The European phase-down of HFC's has already begun in earnest with the new F-gas regulations introduced in 2015, the next 15 years will see major changes in the HVAC industry. Manufacturers are already looking at alternatives with Daikin leading the way with their new range of R32 split systems and Mitsubishi hot on their heals with their new range planned for launch in Europe at the beginning of 2017. But what does this all mean to the end user?
Why change to an R32 system?
R32 is not new, it is already used in HVAC equipment and makes up 50% of the current popular refrigerant R410A. The reason for manufacturers to produce systems that use R32 only is because it has a global warming potential (GWP) of just 675 compared to R410A which is 2,088. R32 systems are more energy efficient, resulting in lower refrigerant charge and has the potential to manufacture smaller units. These new systems are also easier to reuse and recycle.
The down side
There is a clear need for alternative systems to ones that are currently in use. Not only to meet future legislation but systems need to be less harmful to the environment, safer and more economical.
Using new refrigerants require systems to be completely re-designed so some systems installed over the next 5 to 10 years could become obsolete before the end of their working life. This is why manufacturers are acting now and introducing new products and developing ways of adapting existing systems to use the next generation refrigerants which will extend their lifespan.
Choosing a Professional Installer
R32, unlike R410A, is mildly flammable which will require some new tools and procedures during installation although it is easier to handle as it does't fractionate. These differences need to be taken into account when engineers are handling this new equipment. Regardless of the refrigerant gas being used, it is imperative that equipment is installed and charged by competent and well trained people. Installers must be F-gas certified and trained on the systems they are installing and the refrigerant gases being used. Different tooling will be needed such as gauges, manifolds, leak detectors and recovery systems.
The phase-down of HFC's will lead to significant changes in the HVAC industry and we, as a professional installer, designers and also the end-users will have to adapt to using the next generation of refrigerant gasses to reduce the environmental impact and meet increasingly stringent legislation.
Top manufacturers are preferring R32 and already introducing these new systems and ensuring that installers, like ourselves, are fully up to date with the new equipment and trained in the safe handling of this new refrigerant.
If you would like to know more about how these changes may affect you and your business or have questions about the new R32 systems, please contact us now.