COLLEGE POINT, N.Y. — ComStar International Inc. has announced a new refrigerant for ice rink managers to comply with the phaseout of R-22 refrigerant. The company said its replacement refrigerant is for use in flooded liquid overfeed ice rink systems and does not require changing components or oil. ComStar stated its RS-45 (R-434a) refrigerant is a true drop-in replacement for R-22 and blends with any remaining R-22, with low glide for high performance applications.

“We’re proud to offer an affordable solution to ice rink managers who are stuck in a tough situation. Our RS-45 refrigerant has all the qualities to make the conversion seamless,” said Steve Mella, CEO of ComStar.

A recent ice rink project in Michigan showed the ease of transition. Brownstown Sports Center is a 40-year-old sports complex with two full-size ice sheets. The rink had a direct liquid overfeed refrigeration system with approximately 11,000 pounds of R-22 refrigerant operating with mineral oil.

Ron Zimmers, vice president of operations, said, “I did a fair amount of research and concluded the easiest and least expensive fix was to change out the R-22 to ComStar’s RS-45 drop-in replacement refrigerant. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing I wouldn’t be caught without any R-22 options down the road.”

ComStar supplied the new RS-45 along with empty cylinders for the R-22 that was removed from the system and subsequently purchased by ComStar. Serv-Ice Refrigeration of Northville, Michigan, evacuated the R-22 and recharged the system with RS- 45 for the two rinks over a four-day period in August. The cost of the RS-45 was offset by the R-22 buyback, resulting in a small net cost to Brownstown. There was no maintenance performed on the system before or during the replacement of refrigerant.

Zimmers monitored the sequence of events and said, “We charged the first ice sheet system with approximately 5,000 pounds of RS-45 and the ice was good to go the next morning. The results were much better than I imagined.”

The second ice sheet conversion began with no ice, just concrete. After observing the performance of the first sheet for two days, the crew charged the second rink with RS-45 in the afternoon and flooded the rink with water during the night. The next morning the ice was solid, ready to be painted and then re-flooded. Hockey players were skating on it the next day — a quick 36-hour turnaround.

“I’ve never seen ice freeze that fast. The system actually runs a lot more efficient and smoother now,” Zimmers said.

Mella added, “The Brownstown conversion to RS-45 proves, without a doubt, that a sheet of ice can be changed out and operating in 24 hours or less. We’re excited to make this happen for rinks all around the country.”

For more information, visit

Publication date: 9/7/2016

Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!