Issues that could some day affect the way HVACR contractors do business continue to draw attention in both Europe and Asia. Nothing being talked about right now has any direct impact on the North American market, but the issues remain on the industry’s radar screen for what possibly could happen in the future.
While polyvinylether (PVE) oil first started to be used by OEMs in 2010, it continues to draw interest, especially as a possible alternative to polyolester (POE) oils with HFC refrigerants. “So far in the States, we have two manufacturers using PVE extensively,” said Eric Schweim of Idemitsu Lubricants America Corp.
The year 2010 and the start of 2011 has proved to be an interesting time for Midwest Refrigerants, a company that approaches the elimination of unwanted refrigerants from a different direction. Midwest has developed a process that breaks down refrigerants to “their original chemical constituents,” as noted by ACR News, a British journal, in a January 2011 report.
It has been more than two decades since the first refrigerant recovery unit came to the HVACR market and became part of the tool arsenal for service technicians. Over that time, two things have become clear: Even a repairable unit doesn’t last forever and the newest units are able to do far more than their predecessors.
The gravity of refrigerant leakage has evoked fines from the EPA of up to $25,000 per day for each violation. The unfortunate reality is that refrigerant leak sites are usually discovered only after there has been a loss of cooling due to discomfort, spoilage, or production difficulty. Repairing refrigerant leaks is not the problem - finding them is.
During a climate seminar event toward the end of 2010, members of the Consumer Goods Forum, made up of European sector manufacturers and retailers, announced intentions to ban their use of refrigerant gases that they said had high global warming - including HFCs - by 2015 and to replace them with natural refrigerants.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tried a bit of muscle flexing as 2011 started and promptly ran into some roadblocks, while at the same time causing the HVACR industry to keep an even more watchful eye on what the EPA may do next.
Part 1 of this series discussed methods to significantly reduce recovery times and brazing techniques to significantly reduce the time required for evacuation. This article covers system commissioning, including tools and techniques that reduce the time required for pressure testing, evacuation, setting airflow, charging, and performance testing.
Doing it right does not mean adding hours to the job. In fact, with the right tools you can do it right and save a ton of time. In this two-part series, I will discuss several ways to make your technicians faster and more productive during a typical replacement of a split system a/c unit or heat pump.
Criminal behavior and running from the law are likely the furthest things from the mind of the everyday HVACR contractor or technician. It is important, however, that these individuals understand the responsibilities inherent to those who work with what is classed as hazardous materials and greenhouse gases.