This past year I was working on a story in which I asked contractors to comment on trends in refrigerants. I was doing so because so much of my writing in 2014 related to new directions for such gases. Some of the subject matter was the phaseout of HCFC-22, the move away from high global warming potential (GWP) HFCs to lower GWP versions, work on HFO refrigerants, and the move toward naturals such as CO2, ammonia and HCs.
While some contractors seemed to be getting into those arenas in terms of studying about them, taking classes, and even doing some installing and servicing, the most common situation through 2014 appeared to be contractors working with R-22, R-410A, and R-404A. That appears to be because the aftermarket aspect of our industry is so strong and there is a lot of that equipment out there.
But that still does not negate the fact that R-22 is a refrigerant targeted for a total phaseout in terms of new and imported poundage; and -410A and -404A are high GWP HFCs, which are coming under fire — just for the fact that they are high GWPers.
So I start 2015 with the same theme that echoed through much of 2014: Continue to work with familiar refrigerants such as -22, -410A and -404A; but be prepared to shift to newer kids on the block.
They are coming.