One of my most appreciated annual arrivals is simply titled "Refrigerant Report." It comes from Bitzer International and in the print version it is 36 pages of the most up-to-date, objective technical information on refrigerants.

The 13th edition came out a few months ago. Therein lies one of the true values of the publication. Sections that need to be updated are updated annually, so the reader has the latest information, as long as he or she has the most up-to-date edition.

The publication does not deal to any great extent with phaseout schedules or recovery-recycling regulations. This is a worldwide publication so its intent is not to try to sort through that labyrinth of schedules and regulations that vary from country to country.

Rather, its purpose is to look clearly at every refrigerant (present and future) available in any way to contractors in the HVACR industry, and describe each refrigerant's realistic range of applications and proper servicing methods.

A look at some of the general topics gives you an idea of the amount of detail the report goes into:

  • "R-22 as Transition Refrigerant."

  • "R-134a as a Substitute for R-12 and R-22."

  • "Service Blends as Substitutes for R-12."

  • "R-125, R-143a, and R-32 as Compounds for Refrigerant Blends."

  • "R-422A as Substitute for R-502."

  • "R-410A as Substitute for R-22."

  • "NH3 as Substitute for R-22."

  • "CO2 as an Alternative Refrigerant and Secondary Fluid."

    That's only about one-third of the listings, but it gives you an idea of the range of topics. The report includes issues of immediate interest to most any contractor (R-410A, for example) to those that may have an impact in the future (CO2).

    The report is even willing to do a bit of crystal ball gazing, even when focus isn't clear. For example, the most recent edition takes a look at the possibility of R-152a as an alternative to R-134a, as the latter refrigerant is facing phaseout in automotive air conditioning in Europe.

    There are pressure-temperature graphs, evaporation-discharge gas temp graphs, and graphs that show the relationship of the two different refrigerants. There are charts showing refrigerants by ASHRAE designation, brand name, and manufacturer; and charts showing refrigerant properties including composition, boiling temperature, glide, critical temp, etc.

    I picked up the most recent print edition this past fall at the IKK Expo in Germany. (It is one of the first things I do when at the show.) But it can also be downloaded from Click the English language option, then go to "Documents," "General Leaflets," and "Refrigerant Report 13." The report will come up as a PDF file with a side column index page allowing rapid access through the online pages. It can also be downloaded.

    It's worth the Web surf.

    Peter Powell is refrigeration editor. He can be reached at 847-622-7260, 847-622-7266 (fax), or

    Publication date: 02/07/2005