store flammable liquids. If flammable liquids are stored in a standard refrigerator, the build up of flammable vapors can be in sufficient quantities to ignite when the refrigerator’s compressor or light turns on, resulting in a fire or an explosion.

Properly rated flammable liquid storage refrigerators/freezers have protected internal electrical components and are designed for the storage of flammable liquids. Explosion-proof refrigerators/freezers have both the internal and external electrical components properly protected and are designed for the storage of flammable liquids. Refrigerators and freezers rated for the storage of flammable materials will be clearly identified as such by the manufacturer.

For most laboratory applications, a flammable storage refrigerator/freezer is acceptable. However, some operations may require an explosion-proof refrigerator/freezer. Flammable storage refrigerators currently cost approximately $1500 - $3000 each. In the case of limited funding where a laboratory cannot purchase a flammable storage refrigerator for the laboratory’s own use, EHS strongly encourages departments and laboratory groups on each floor to consider purchasing a communal flammable storage refrigerator for the proper and safe storage of flammable liquids.