A Longer Life for R-22 Equipment?

February 11, 2008
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That magical moment of midnight Dec. 31, 2009, where manufacturers will no longer be producing new equipment running on HCFC-22 - but on HFC-410A instead - may not be that magical of a moment after all.

A closer reading of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations regarding R-22 from several sources within the HVACR industry seems to say that equipment can no longer be pre-charged by the manufacturer with virgin R-22 as of 2010. But there does not appear to be any prohibition from manufacturers shipping R-22 units without virgin R-22, leaving it up to the buyer to figure out how to get enough R-22 to have the system later charged by a contractor.

In general, unitary manufacturers appear committed to a preponderance of R-410A coming off the assembly lines in 2010. But what, if any, new R-22 unitary equipment might still be in production in 2010 is unclear.

Entering into the mix is the fact that several refrigerant manufacturers have already introduced to the industry a number of HFC refrigerants designed to work with mineral oil and being marketed as retrofitable into R-22 systems.

“Basically there is no ban on the production of R-22 equipment as long as it is not pre-charged with virgin R-22,” said Talbot Gee, vice president of the Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI). In fact, Gee said his reading of regulations indicate that manufacturers would even be allowed to pre-charge systems with reclaimed R-22.

Gee said one concern has been the lack of adequate promotion of R-410A equipment. “Building and facility owners have no interest in R-410A. They still see R-22 equipment coming off the assembly line.”

A DANGEROUS ASSUMPTION

That may be a dangerous - and costly - assumption, according to a statement from Trane. “While there may be ways around the R-22 phaseout regulations starting in 2010, such as shipping equipment less refrigerant and allowing customers to charge the unit with recycled/reclaimed/recovered refrigerant, the economics do not make this feasible.”

The reference was to the rising cost of and phaseout of virgin R-22.

“The recent Montreal Protocol changes and an updated look at supply-demand scenarios reveal that supplies in 2010 may be much tighter than originally anticipated, including the possibility that virgin R-22 supplies may be short,” said Kevin P. O’Shea, North American marketing manager for DuPont Refrigerants.

Rather than continuing to order new equipment formatted for R-22, O’Shea said owners need to look at what R-22 equipment they already have and make sure they have adequate supplies of refrigerant through the life of the equipment.

“Equipment owners that have a large base of HCFC systems in place today will need to actively implement plans to retrofit or replace equipment so they have sufficient time and budget for an orderly transition away from HCFCs.”

He went on to say, “Unless the HVACR industry immediately steps up actions and promotes techniques to ease demand for HCFCs and minimize potential supply shortfalls, accelerated HCFC phaseout targets in 2010 may significantly impact the availability and cost of R-22 in the marketplace sooner than originally thought. Contractors and equipment owners can mitigate the potential for a shortfall by taking action now to reduce demand for R-22 and reclaim the supply that is currently available. Additionally, they can implement proper maintenance and repair practices to increase the amount of viable R-22 that can be reclaimed.”

For the record, Trane said its approach “will be to stop offering new R-22 compatible equipment to the U.S. market post 2009. We do not anticipate much, if any, field-installed R-22 systems being implemented post 2009.”

Trane said it would continue to offer components, such as compressors, for R-22 equipment already in the field as part of the company’s commitment to the aftermarket sector.

NEW HFCS

Entering into the equation is a current preponderance of HFC refrigerants that a number of refrigerant manufacturers say will work with equipment originally designed for HCFC-22. These blended refrigerants usually have a small amount of propane or similar refrigerant to assist in oil return and also work with mineral oil.

For the most part, the refrigerant manufacturers see such refrigerants as interim solutions in the transition from R-22 equipment to R-410A equipment. But at least one refrigerant producer sees the value of such refrigerants for OEMs who want to continue to produce R-22 equipment.

Steven Mella, CEO of ComStar International Inc., said a refrigerant his company has with an ASHRAE designation of R-434A “can be adapted by equipment OEMs that want to continue to use their R-22 systems without going through the re-engineering required for a R-410A system.”

But Ted Gartland, who once worked for a refrigerant manufacturer and now works for the refrigerant management company Verisae, wonders about using refrigerants for which a piece of equipment was not originally designed.

“Take, for instance, a field-built walk-in. A contractor could use HFC-407C equipment and charge it with recovered R-22. R-407C could be used in 13 SEER R-22 equipment, but would it still be 13 SEER?”

WHAT ABOUT WARRANTIES

HARDI’s Gee said the aftermarket use of refrigerants for which the equipment was not originally designed raises questions about manufacturers honoring warranties. One development contractors should watch for in the next few years, he said, is for any OEMs designating certain refrigerants beyond those originally designed for use in a certain piece of equipment as acceptable for that equipment and honoring warranties.

The EPA regulation generating the questions is 40 CFR 32.16(c). It became part of the “frequently asked question” part of the agency’s Website. The Q&A dealt primarily with the issue of import and export of R-22 equipment. But within the language of the rule and the answer, some saw a connection to the issue of domestic production of R-22 equipment.

In part the reply said, “The current provisions limit production and import of virgin R-22 or R-142b as of Jan. 1, 2010. However, these provisions apply to bulk shipments only. They do not address products that contain or are manufactured with R-22 or R-142b. The EPA is concerned with the environmental impacts that could result from the potential continued imports of HCFC pre-charged products after the phase out of production and importation of bulk substances. Therefore, the EPA is evaluating options for addressing these concerns.”

The fact that the regulation relates to imports is yet another aspect of the equation. Gee said wholesalers are interpreting current regulations as allowing domestic manufacturers to continue to produce R-22 equipment offshore and import such products into the United States for sale, provided it is not actually charged with R-22.

Publication date: 02/11/2008

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R-22 Replacements

Raymond Zilske
February 11, 2008
Dupont bought Iceon 2005. Abosolute temp/pressure performance spec's are legal and binding. If under EPA SEER testing with Dupont/Iceon replacements used as the optional refrigerant and can not meet 13 SEER performance (should exceed); then EPA would fine Dupont for all said refrigerant for sale at all supply houses. Truely a CEO's nightmare.

The coming carbon taxes

joe maurer
February 12, 2008
This is a peculiar situation the Industry finds itself in at the stepped up R22 transition. What's missing here is the realization that carbon taxes, which are likely coming next year at the latest, will make many HCFC and HFC refrigerants obsolete, because of, you guessed it, cost. These taxes will likely start at or above $15. per ton of CO2 and ramp up to over $200. per ton within ten to fifteen years. HFC410a has a GWP of almost 2000. HCFC22 isn't much less. Do the math. It's a no brainer for sure. But wait. The refrigerant manufacturers have already publicly announced a replacement for HFC134a with a GWP below 200 for the European market beginning 2011. Dupont calls it DP1. So the real question is where are the replacements for the rest of these refrigerants?

R-22 and replacements

Greg Canniff
February 13, 2008
One thing you should know is that when R-22 was developed, it was a bridge from the CFC gases to the most effective refrigerant gas for the future. However, when R-410a was developed as the replacement for R-22, the emphasis was on ozone depletion, and only after it was put in service did the problem of global warming come up. As you are probably aware, the Global Warming Potential of R-410a is 2100 times CO2 potential*, while R-22 is 1810 times CO2 potential. This is significant, and most likely means that R-410a could/should be phased out as well. Hence, there should be no rush to replace equipment that uses R-22 refrigerant because the equipment manufacturers will once again be forced to change over their equipment anyway! In the article, it did not mention that O.E. manufacturers can stockpile R-22 purchased before the 1/1/10 deadline. This is significant because the manufacturers of equipment can continue to produce new equipment until the stockpiles run out.

A longer life for R-22Equipment

Donald Brian Baker
February 16, 2008
In our great Industry, why is it that we cannot accept that the vast majority of us want to move on with R410A and leave R-22 for what will surely be needed in the aftermarket maintenance of the existing systems installed. We know the historical numbers when you leave system charging in the field to us as contractors, the vast majority of releases happen with us. For manufacturers to even consider playing loose with the intent of where we as an Industry want to go is self-serving. We as Contractors need to suppoort the Manufacturers who set the bar high and work to bring us all on side. The EPA needs to work to bring about further changes to close these loop holes. Since 2003 we have been installing R410A systems and its been a great, why so many want to drag their feet is beyond me. For us its not even an issue, because once we educate the client on what is best for them and the environment, R-22 units just do not have a place any longer. We have even attempted to change clients over to the alternatives such as RS-44 with no real success. Again, we can only attribute this to the client educating themselves. Thank you Peter, this is a very controversial issue and one that would be a barn burner at an open forum at an Industry forum with Contractors, Wholesalers, Manufacturers. Thank you.

A longer life for R-22Equipment

Donald Brian Baker
February 16, 2008
In our great Industry, why is it that we cannot accept that the vast majority of us want to move on with R410A and leave R-22 for what will surely be needed in the aftermarket maintenance of the existing systems installed. We know the historical numbers when you leave system charging in the field to us as contractors, the vast majority of releases happen with us. For manufacturers to even consider playing loose with the intent of where we as an Industry want to go is self-serving. We as Contractors need to suppoort the Manufacturers who set the bar high and work to bring us all on side. The EPA needs to work to bring about further changes to close these loop holes. Since 2003 we have been installing R410A systems and its been a great, why so many want to drag their feet is beyond me. For us its not even an issue, because once we educate the client on what is best for them and the environment, R-22 units just do not have a place any longer. We have even attempted to change clients over to the alternatives such as RS-44 with no real success. Again, we can only attribute this to the client educating themselves. Thank you Peter, this is a very controversial issue and one that would be a barn burner at an open forum at an Industry forum with Contractors, Wholesalers, Manufacturers. Thank you.

global warming

angelos backus
February 26, 2008
GLOBAL WARMING or GLOBAL COOLING? By: Angelos Backus Only a moron would have an answer! Most likely it is the same moron that will make the claim that they know which came first: the Chicken or the Egg? all without asking about the role of the rooster! INTRODUCTION It is embarrassing to constantly read about or hear educated politicians, news reporters, news commentators, quack scientists, and even a past Vice President of the United States making claims that the planet Earth is undergoing a period of global warming or global cooling. It is especially disturbing when these claims are made without first offering any logical scientific or mathematical evidence. Listening to some of these unsubstantiated statements, I canÃÆÂ'¢â‚¬â„¢t help myself from wondering what century we live in. Is it during the life of Aesop, where we were governing our thoughts by AesopÃÆÂ'¢â‚¬â„¢s fable The Wind and the Sun or maybe during the eighteenth century and The Caloric Theory? If this is indeed the twenty-first century, then we must be aware of the historic Brownian Movement and the advancement of DaltonÃÆÂ'¢â‚¬â„¢s molecular and atomic theory, which led to the conciliation that all matter is composed of molecules. THE PROBLEM There is one overriding problem now surrounding the global warming/global cooling debate. It is this problem that is arguably causing much of the overwhelming confusion among the public. Simply stated, the central problem is that both the interested and disinterested parties to the debate have no solid or tangible scientific and mathematical understanding of what temperature and heat actually are. Obviously, most anyone can provide a definition of the words temperature and heat. A normal person would define the word heat as how hot something is or feels. That same person would likely define temperature in mostly the identical way. While those definitions sound logical and correct, they are in fact complete misrepresentations of what temperature and heat are in a scientific and mathematical sense. Unfortunately, in our society, the social and educational systems do not work to provide their students with the correct understanding of how the living world truly operates. Our societal and educational systems would rather have students memorize a basic and uninvolved definition, and then force this definition to be regurgitated, all for the quest to earn a phony grade. Thus, students are not inspired to actually think what the meanings are behind the words like temperature and heat. Instead, because the teachers, school faculty, and politicians are more concerned with making money, they push students through school as quickly and as easily as possible. The result stemming from having our educational and societal systems push students through school, is that students do not gain a true understanding of what the school subject matter actually is. More importantly, these corrupted systems fail to allow students to understand the true meanings and workings of the world in which they live. As already stated, the system would rather have students memorize a definition rather than allowing the students to discover and understand what the defined word actually is and what the defined word actually does. In plain terms, it is like putting the cart before the horse. This lack of actual knowledge is a perpetuating problem and one that has contributed immensely to the many prevalent misconceptions surrounding the global warming/global cooling debate. Most of the scientists, politicians, professors, and reporters discussing this environmental debate are victims of our societal shortcomings. These experts are causing undue panic and confusion all over the world and are doing so in a reckless manner. These parties need to seek clarification on the subjects they are speaking of because MOST OF THEM HAVE NO TRUE UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT! WHAT HEAT AND TEMPERATURE REALLY MEAN Temperature is the word that describes the method by which we can measure the height of a form of energy, but not the amount of that energy. The interesting fact about heat is that it is never fixed in any one particular form. Additionally, heat is always in a constant state of motion as it enters the EarthÃÆÂ'¢â‚¬â„¢s atmosphere from the Sun, as it leaves the Earth on its way to outer space,

More info on phase-out

John Burrows
May 11, 2008
Really good DuPont sponsored site on phase-out: www.wakeup2phaseout.eu Good section on FAQs + covers the risks of reliance on supply of recycled R22 post-2010. I recommend it.

Airline Tickets

Latham
March 12, 2009
Hey. We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language. I am from Tanzania and also am speaking English, give true I wrote the following sentence: "Chinese new year airfares finding cheap airfares, discounted airline tickets, and bargain travel deals." :o Thanks in advance. Latham.

Airline Tickets

Alston
March 14, 2009
Hi. Health consists of having the same diseases as one's neighbors. I am from Monaco and too bad know English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "Save on last minute airline ticket los angeles atlanta los angeleslas vegas atlanta las vegassan francisco atlanta san franciscolast." Best regards 8-), Alston.

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