Global Warming and the Economics of Refrigerants

Greg Candiff’s article “Needed: Refrigerant Exit Plan” [March 24, 2008] should be reprinted every month inThe NEWSuntil everyone in the industry has read and absorbed its contents. In part, what it tells us is that there are no financial incentives for contractors to recover and reclaim used refrigerants. Candiff suggests a $2 to $4 per pound deposit on all new virgin (I would add reclaimed as well) refrigerant to close the circle so they are properly taken care of.

With the price of refrigerants rising like crazy for multiple reasons, you would think this is the last thing we need, more costs. But actually it’s exactly what we need, and here’s why. It’s estimated that no more than 10 percent of all refrigerants are currently reclaimed.

One reason for this, of course, is systems under pressure leak, and currently there are very few mechanisms in place in existing systems to alert users or shut down leaking systems. By the time the serviceman gets to the equipment, the atmosphere has already received the refrigerant.

The other reason is that there are no real financial incentives for the contractor to reclaim. And, of course, the manufacturers and the wholesalers don’t want to get involved; there is no money in it.

Actually we wouldn’t even be discussing this in the industry if it weren’t for the coming shortfall of HCFC-22. All this is happening concurrently with another issue, which is about to overtake the industry: carbon taxes. This is happening while the industry is still pretty much in denial about the role of refrigerants in global warming. The political system has already figured it out though, and expect binding legislation by 2009.

Before this happens, we need to act through our associations to ensure that at least $5 per pound of the carbon taxes is set up as refrigerant deposit monies. Otherwise, it will just be money going in to you know where - the Treasury.

Joe Maurer
Recovery Heating & Air Conditioning
Rowlett, Texas

Using Urine Bags on a Jobsite Is Nonsense

I just read the March 31 issue [and Kyle Gargaro’s editor blog “Gargaro’s World: Working for This Company Means Urine Trouble.”] Is it any wonder why this industry is having trouble finding people to want to work on HVACR equipment? The employees who are asked to do this should quit and come to Canada and work for my company or find another company to work for.

It is the responsibility of the general contractor or company doing the work to provide onsite bathroom facilities even here when it’s -45°F. It is not the responsibility of local businesses to pick up the costs for HVACR companies by providing bathroom facilities for free.

Women, at this rate, will never work in this industry. I would love to know who this company is.

D. Brian Baker
Custom Vac Limited
Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Publication date:05/19/2008