Back in the good ole days, we just had a few colors to keep up with. Most of us just had to recognize the difference between green, white, and purple. Now there are so many different shades that not even an interior decorator can keep up with them.
AHRI Guidline N is where the industry normally lists the colors of the different refrigerant cylinders. The latest version lists 46 different colors – the big box of crayons. That is why you should always read the cylinder label, not just go on the color. Guideline N describes four classes of refrigerants and they allow the same color to be used in different refrigerant classes. So it is possible that Sky Blue cylinder could have either R-134a or R-13. The only way you know is to read the label.
In the future you will have an even better reason to read the label – all refrigerant cylinders will be the same color. The 2016 edition of Guideline N specifies that all Refrigerant containers should be painted light green gray (RAL 7044 corresponding with PMS 413) starting in 2020. This is spelled out in section 4.8.
One critical color to recognize is red – PMS 185. Cylinders containing flammable refrigerant should have a red band on the shoulder or top of the container. This is specified in section 4.7. Not only should you read the cylinder label, you should be familiar with the properties of any refrigerant you handle. If you start working with a new refrigerant, you should read the safety data sheet. Most refrigerant manufacturers also have refrigerant properties and handling instructions online. You can download and read the details of Guideline N for yourself HERE