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HVAC School - For Techs, By Techs

Aug 29, 2019

In this lively discussion, representatives from Chemours and Bluon Energy join the podcast. They talk about retrofit refrigerants and what to look for in a good retrofit.

The R22 phaseout has been on the agenda for a long time due to its ozone-depleting potential. However, R-410A is also due for a phase-down in the future due to its global warming potential. While neither refrigerant will be outright banned, we will have to consider alternative retrofit refrigerants in the future, especially if reclamation rates stay low.

Almost all of the replacement options are refrigerant blends. When we deal with refrigerant blends, we have to think about temperature glide and oil return. Many of the R22 retrofit replacements are compatible with mineral oil, and that's because manufacturers add hydrocarbons, which are chemically similar to mineral oil. We try to avoid toxic (B) and flammable (2-3) refrigerants on the ASHRAE classification system, but the hydrocarbons add just a little bit of flammability to the blends (2L).

Retrofit refrigerants also behave differently in the way that they transfer heat, as refrigerants with glide may be colder in the evaporator. They may run with exceptionally cold evaporator coils, which could be an issue in climates with a high latent load. At that rate, some airflow reduction may be necessary to prevent the coil from freezing.

The Chemours and Bluon representatives, Eric Kaiser, and Bryan also discuss:

  • Net refrigeration effect (NRE)
  • Offsetting hydrocarbons
  • Mineral oil return and velocity issues
  • POE oil as a lubricant
  • Latent heat of vaporization
  • Retrofit refrigerants' heat transfer in the evaporator coil
  • R22 pricing expectations post-phaseout
  • Education and training for flammable refrigerants and blends
  • Benchmarking equipment
  • Manufacturing R22 replacements
  • Off-grid refrigeration

Learn more about Refrigeration Technologies HERE.

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