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HVAC School - For Techs, By Techs

Jun 16, 2022

Rajan Rajendran and Jennifer Butsch from Emerson join the podcast to discuss the Helix and some refrigerant changes that are coming. Jennifer is the Director of Regulatory Affairs, and Rajan is the Global Vice President for Environmental Sustainability and former director of the Emerson Helix.

Lately, there have been more environmental efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and plenty of large corporations have “net zero” initiatives. Sustainability requires a holistic, systemic approach in our industry; the Helix Innovation Center conducts the research needed for us to handle these sustainability initiatives as effectively and safely as possible.

However, the sustainability initiatives frustrate a lot of technicians. There will likely be multiple refrigerant transitions as our industry progresses. Education and knowledge provided by manufacturers and HVAC organizations will be the key to smooth transitions.

Many of the replacement refrigerants, including R-32 and R-454B, are A2Ls. These mildly flammable refrigerants have different handling, transportation, and charging procedures than what we’re used to. However, we are unlikely to see changes in oils; POE and PVE oil will likely remain dominant in the market.

Eventually, we may see more GWP changes. We would also be prudent to focus on preventing and rectifying equipment leaks. Proper maintenance will help us navigate current and possible future changes.

Rajan, Jennifer, and Bryan also discuss:

  • The AIM Act and HFC reduction in 2024
  • GWP-limit petitions in HVAC vs. refrigeration
  • Refrigerants that manufacturers are embracing
  • Refrigerant testing processes
  • Natural refrigerants
  • The weight of refrigerants vs. the weight of air
  • Evaporator coil manufacturing and leakage
  • Built-in leak detection
  • Refrigerant pricing


To learn more about these coming refrigerant changes, check out the AHRI Safe Refrigerant Transition Task Force’s resources HERE or Emerson’s E360 Platform HERE.

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