Refrigerant is the substance that helps any air conditioning system transform hot air inside the house into the cold air that could make everyone at home comfortable. One of the most well-known types of refrigerants is the Freon. It is so well-known that the words Freon and Refrigerant are quite interchanged and misused by some homeowners.
Freon or R-22 though has been phased out from the market since 2020 given its adverse impact on the environment. When released, it could contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer, contributing to the global warming of the planet.
Due to the phase-out, most homes are now using Puron or R-410A as a refrigerant. Unlike Freon, Puron does not contain chlorine, reducing the ecological risk that the older type of refrigerant poses.
How HVAC Refrigerants work?
HVAC refrigerants absorb heat inside the room and transform the hot air into cold air. It generally works on a closed system. It recharges itself over and over, hence it does not get used up unless the system is leaking. When there is a system breakdown or leakage, the gas form of the refrigerant escapes and the AC will start failing to cool the whole house.
When this happens, the leak must be repaired by a certified air conditioning professional, and the refrigerant is topped off following the repair or the upgrade. For air conditioners that are for disposal, the HVAC technician makes sure that all remaining refrigerants in the system are removed and safely disposed of following legal guidelines.
Why is some Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) being phased out?
There are several reasons why HFCs or Hydrofluorocarbons are being phased out, and this is mainly due to the environmental risk that it poses. The campaign is not just confined to the United States. It is global and has been going on for years with a good number of countries participating in it. Some agreements that are worth looking into include The Montreal Protocol which aims to protect, preserve, and repair the ozone layer to keep climate change at bay. The Kigali Amendment within this protocol specifically aims to slowly decrease the use of Hydrofluorocarbons mainly found in refrigerants.
In the United States, its Federal government has already moved to decrease the production and usage of HFCs through a 15-year phase down stated in the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act. Some states like California have also managed to come up with limits on the use of HFCs. The California Air Resources Board, in particular, passed a resolution that reduces the production and limits the purchasing of Refrigerant with high global warming potential. The industry is aiming to have homes comply with this agreement by 2025, and HVAC manufacturing companies are preparing for this shift, and will soon produce units that can use a refrigerant that complies with these new guidelines.
HVAC Manufacturers keep ahead of ozone saving trend
Seeing the developments in the global HVAC industry, air conditioning manufacturers are now coming up with refrigerants that have lower Global Warming Potential. For example, the company Carrier came up with Puron Advance that they will use for all of their residential HVAC units starting the year 2023. The Puron Advance has a lower fraction of GWP.
Another HVAC Manufacturer, Daikin, also came up with an alternative refrigerant with lower levels of GWP called R-32. Recently though they divulged that they are coming with another type of refrigerant with an even lower GWP score.
Honeywell, on the other hand, is also developing yet another alternative refrigerant. The HVAC Manufacturing company mentioned that the product they are developing aims to be the first non-flammable Refrigerant in the market on top of having lower GWP levels.
The benefits of using new types of refrigerant on your AC
Using the new types of refrigerants in the market is aimed at helping prevent climate change. Apart from it being eco-friendly, some manufacturers are aiming to package the use of these substances to increase energy efficiency.
At Reliable Standard Heating and Air, we will see to it that we protect your home and our environment from needless exposure to Refrigerants. We will endeavor to fix leaks correctly so that ecological and health risks are immediately mitigated. Our company will also work hard at recovering whatever refrigerant that is left in systems that are broken, for upgrading, or disposal, following environmental guidelines.
What are the disadvantages of using the new type of refrigerant
You may be curious if is a freon refrigerant leak dangerous? While the HVAC Industry is more than willing to make use of the newer and eco-friendlier refrigerants, the use of these newer variants comes with several challenges. For instance, those that are mildly flammable would require a new set of training and safety skills for HVAC technicians who will be using this type of refrigerant.
At the same time, newer equipment may be required to utilize the new types of refrigerants. Vacuum pumps for instance are needed to ensure safe dissipation of the mildly flammable gases that characterize this newer and environment-friendly version of refrigerants.
The adjustments may also make HVAC servicing much longer compared to usual given the learning curve and additional safety procedures that need to be carried out. It is best to choose certified air conditioning technicians that can correctly and safely carry out the use of these new refrigerants to fully eliminate safety risks.
Moreover, mandating the use of these new refrigerants will also require some adjustments in the building code, as well as changes in Fire Safety training.
New types of refrigerants require special handling
The newer and eco-friendlier versions of refrigerants require special handling given that these are usually blends of two or more substances. Old R22 Refrigerant freon is now banned in most states, this means being extra careful about the ratio of refrigerant blends in the system, to ensure efficiency and environmental compliance. Most likely, topping off refrigerants for very minor leaks will no longer be possible, since it is best to drain out all the refrigerants in the system and fill the system with a new correctly measured ratio.
It will also require a different set of equipment, so procurement and training are essential and crucial in the first stages of the release of these new refrigerant blends.
Stay informed about new refrigerant blends and their impact on your residential air conditioning
When it comes to keeping customers informed, we at Reliable Standard Heating and Air endeavor to help our clients stay in the know. This helps for better decision-making when upgrading and maintaining existing home HVAC systems. If as a property owner, you want to know more about the developments in the new refrigerant blends, give us a call through our hotline, or schedule a visit through our online scheduling system. Get in touch with us at Reliable Standard Heating, Air, & Solar today!