Q&A from Refrigerant Retrofitting webinar 16 June 2020

Q: Can you drop R410A in R32 equipment?

A: No. The main reason you would consider retrofitting any system to another refrigerant is because legislation will prevent you continuing to use the one for which the system was designed. This would not be the case as R32 has a Global Warming Potential 3 x times higher than R410A. To the best of our knowledge we are not aware that this is being considered by anyone, but it would negate any warranty with R32 equipment, it would also be against the principle of the F-Gas regulation. As R32 is the cheaper refrigerant and the equipment would be more efficient on R32 for which it was designed there is no logic in thinking of doing it.


Q: In regard to R134A, are R450A & R513A fairly straight forward to drop in a flooded ( Shell & Tube Evap ) system?

A: In principle yes, although with any flooded system it is advisable to fully evaluate the system in question. As R513A has slightly more capacity than R134a and is an azeotrope it is probably best suited. If considering R450A please check capacity requirements for the systems in question.


Q: R449A expansion valves are now available and following a recent retrofit on a system with 1,000kG we have needed to change some of the R404a valves. Other smaller systems the R404a valves operate fine.

A: As with all retrofits, the systems in question should be fully evaluated as it may be either necessary or appropriate to replace old expansion valves. In our experience the difference in expansion device would be to go to the next orifice down in size, although with most systems no change is needed. A number people have used the opportunity to switch to an electronic valve such as the Carel ones that we stock.


Q: Recommendation - start changing MO systems with POE carrying out a series of oil changes to reduce the MO content below 5% and if a future total total loss a drop-in solution is more available.

A: A very good recommendation for systems not already on POE oil. By doing the oil changes as planned maintenance it leaves less work to do in case of an urgent need to retrofit if the systems lose refrigerant. In the case of R438A and R453A as replacements these are usually already compatible with both oil types so this may not be needed in those circumstances.


Q: What is your opinion about high glide refrigerants?

A: We cannot get away from higher glide refrigerants if they are part of the solution to meet the regulations, so we need to understand how to work with them, particularly if they are to be used in retrofit situations. There are a number of information sheets from other organisations which cover this in detail, including the IOR.


Q: Which R434A replacement do you suggest for flooded systems? R449A and R448a has too much glide and higher pressure, isn't it?

A: For R434A flooded systems, we can offer RS90 as a top up option. It will depend on the type of flooded system and we would recommend each one needs evaluating for the operating conditions and capacity. As such systems would have been originally on R22 they are likely to be well over 20 years old and replacement of the equipment may also have to be considered.


Q: Do you expect a lower limit than 2500 GWP with the revision of the directive going on at the moment?

A: It is too early to say what is being considered. However, the existing legislation already has provision for lowering the GWP of refrigerants being used. The Quota system which phases down the amount of CO2 equivalent tonnes that can be placed on the market means that it will become harder to use the higher GWP refrigerants. With further cuts in Quota in 2021, 2024, 2027 and 2030 the viability of using medium to high GWP refrigerants in new equipment will be increasingly less practical in all but essential applications where no other alternative is possible. By 2030 the quota will have been reduced by 79% from the 2015 baseline which means the average GWP of all refrigerant being required at that time will be around 400 GWP. The need to use much lower GWP refrigerants was covered in a previous webinar the recording of which can be found here:  Energy efficiency and low GWP... as easy as 123 Webinar


Q: A Question on Brexit. As we leave the EU are we still going to be bound by the regulations. Also the percentage of Refrigerants used in the UK, how many are home manufactured and what will be the exposure to imports based on the Refrigerants in use today and in the future?

A: The current F-Gas regulations have been written into the UK statute and we will be bound by them going forward. Whilst the UK will be free to create its own amendments to F-Gas it is expected it will follow any changes made in the EU. The main change expected for 2021 is that the UK will have its own quota system for F-Gases that will specifically allocate quota to those who have been placing on the UK market or importing into the UK previously either with their own quota or using EU Quota.


The questions raised and answered on the day of the webinar can be viewed on the video playback on our Climalife YouTube channel.