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A key finding of this second survey is that more customers are requesting R-410A equipment. In fact, 15 percent of those surveyed (up from 10 percent in the last survey) reported that more than 40 percent of their customers are requesting R-410A equipment. Emerson links this trend to the increasing importance among end-users that equipment be more efficient and environmentally-friendly, as well as the growing awareness that R-22 equipment will become expensive to maintain in future years. In fact, two-thirds of those surveyed said they cite both environmental concerns and long-term costs when explaining the benefits of R-410A equipment to their customers.
“We’re glad to see that more HVAC professionals are beginning to transition their business toward R-410A bearing equipment in advance of 2010,” said Scott Barbour, president, Emerson Climate Technologies Air Conditioning Division. “This latest survey tells us that the industry is accelerating the transition but we need to continue increasing the forward momentum to ensure we’re all prepared to provide the best, most responsible options for our customers. With contractors and distributors already reporting significant price increases for replacement R-22 refrigerant, the industry must focus on the realities of long-term cost and availability of replacement parts and refrigerant, and thus the importance of making the switch to HFCs like R-410A as quickly as possible.”
More than one-third of the industry (39 percent) still believes they will wait until 2010 to convert the majority of their sales to R-410A equipment. When asked why they recommend R-22 equipment over R-410A, retrofit concerns and short-term economics were the predominant answers. They pointed to the fact that R-22 has a lower price to their customers for outdoor and indoor equipment.
However, the cost picture changes when discussing the refrigerants themselves. Contractors and distributors have noticed that R-22 refrigerant is getting more expensive, collectively reporting dramatic increases from 20-100 percent over the past two years. In addition, 44 percent reported they worry about the availability of R-22 refrigerant and parts for service after 2010. Finally, more than half of those surveyed (52 percent) reported retrofit issues including line set change-outs, equipment mismatch, and size differences of the new equipment.
Emerson Climate Technologies is surveying HVAC contractors and distributors to gauge their preparedness for the phaseout of HCFC refrigerants in new U.S. equipment by 2010. The 2010 phaseout marks a major undertaking for the HVAC industry. The number of products that will need to be changed over from HCFC to HFC refrigerants represents a significant challenge.
For more information on R-410A readiness, including Emerson technical white papers, contractor checklists, and more, visit EmersonClimate.com/refrigerant/ac.
Publication date: 04/07/2008