Contractors Get Update On Refrigerants

October 29, 2004
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Bill Sircy (left) and Rich Roley.
DALLAS - During the American Home Shield "Be the AHS Brand" National Contractor Conference, several breakout sessions were held for members of the HVAC, electrical, appliance, plumbing, and pool/spa trades. The HVAC panel members chose an industry update on refrigerants.

AHS members Rich Roley and Bill Sircy led the discussion. They discussed the phaseout of R-22 and the impact it will have on HVAC equipment. Roley said that R-22 will be banned from new equipment on Jan. 1, 2010, and total phaseout will be complete by 2030.

"It is all gone in 2030, but, for the most part, it should be long gone before that," he said.

Roley also said. "It's not a leap of faith to expect R-22 prices to rise, too."

He showed a timeline of the phaseout stage and noted that one key date in the whole process is the increase to the 13 SEER minimum requirement in January 2006. This milestone is important to the industry because the equipment will be larger, impacting the need for refrigerant.

"To get to 13 SEER means you need a bigger coil, and a bigger coil will need more refrigerant," Roley said. "A year from now, all manufacturers will be talking about what they are going to do with their 13-SEER equipment."

He noted in 2010 contractors will have no choice as to what refrigerant they will be adding to new systems but added, "the likely choice will be R-410A."

If contractors choose to use R-410A, Roley said it is important to remember that operating pressures will be higher than R-22, requiring a new set of gauges.

Sircy made it very clear that if refrigerants are changed in existing equipment, the lines sets must be thoroughly cleaned. He said one manufacturer backed off from its requirement to completely change line sets, but he added, "There may be circumstances when line sets need to be changed."

Publication date: 11/01/2004

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