With R-22 phase-out becoming a hot topic in the HVAC industry it becomes important to understand your options before committing to spend money on R-22 equipped systems. Partnering with a refrigerant expert can help you avoid making the wrong choice when it comes to R-22 management.
Here are five important questions that should factor into your consideration about R-22 refrigerant management:
- Am I prepared to convert my HVAC systems when the time comes?
There are many options to consider when converting your system(s), but which one makes the most sense?Is your equipment nearing the end of its useful service life? Perhaps a “drop-in” R-22 replacement then makes the most sense. However, if your equipment is less than 10 years old then a more permanent, more efficient R-22 replacement may be desireable. Factors such as capacity threshold, system design and performance are important to consider when choosing an R-22 replacement as some replacements offer less efficiency than R-22.
- What constitutes a “true” need to convert away from R-22?
Is your system leaking? Are major component replacements eminent? A reliable piece of equipment that hasn’t been causing trouble doesn’t necessarily have to have anything done to it. Conversely, if a compressor changeout is scheduled and the R-22 has been “burnt” and in need of replacement, this often provides an ideal time to convert.
- Are all R-22 replacements created equally?
Definitely not. Many options require oil changes, metering device (TXV) upgrades and rubber seal component upgrades as well. Depending on the size and complexity of the system, these items can negatively affect some replacement options.
- Can any/all HVAC contractors perform R-22 refrigerant retro-fits?
Advanced training is important but equally important is past experience. A major system refrigerant retrofit is not a suitable training ground for a company that has no proven track record.
- Are there any dangers involved with R-22 retrofits?
Possibly. There are “too good to be true” offerings now hitting the market. Some are actually labelled as R-22. The problem is their made up primarily of Propane, a highly combustible gas. The concentration is just below levels requiring federal regulation. The danger results when a compressor shorts to ground and ignites the propane mixture- causing an explosion. Reports are starting to surface where propane filled systems are found to be the cause of serious loss of property due to explosion and fire.