As 22 Phases Out, Look for 410A Use to Increase

March 8, 2001
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The move away from HCFC-22 continues to increase. Its tenure in the refrigeration sector was a relatively short one, as alternatives such as HFC-404A and HFC-507 soon caught on.

In its more familiar use for the residential air conditioning market, 22 is finding itself increasingly replaced, primarily by another HFC, according to several industry officials.

“The best choice of refrigerants for residential air conditioning systems is R-410A,” said Bill Walter, manager of Industry Relations for Carrier Corp. “That is the way the industry is going to go.”

At a recent ASHRAE climate change seminar, Walter stated that R-22 may be the present choice, but he wanted to clarify that it will not be down the road. Walter noted that, as of 2010, R-22 cannot be used in any new equipment. He said the phaseout of 22 would impact the hvac industry as early as 2006.

Carrier has been one of the leaders in the push toward 410A. It showed one of its 410A Puron™ refrigerant residential units at an AHR Expo six years ago. According to senior product manager Andrea Dopp, as HCFCs are phased out, “the price of R-22 refrigerant is rising and the supply shrinking. This makes Puron-based equipment a sound, long-term hvac investment for home and building owners.”



GAINING MOMENTUM

Carrier began pilot testing Puron units in 1995 and introduced the first three units in 1998. Since then, Carrier has installed 250,000 Puron units in the residential market. Half of the company’s air conditioning residential deluxe line is being manufactured with Puron refrigerant, according to company officials. The company is moving toward manufacturing all of its residential split systems with Puron in an effort to phase out products manufactured with HCFC refrigerants.

In fact, most of the major unitary manufacturers are now producing units using R-410A.

“It may not be a high percentage [of installations] right now, but over the next three to 10 years, that percentage is going to increase dramatically,” predicted Walter.

Carrier officials noted the units now are used in both upscale and tract housing. The company reported that Ryland Homes was the first national homebuilder to install Puron refrigerant products exclusively. The initial project involved such units at the Lost Creek Ranch development near Dallas, TX.

Among other projects is a development near Birmingham, AL, where 1,400 Puron units are going into 700 homes. The company said pricing is similar to R-22 models. Even in tract housing, officials said Puron refrigerant products are priced competitively to the type of R-22 units that might be used in such an application.

Puron units require a different compressor design to help cope with the refrigerant’s higher pressures.

“Contractors and service technicians have to be aware of the higher pressures and, of course, have a different set of gauges. Other than that, the servicing is the same. It’s no big deal,” said Walter. “And anytime you are dealing with a different refrigerant, you’ve got to be sure your lines are purged so that you don’t get any mixing of refrigerant.”

He noted there is no problem in topping off a Puron unit since the refrigerant “is so close to being an azeotrope.”

While R-407C has attracted some attention in the commercial sector because it requires less equipment redesign, Walter said 410A still wins out, especially in the residential sector.

“R-407C is a blend containing three refrigerants that does separate when you have a leak. There may be concerns about topping off where there are no concerns with Puron.”



POE CONCERNS

HFCs require the use of POE oils instead of mineral oil.

“When we first started looking at POEs, there were concerns about moisture and decomposition,” said Walter. “But as we started working with them, we found out these problems aren’t happening. Moisture can be removed by the filter-drier. If you get a drier designed for HFCs and POEs, it will keep the moisture out of the oil. And then keep your system closed. Keep the oil container closed when it is not used.

“All of the fears we had initially have not materialized. The POE hasn’t been a problem. And our reliability with an HFC/POE system has been as good as, if not better, than with 22/mineral oil.” It was noted that all the tools and components needed for use with HFC/POE systems are available through most supply houses.

One caution: R-410A needs to be used in systems designed for that refrigerant. It cannot be retrofitted into R-22 units.



Sidebar: Greenheck Showcases Quick Delivery Program

ATLANTA, GA — Greenheck, the Schofield, WI-based manufacturer of ventilation equipment, rolled out its new Quick Delivery Program at the AHR Expo.

The company lists several benefits of what it calls the “industry’s most complete selection of air-moving products and services.”

  • When an order is received by noon (Central Time), Greenheck will ship the same day from one of its four distribution centers. If the order comes in after noon, it is shipped the next day.
  • The QD Online service is a 24/7 method of ordering parts online. Once a customer registers, Greenheck and a local representative will create an online account for each customer. Customers sending in their first online order also receive a free gift (go to www.greenheck.com to find out what it is).
  • Quick Build is a line of products that can be ordered in one-, three-, five-, ten-, and fifteen-day cycles. This is available to customers who want a product fast that is not currently in stock.
  • Greenheck manufacturing plants are located in Schofield; Sacramento, CA; and Frankfort, KY.



    Sidebar: Obituary

    KNOXVILLE, TN — Daniel R. Burnette, 60, an active leader of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association and the PHCC Educational Foundation, died Feb. 21 here after a three-year battle with cancer.

    “We have truly lost one of PHCC’s great leaders,” said association president Mike Kastner. “Dan was steadfast in his loyalty to the association and love for the industry, and was a continual contributor of ideas and action. He will be sorely missed.”

    “He fought the disease in the same manner he did everything in life — with unrelenting determination and positive resolve,” said Educational Foundation chairman Larry Howe.

    Mr. Burnette was chairman of Interstate Mechanical Contractors, Inc., Knoxville. He also held many leadership positions within PHCC.

    At the association’s annual convention last year, Mr. Burnette received the PHCC Educational Foundation’s 2000 Industry Achievement Award, which recognizes visionary leadership and extraordinary commitment to the plumbing-heating-cooling industry.

    In his history with the association, Mr. Burnette was president of the Tennessee PHCC in 1976, secretary of the PHCC-National Association in 1982-83, president in 1990-91, and chairman of the Educational Foundation in 1995-96.

    He was also an active member of the PHCC Legislative Advisory Council and informed elected officials in Washington, DC on the effects of federal legislation on plumbing, heating, and cooling contractors. In addition, Mr. Burnette served as the PHCC representative on the board of directors for the Associated Specialty Contractors and was chairman of the ASC from 1993-95.

    Publication date: 03/12/2001

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