How Much Does It Cost?

Hello folks and welcome to RefrigerantHQ! Before I get into the cost of Freon in this article I first want to take sometime and explain to you where the word Freon comes from and how it is used today. The term Freon is used throughout the country and the world. You see it on the news when people are discussing the price of refrigerant. You see it when irresponsible kids try to ‘huff Freon.’ You may even here your neighbors say it. Over the years the term Freon has become synonymous to the term refrigerant. Well, at least to those outside of the industry. To those of us within the industry we know that Freon does not mean the refrigerant that everyone else thinks it does.

Let me explain. The term ‘Freon,’ is actually a brand name. It is a brand name that the DuPont, now Chemours company, owns. The name was branded and trademarked back in the 1930’s on a new classification of refrigerants known as CFCs and HCFCs. These new refrigerants from the 1930’s were the first mainstream refrigerant to be used across the world. The most common ones out these were your R-12, R-502, and R-22. Nowadays these ‘Freon’ refrigerants have been phased out across the world. The only one you can still find is R-22 and that was phased out entirely on January 1st, 2020.

When we hear the term Freon we have to think of it like other brand names. For example, if you were thirsty and wanted a soda would you say that you want a Coke or would you say you want a soda? The Coke is the brand name of the soda, whereas the soda is the generic name that applies to all the various sodas out there. So, using this analogy Freon is to Coke as refrigerant is to soda. So, if you have an HVAC technician come out to your house and you tell him that your unit is low on Freon he may smirk or chuckle to himself. This is because your unit most likely doesn’t take Freon. It should be called refrigerant each and every time. This is a generic name that everyone knows what you’re talking about.

So, What Kind of Refrigerant Do I Need?

Ok, so now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s look into the pricing of the various refrigerants. In this article we are going to provide you with links to our various price per pound articles for 2020. These are various articles here and that leads me to my first point. You may be under the misconception that there is only one kind of refrigerant. In fact there are hundreds of different refrigerants out there. If you look at this list from Wikipedia you can see exactly what I am talking about. While that list may seem a little overwhelming, I do have some good news.

Out of that large list of refrigerants there are only a select few that are widely used in today’s world. A good portion of the refrigerants in that listing have been phased out over the years for a variety of reasons. They could have been toxic, flammable, Ozone damaging, or global warming damaging. When it comes to repairing an appliance or vehicle in 2020 the number of refrigerants that your appliance could take are significantly lessened.

As I was saying above, there are a select few refrigerants that your appliance are using in 2020. In fact, there are five main refrigerants that you are going run into over and over again. They are your HCFC R-22, HFC R-410A, HFC R-404A, HFC R-134a, and the HFO R-1234yf. This definitely makes it easier to identify what refrigerant you need. But, in an effort to make it even simpler let’s take a deeper look:

  • Automotive Application – Nowadays nearly every vehicle is using R-134a refrigerant for their vehicles. In recent years a new refrigerant known as HFO-1234yf is being used on newer models. If you car is a few years old or brand new then you will need to check if it takes 1234yf or not. Otherwise you are fairly safe to assume that your car is taking R-134a. For those of you who are into restoring classic cars you’ll find that you may end up needing R-12 Freon.
  • Home or Commercial Air Conditioner – These ones can be a little tricky. Depending on when you got your unit you most likely either have an R-22 unit or a R-410A unit. As I said in previous articles, R-22 was phased out in 2010 for new air conditioners. R-410A has been around since 2000, but it’s popularity didn’t really take off until the 2010 deadline hit for R-22. When it comes to cost though you better hope you have a R-410A unit rather than R-22. The difference in price between the two refrigerants is astonishing.
  • Refrigerators and Freezers (Home and Commercial) – The go to refrigerant for these applications has been R-404A. There are some other alternatives out there such as CO2 (R-744), R-502, and some other new HFO refrigerants coming out soon but today if you were having to recharge one of these you are most likely going to run into 404A.

Conclusion

Ok folks, so after reading the above section you should have a very good idea on what kind of refrigerant that your appliance or vehicle takes. That being said, never guess as to what kind of refrigerant your system needs. That my friends is a recipe for disaster. You cannot mix refrigerants with other refrigerants. If you do so you will permanently damage your system. Think of it like putting diesel into a gas vehicle. You shouldn’t do it. You have to know what refrigerant your system takes before anything else can be done.

In recent years there have been pushes to phase out some of these refrigerants. In fact, R-22 is going away entirely on January 1st, 2020. Other refrigerants such as the HFC classifications may end up being phased out fairly soon. If you happen to see a refrigerant that your appliance is using and that it is NOT in this list please reach out to me and I will do some research and get it added to this listing.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

How Much Does It Cost?

Refrigerant is one of those things that no one really thinks about. People go throughout their days and it never crosses their minds. Why should it? It is one of those ‘hidden industries’ that no one really knows about. It is an inside club that only those within the industry are aware of. Regular people only become interested in the topic when it affects them. It’s human nature. The problem with refrigerants though is that it is such an ambiguous topic and there just isn’t that much content out there to read on it. So, when a homeowner is faced with a hefty repair bill how do they know they are being treated fairly? Or, if your vehicle’s air conditioning has quit working and you take it to the dealership how do you know you are receiving a market price for your refrigerant?

In this article we are going to provide you with links to our various price per pound articles for 2020. These are various articles here and that leads me to my first point. You may be under the misconception that there is only one kind of refrigerant. In fact there are hundreds of different refrigerants out there. If you look at this list from Wikipedia you can see exactly what I am talking about. While that list may seem a little overwhelming, I do have some good news.

Out of that large list of refrigerants there are only a select few that are widely used in today’s world. A good portion of the refrigerants in that listing have been phased out over the years for a variety of reasons. They could have been toxic, flammable, Ozone damaging, or global warming damaging. When it comes to repairing an appliance or vehicle in 2020 the number of refrigerants that your appliance could take are significantly lessened.

So, What Kind of Refrigerant Do I Need?

As I was saying above, there are a select few refrigerants that your appliance are using in 2020. In fact, there are five main refrigerants that you are going run into over and over again. They are your HCFC R-22, HFC R-410A, HFC R-404A, HFC R-134a, and the HFO R-1234yf. This definitely makes it easier to identify what refrigerant you need. But, in an effort to make it even simpler let’s take a deeper look:

  • Automotive Application – Nowadays nearly every vehicle is using R-134a refrigerant for their vehicles. In recent years a new refrigerant known as HFO-1234yf is being used on newer models. If you car is a few years old or brand new then you will need to check if it takes 1234yf or not. Otherwise you are fairly safe to assume that your car is taking R-134a. For those of you who are into restoring classic cars you’ll find that you may end up needing R-12 Freon.
  • Home or Commercial Air Conditioner – These ones can be a little tricky. Depending on when you got your unit you most likely either have an R-22 unit or a R-410A unit. As I said in previous articles, R-22 was phased out in 2010 for new air conditioners. R-410A has been around since 2000, but it’s popularity didn’t really take off until the 2010 deadline hit for R-22. When it comes to cost though you better hope you have a R-410A unit rather than R-22. The difference in price between the two refrigerants is astonishing.
  • Refrigerators and Freezers (Home and Commercial) – The go to refrigerant for these applications has been R-404A. There are some other alternatives out there such as CO2 (R-744), R-502, and some other new HFO refrigerants coming out soon but today if you were having to recharge one of these you are most likely going to run into 404A.

Conclusion

Ok folks, so after reading the above section you should have a very good idea on what kind of refrigerant that your appliance or vehicle takes. That being said, never guess as to what kind of refrigerant your system needs. That my friends is a recipe for disaster. You cannot mix refrigerants with other refrigerants. If you do so you will permanently damage your system. Think of it like putting diesel into a gas vehicle. You shouldn’t do it. You have to know what refrigerant your system takes before anything else can be done.

In recent years there have been pushes to phase out some of these refrigerants. In fact, R-22 is going away entirely on January 1st, 2020. Other refrigerants such as the HFC classifications may end up being phased out fairly soon. If you happen to see a refrigerant that your appliance is using and that it is NOT in this list please reach out to me and I will do some research and get it added to this listing.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

How Much Does It Cost?

Well folks it is that time of year again already. Thanksgiving is just a few days away and the temperatures outside are thirty degrees or even colder here in Kansas City. Most people are focusing on the upcoming feast on Thursday or Black Friday that comes immediately after. I on the other hand am focusing on one thing this week and that is refrigerant. Yes, during this holiday refrigerant is on my mind… as it always is. You see during these colder months I find that things begin to slow down. The season is over and everyone has time to catch their breath. I have sometime to relax, think, and time to write articles.

Over the past five years or so I have taken the time to write a series of articles known as my ‘refrigerant price per pound’ posts. These articles aim at providing the end-user with the knowledge on exactly how much a refrigerant costs. These posts have quickly become some of my successful as this information just isn’t out there. If you search for refrigerant pricing you either can’t find much of anything and the stuff that you do find is at very highly inflated prices. Our goal here is to find the most up-to-date and realistic prices on refrigerants.

In this article we’re going to give you an accurate price per pound on R-1234yf. But, before we get into that I first want to take some time and go over some air conditioning basics for your vehicle. If you’re not interested in this and you are just looking for the price then please scroll towards the bottom of the article and look for a section titled, ‘Price Per Pound.’ Otherwise, if you are interested then please read on.

Know This Before Purchasing

Let’s say your vehicle’s air conditioner is no longer working. You’ve tried everything you can think of. You even tried a few AC recharge kits and the air only stayed cool for a few days. It is clear that you need a repair… but what should you expect with this repair? Obviously, every dealer or repair shop is going to charge differently for their parts and labor but the below section will at least give you some basic knowledge on what to expect as you take your car into the shop.

R-1234yf VS R-134a

Something that a lot of folks may not have realized is that in recent years the refrigerant that automobiles are using has switched. Yes, that’s right. A lot of newer vehicles are no longer using R-134a. Instead they have switched over to a newer HFO refrigerant known as R-1234yf. In the United States this switch started to occur in 2015 and with each passing year the number of cars that are using 1234yf has increased. In the next few years it is predicted that nearly ninety percent of the market will be using 1234.

Earlier this year I did an article where I put together a list of all cars and what refrigerant they were using for their 2019/2020 model years. This list took quite a bit of time as I had to dig through instruction manuals for all of these different vehicles. I didn’t find every single car but I found the majority. At the end of the exercise I had found that nearly seventy percent of cars produced in 2019 within the United States are using r-1234yf. That is a huge number folks. This article can be found by clicking here.

There is a really big downside when it comes to r-1234yf. That is the price. In most cases r-1234yf is ten times more expensive then r-134a. So, your thirty dollar recharge on r-134a may end up being close to three-hundred dollars on 1234yf. That is quite the difference and can result in a lot of angry consumers when they get their repair bill. The bad news here is that I have seen no sign of the 1234yf pricing dropping anytime soon either.

You Are Paying For Expertise

Ok folks, so the information that I am going to give you in our ‘Price Per Pound’ section is very nearly, if not exactly, the cost that your technician is paying for their R-1234yf refrigerant. What that means is that you can expect a markup. After all, the technician and the dealership need to make money as well. This is a specialized trade and requires trained expertise in order to succeed in. Thinking that you can do this yourself is never a good idea as there are a lot of intricacies that need to be accounted for. As an example, let’s go through and ask a few simple questions that a technician would either have to do or consider:

  • Do you know how to flush your system?
  • Do you know what refrigerants can be vented?
  • Are you 609 certified with the EPA to handle HFC refrigerants?
  • Do you know how to find, let alone fix, a refrigerant leak?

All of these questions and more are what you are paying your technician for. Remember that they need to make money too, but there is also a fine line between having profit and gouging. Reading this article, and reviewing the price per pound, will allow you to be educated and give you the power to negotiate the price of refrigerant.

Your AC Unit is a Closed System

Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System
Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System

Even before you bring your car into the dealership to look at the air conditioner you should be aware that air conditioners are what’s known as closed systems. What that means is that the refrigerant in your air conditioner moves back and forth between different cycles and it, in theory, never runs out or needs refrigerant refilled.

If you find that your unit is low on refrigerant or is completely out do NOT just refill your machine with a new refrigerant. I repeat do NOT do this. Your system does not need a top off. It does not need just a little bit more refrigerant to get by. No. If you are running out of refrigerant that means that somewhere in the refrigerant cycle there is a leak. Your unit is leaking refrigerant and will continue to leak refrigerant until a repair is made. If you dump more refrigerant into it without fixing the leak you are literally throwing money down the drain.

I like to think of it as a above ground pool. If you get a puncture in the pool lining water will leak out. Sure you can always add more water but it’s not fixing the problem. Adding more refrigerant doesn’t fix the problem either. It’s just prolong the inevitable and wasting money.

Purchase Restrictions

This isn’t as big of a problem when it comes to automotive application but it is still worth mentioning. You see back in January 1st of 2018 a new regulation was implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency. This regulation known as the, ‘Refrigerant Sales Restriction,’ aimed at preventing novices from purchasing HFC refrigerants such as R-410A, R-404A, R-134a and yes… R-1234yf.  These restrictions already existed on HCFC and CFC refrigerants but they were now moved over to HFC and HFO refrigerants as well. What this means is that you are no longer legally able to purchase R-1234yf unless you are 609 certified with the EPA. Now, there are a few slight exceptions to this such as:

  1. The first exception is that if you purchase small cans of refrigerant that are under two pounds of refrigerant or less. This works great for automotive applications as they only need a few pounds to recharge an entire system. But, this can be difficult when trying to recharge a larger system with only a pound of refrigerant at a time. A typical split-system air conditioner may take up to twelve pounds of refrigerant. So, you could technically do this yourself but you would have to find a source for the cans and it still not legal to tamper or tinker on an air conditioning unit if you are certified with the EPA.
  2. The other exception is providing the vendor you are buying from with an intent to resale form. What this means is that you state that you will NOT be using this refrigerant yourself but that you intend to resell it to another party. In this case the legal record keeping requirements would be passed onto you. So, if the supplier you bought from gets audited by the EPA their records will then point to you. The EPA will reach out to you and you better hope you either sold the product or are 609 certified!

If you do not meet the above exceptions and you try to purchase R-1234yf you will be asked for your 609 license number. If you cannot provide one then you will not be allowed to purchase. This was done to protect the environment. If R-1234yf is vented or leaked into the atmosphere it contributes to Global Warming. The restriction was put into place to prevent novices from playing around with the refrigerant and accidentally releasing it into the atmosphere.  There was talk at the beginning of 2019 that the Trump Administration would rescind these restrictions but so far there has been no follow-through on this matter. As the law is today you are not able to purchase this refrigerant.

The good news here is that this doesn’t affect the automotive market too much. Yes, there are larger cylinders of 1234yf available but there are also cans available. These cans can be purchased either online through websites like Amazon.com or at your local automotive parts retailer.

R-1234yf Price Per Pound

Alright folks so we’ve gotten past the need-to-know section and now we can begin to dive into to see the exact cost per pound. Let me paint a picture for you now. Let’s imagine it is the middle of summer and your car’s air conditioner has gone out. No cold-air is blowing through and you’re stumped. You drive the car into the dealership for a repair, but what can you expect? The first thing is that you will need to pay for a repair to fix whatever caused the malfunction. This could be a faulty hose, a bad compressor, a bad evaporator, and so on and so on. On top of this you will also have to pay for a full refrigerant recharge. But, what price is fair here?

Before I give you the price on R-1234yf I first want to give you a few tools that will allow you to determine the true cost of R-1234yf at any given time. You see, I am writing this article in November of 2019 and I can bet that by the time summer rolls around and you’re reading this article that the prices have changed. Refrigerant pricing is ever changing and you never truly know where it will be at. The good news is that if you check Ebay.com and Amazon.com you can begin to see where the market is at any given time. Yes, it’s really that simple folks.

When looking at these prices on Ebay and Amazon be sure to look at the ten pound cylinder pricing. That is going to be quite a bit cheaper then the cans and that is most likely what the dealer or repair shop you are at are buying. From my experience these dealerships will buy a pallet full of cylinders and use them throughout the season. This gives them a very aggressive cost within the market. Some smaller shops may only buy five or ten of these cylinders at a time, but they still get a rather aggressive cost.

Today, if we look at Ebay we can see that ten  pound cylinders are ranging from six-hundred and seven-hundred dollars per ten pound cylinder. For argument’s sake let’s take the highest dollar one at seven-hundred dollars. In order to get the price per pound let’s do some simple math:

$700/ 10 lb cylinder = $70.00 per pound.

There you have it folks, $70.00 for one pound of R-1234yf refrigerant. Now, please keep in mind that these prices CAN change. To give you a bit more help I have also included a feed from our Ebay partner below that shows you the current market price of R-1234yf:

Listings from eBay

Now each car is different and the amount of refrigerant that they need can be different as well. Some only require one pound and others upwards of eight to nine pounds. It is always best to check your owner’s manual or your dealership to see how much you need. In our example we’re going to call it three pounds of refrigerant to get a complete fill up of your vehicle.

3 pounds of refrigerant * $70.00 per pound = $210.00 for a complete fill up.

Conclusion

Alright folks, that should about cover it. I’ve gone through everything you should know when refilling your air conditioner as well at what price point to expect. One last thing I wanted to mention before closing this article is that you have to remember that there will be mark-up involved from your technician or HVAC company. The price that I gave you is going to be very close to their cost. So, while you may not get that $70.00 price per pound article it does give you a starting point for negotiations. Remember, that everything in this world is negotiable and if they quote you one-hundred and twenty-five dollars a pound then you do your best to get them down to ninety dollars a pound using this article as a point of reference.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

How Much Does It Cost?

It is a few days before Thanksgiving and the weather is quite cold outside here in Kansas City. I’m in my office sipping on some coffee and enjoying some time off. As I’m sitting here I have been thinking about refrigerant. Yes, yes, nothing quite says time off like refrigerant. Or, at least it does for me. You see these winter months is when I get quite a bit of time off and everything is a lot less hectic. Everything has slowed down and I have some time to catch my breath, relax, and plan for the next year.

Over the past five years or so we here at RefrigerantHQ have spent some time creating our ‘refrigerant price per pound’ articles. These have been some of most successful posts just because there just isn’t other information out there. If you look elsewhere you either won’t find anything on the price of refrigerants or you will find something that is highly inflated and is way above the marketplace. Now, I will say that more often then not our articles on this website are more technical and geared towards the HVAC or automotive technician but I always make time for these price per pound articles for my end-user readers as well. There is nothing worse then being gouged on the price of a product… and then not even knowing you were gouged in the first place!

In this article we’re going to give you an accurate price per pound on R-134a. But, before we get into that I first want to take some time and go over some air conditioning basics for your vehicle. If you’re not interested in this and you are just looking for the price then please scroll towards the bottom of the article and look for a section titled, ‘Price Per Pound.’ Otherwise, if you are interested then please read on.

Know This Before Purchasing

Let’s say your vehicle’s air conditioner is no longer working. You’ve tried everything you can think of. You even tried a few AC recharge kits and the air only stayed cool for a few days. It is clear that you need a repair… but what should you expect with this repair? Obviously, every dealer or repair shop is going to charge differently for their parts and labor but the below section will at least give you some basic knowledge on what to expect as you take your car into the shop.

R-1234yf VS R-134a

Something that a lot of folks may not have realized is that in recent years the refrigerant that automobiles are using has switched. Yes, that’s right. A lot of newer vehicles are no longer using R-134a. Instead they have switched over to a newer HFO refrigerant known as R-1234yf. In the United States this switch started to occur in 2015 and with each passing year the number of cars that are using 1234yf has increased. In the next few years it is predicted that nearly ninety percent of the market will be using 1234.

Earlier this year I did an article where I put together a list of all cars and what refrigerant they were using for their 2019/2020 model years. This list took quite a bit of time as I had to dig through instruction manuals for all of these different vehicles. I didn’t find every single car but I found the majority. At the end of the exercise I had found that nearly seventy percent of cars produced in 2019 within the United States are using r-1234yf. That is a huge number folks. This article can be found by clicking here.

There is a really big downside when it comes to r-1234yf. That is the price. In most cases r-1234yf is ten times more expensive then r-134a. So, your thirty dollar recharge on r-134a may end up being close to three-hundred dollars on 1234yf. That is quite the difference and can result in a lot of angry consumers when they get their repair bill. The bad news here is that I have seen no sign of the 1234yf pricing dropping anytime soon either.

You Are Paying For Expertise

Ok folks, so the information that I am going to give you in our ‘Price Per Pound’ section is very nearly, if not exactly, the cost that your technician is paying for their R-134a refrigerant. What that means is that you can expect a markup. After all, the technician and the dealership need to make money as well. This is a specialized trade and requires trained expertise in order to succeed in. Thinking that you can do this yourself is never a good idea as there are a lot of intricacies that need to be accounted for. As an example, let’s go through and ask a few simple questions that a technician would either have to do or consider:

  • Do you know how to flush your system?
  • Do you know what refrigerants can be vented?
  • Are you 609 certified with the EPA to handle HFC refrigerants?
  • Do you know how to find, let alone fix, a refrigerant leak?

All of these questions and more are what you are paying your technician for. Remember that they need to make money too, but there is also a fine line between having profit and gouging. Reading this article, and reviewing the price per pound, will allow you to be educated and give you the power to negotiate the price of refrigerant.

Your AC Unit is a Closed System

Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System
Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System

Even before you bring your car into the dealership to look at the air conditioner you should be aware that air conditioners are what’s known as closed systems. What that means is that the refrigerant in your air conditioner moves back and forth between different cycles and it, in theory, never runs out or needs refrigerant refilled.

If you find that your unit is low on refrigerant or is completely out do NOT just refill your machine with a new refrigerant. I repeat do NOT do this. Your system does not need a top off. It does not need just a little bit more refrigerant to get by. No. If you are running out of refrigerant that means that somewhere in the refrigerant cycle there is a leak. Your unit is leaking refrigerant and will continue to leak refrigerant until a repair is made. If you dump more refrigerant into it without fixing the leak you are literally throwing money down the drain.

I like to think of it as a above ground pool. If you get a puncture in the pool lining water will leak out. Sure you can always add more water but it’s not fixing the problem. Adding more refrigerant doesn’t fix the problem either. It’s just prolong the inevitable and wasting money.

Purchase Restrictions

This isn’t as big of a problem when it comes to automotive application but it is still worth mentioning. You see back in January 1st of 2018 a new regulation was implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency. This regulation known as the, ‘Refrigerant Sales Restriction,’ aimed at preventing novices from purchasing HFC refrigerants such as R-410A, R-404A, and yes… R-134a.  These restrictions already existed on HCFC and CFC refrigerants but they were now moved over to HFC refrigerants as well. What this means is that you are no longer legally able to purchase R-134a unless you are 609 certified with the EPA. Now, there are a few slight exceptions to this such as:

  1. The first exception is that if you purchase small cans of refrigerant that are under two pounds of refrigerant or less. This works great for automotive applications as they only need a few pounds to recharge an entire system. But, this can be difficult when trying to recharge a larger system with only a pound of refrigerant at a time. A typical split-system air conditioner may take up to twelve pounds of refrigerant. So, you could technically do this yourself but you would have to find a source for the cans and it still not legal to tamper or tinker on an air conditioning unit if you are certified with the EPA.
  2. The other exception is providing the vendor you are buying from with an intent to resale form. What this means is that you state that you will NOT be using this refrigerant yourself but that you intend to resell it to another party. In this case the legal record keeping requirements would be passed onto you. So, if the supplier you bought from gets audited by the EPA their records will then point to you. The EPA will reach out to you and you better hope you either sold the product or are 609 certified!

If you do not meet the above exceptions and you try to purchase R-134A you will be asked for your 609 license number. If you cannot provide one then you will not be allowed to purchase. This was done to protect the environment. If R-134a is vented or leaked into the atmosphere it contributes to Global Warming. The restriction was put into place to prevent novices from playing around with the refrigerant and accidentally releasing it into the atmosphere.  There was talk at the beginning of 2019 that the Trump Administration would rescind these restrictions but so far there has been no follow-through on this matter. As the law is today you are not able to purchase this refrigerant.

The good news here is that this doesn’t affect the automotive market too much. Yes, there was a time where a lot of folks were buying thirty pound cylinders of R-134a to have around. That can no longer be done, but you can still get the cans online at stores like Amazon or at any major automotive retailer.

R-134a Price Per Pound

Alright folks so we’ve gotten past the need-to-know section and now we can begin to dive into to see the exact cost per pound. Let me paint a picture for you now. Let’s imagine it is the middle of summer and your car’s air conditioner has gone out. No cold-air is blowing through and you’re stumped. You drive the car into the dealership for a repair, but what can you expect? The first thing is that you will need to pay for a repair to fix whatever caused the malfunction. This could be a faulty hose, a bad compressor, a bad evaporator, and so on and so on. On top of this you will also have to pay for a full refrigerant recharge. But, what price is fair here?

Before I give you the price on R-134a I first want to give you a few tools that will allow you to determine the true cost of R-134a at any given time. You see, I am writing this article in November of 2019 and I can bet that by the time summer rolls around and you’re reading this article that the prices have changed. Refrigerant pricing is ever changing and you never truly know where it will be at. The good news is that if you check Ebay.com and Amazon.com you can begin to see where the market is at any given time. Yes, it’s really that simple folks.

When looking at these prices on Ebay and Amazon be sure to look at the thirty pound cylinder pricing. That is going to be quite a bit cheaper then the cans and that is most likely what the dealer or repair shop you are at are buying. From my experience these dealerships will buy a pallet full of thirty pound cylinders and use them throughout the season. This gives them a very aggressive cost within the market.

Today, if we look at Ebay we can see that thirty pound cylinders are ranging from one-hundred and thirty to one-hundred and fifty dollars per thirty pound cylinder. For argument’s sake let’s take the highest dollar one at one-hundred and fifty dollars. In order to get the price per pound let’s do some simple math:

$150 / 30lb cylinder = $5.00 per pound.

There you have it folks, $5.00 for one pound of R-134a refrigerant. Now, please keep in mind that these prices CAN change. To give you a bit more help I have also included a feed from our Ebay partner below that shows you the current market price of R-134a:

Listings from eBay

Now each car is different and the amount of refrigerant that they need can be different as well. Some only require one pound and others upwards of eight to nine pounds. It is always best to check your owner’s manual or your dealership to see how much you need. In our example we’re going to call it three pounds of refrigerant to get a complete fill up of your vehicle.

3 pounds of refrigerant * $5.00 per pound = $15.00 for a complete fill up.

Conclusion

Alright folks, that should about cover it. I’ve gone through everything you should know when refilling your vehicle’s air conditioner as well at what price point to expect. One last thing I wanted to mention before closing this article is that you have to remember that there will be mark-up involved from your technician or HVAC company. The price that I gave you is going to be very close to their cost. So, while you may not get that $5.00 price per pound article it does give you a starting point for negotiations. Remember, that everything in this world is negotiable and if they quote you fifteen dollars a pound then you do your best to get them down to seven dollars a pound using this article as a point of reference.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

How Much Does It Cost?

Greetings ladies and gentlemen and welcome to RefrigerantHQ! It’s just a few days before Thanksgiving. The weather is quite cold outside and I am sitting in my office, sipping at a cup of coffee, and thinking about refrigerant. Yes, it seems that refrigerant is always on my mind, even during these colder winter months. In fact it is actually quite a bit easier to get work done during this time of year. With summer gone and spring quite a ways in the future everything slows down a bit and I have time to catch a breather, gather my thoughts, and write some articles.

Most of the time the articles on this site are more of a technical nature and cater towards HVAC technicians and contractors. However, today we will be doing something slightly different. You see over the past four years we here at RefrigerantHQ have published a series of articles that go into the exact cost that business owners can expect when paying for refrigerant. This was a problem that I recognized a while back. When a business owner receives a quote on refrigerant they have no idea if it’s a fair price or if they are being gouged. There were very little references out there so it made it nearly impossible to negotiate or price shop.

In this article we are going to give you the exact cost per pound on R-404A refrigerant. This will give you the knowledge on rather or not you are being priced fairly. It could be that you own a gas station that needs a refrigerator or freezer repaired. Or, perhaps you drive a refrigerated truck and need an accurate quote on 404A for a repair. Or, you are a store manager at the local grocery store and you’ve had and entire row of freezers stop working. Whatever your line of work or the situation is you will need an accurate quote on R-404A and to make sure it is at an accurate price and to have the problem resolved as soon as possible. Each hour or day that goes by is lost business.

Now, before I get into the price details I am going to spend some time covering some basic HVAC and refrigerant knowledge. I can be a bit long-winded at times so if you find that you just want to find the price per pound then I suggest scrolling through towards the bottom of this article and look for the section titled, ‘Price Per Pound.’ However, if you’d like to learn a bit then please continue reading.

Know This Before Purchasing

Before we get into the price per pound when it comes to R-404A refrigerant I like to take some time in this section and inform you of a few basic things about your 404A system. Now I’ve written similar articles for homeowners as well on 410A and R-22. In those articles I always tell the homeowner to check their machine and determine exactly what kind of refrigerant i handles. While it is not as important as a business owner to know the exact refrigerant you are using it is still a good to know. Checking the system to see what kind of refrigerant it uses is a relatively easy task and can be done by locating a white sticker on the outside of the unit. These stickers are typically found in the back room or ‘control room’ of the system. If you are unable to find this sticker it’s not the end of the world, just be sure ask the technician that you call out to service the unit what kind of refrigerant your system is using.

Purchase Restrictions

If you thought that you could repair and recharge your system yourself then you are mistaken. You see, there was a time when this was possible. I knew quite a few small business owners who bought their own cans or cylinders of R-404A. They then repaired and recharged their system. You could find these 404A cylinders online on Amazon and in a lot of big box stores like Home Depot or Lowes.

The problem with this now is that as of January 1st, 2018 you can no longer purchase R-404A unless you are section 608 certified with the Environmental Protection Agency. Purchasing has been locked down to only certified technicians. This new rule is known as the ‘Refrigerant Sales Restriction.’ These restrictions already existed on HCFC and CFC refrigerants but they were now moved over to HFC refrigerants as well. This included R-404A. What this means is that you are no longer legally able to purchase R-404A unless you are 608 certified with the EPA. Now, there are a few slight exceptions to this such as:

  1. Providing the vendor you are buying from with an intent to resale form. What this means is that you state that you will NOT be using this refrigerant yourself but that you intend to resell it to another party. In this case the legal record keeping requirements would be passed onto you. So, if the supplier you bought from gets audited by the EPA their records will then point to you. The EPA will reach out to you and you better hope you either sold the product or are 608 certified!
  2. The other exception is that if you purchase small cans of refrigerant that are under two pounds of refrigerant or less. This works great for automotive and other smaller applications but can be difficult when trying to recharge a larger system with only a few pounds of refrigerant at a time. You could technically do this yourself but you would have to find a source for the cans and it still not legal to tamper or tinker on an air conditioning unit if you are certified with the EPA.

If you do not meet the above exceptions and you try to purchase R-404A you will be asked for your 608 license number. If you cannot provide one then you will not be allowed to purchase. This was done to protect the environment. If R-404A is vented or leaked into the atmosphere it contributes to Global Warming. The restriction was put into place to prevent novices from playing around with the refrigerant and accidentally releasing it into the atmosphere.  There was talk at the beginning of 2019 that the Trump Administration would rescind these restrictions but so far there has been no follow-through on this matter. As the law is today you are not able to purchase this refrigerant.

You Are Paying For Expertise

Ok folks, so the information that I am going to give you in our ‘Price Per Pound’ section is very nearly, if not exactly, the cost that your contractor is paying for their R-22 refrigerant. What that means is that you can expect a markup. After all, the technician and the HVAC contractor need to make money as well. This is a specialized trade and requires trained expertise in order to succeed in. Thinking that you can do this yourself is never a good idea as there are a lot of intricacies that need to be accounted for. As an example, let’s go through and ask a few simple questions that a technician would either have to do or consider:

  • Do you know how to flush your system?
  • Do you know what refrigerants can be vented?
  • Do you know what the Superheat and Subcool are for R-22?
  • Are you 608 certified with the EPA to handle HCFC refrigerants?
  • Do you know how to find, let alone fix, a refrigerant leak?

All of these questions and more are what you are paying your contractor for. Remember that they need to make money too, but there is also a fine line between having profit and gouging. Reading this article, and reviewing the price per pound, will allow you to be educated and give you the power to negotiate the price of refrigerant.

Your AC Unit is a Closed System

Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System
Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System

Even before you have a contractor come to your home and look at your air conditioner you should be aware that air conditioners are what’s known as closed systems. What that means is that the refrigerant in your air conditioner moves back and forth between different cycles and it, in theory, never runs out or needs refrigerant refilled.

If you find that your unit is low on refrigerant or is completely out do NOT just refill your machine with a new refrigerant. I repeat do NOT do this. Your system does not need a top off. It does not need just a little bit more refrigerant to get by. No. If you are running out of refrigerant that means that somewhere in the refrigerant cycle there is a leak. Your unit is leaking refrigerant and will continue to leak refrigerant until a repair is made. If you dump more refrigerant into it without fixing the leak you are literally throwing money down the drain. Potentially a lot of money too if yours is an R-22 unit.

I like to think of it as a above ground pool. If you get a puncture in the pool lining water will leak out. Sure you can always add more water but it’s not fixing the problem. Adding more refrigerant doesn’t fix the problem either. It’s just prolong the inevitable and wasting money.

R-404A Price Per Pound

Ok ladies and gentlemen you’ve made it through the boring section of the article. Now we can focus on the real reason you came here. How much exactly is 404A refrigerant per pound? So, let’s envision a scenario. A few of your refrigerators at your gas station are no longer working. You call a service technician to come out and diagnose them. He finds that the compressor has failed and that there is cracking in some of the pipes as well. That means you need a new compressor, new pipes, and most likely a full recharge of 404A refrigerant as well. This is going to be an expensive repair bill.

Before I tell you the exact cost per pound on 404A I want to make you aware that the price will change. I am writing this article in late November and I guarantee that when you are reading this the price will have changed since then. Do not fret though, there is good news. There are a few tools out there that will allow you to find the price of 404A real time. It is relatively easy as well. All you have to do is visit Ebay.com or Amazon.com and check the going rate for 404A. By checking these sites you get an up-to-date price and know right around where you should be paying. I will say that Ebay is the most reliable out of the two. Amazon’s listings of 404A are rather spotty but Ebay always has them on there.

Looking at Ebay today we can see an average price range is one-hundred and ten to one-hundred and fifty dollars for a twenty-four pound cylinder of 404A. I more of a fan of aiming too high rather then too low so let’s take that one-hundred and fifty dollar maximum as our price. Now it is time to do some math:

$150 / 24lb cylinder = $6.25 per pound.

There you have it folks, $6.25 for one pound of R-404A refrigerant. Now, please keep in mind that as I said above these prices can change at any given time. To give you a bit more help I have also included a feed from our Ebay partner below that shows you the current market price of R-404A:

Listings from eBay

Conclusion

Alright folks, that should about cover it. We’ve covered some need to know topics and also the exact price per pound on R-404A. One last thing I wanted to mention before closing this article is that you have to remember that there will be mark-up involved from your technician or HVAC company. The price that I gave you is going to be very close to their cost. So, while you may not get that $6.25 price per pound article it does give you a starting point for negotiations. Remember, that everything in this world is negotiable and if they quote you twenty-five dollars a pound then you do your best to get them down to ten dollars a pound using this article as a point of reference.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

How Much Does It Cost?

Greetings ladies and gentlemen! It’s just a few days before Thanksgiving. The weather is quite cold outside and I am sitting in my office, sipping at a cup of coffee, and thinking about refrigerant. Yes, it seems that refrigerant is always on my mind, even during these colder winter months. In fact it is actually quite a bit easier to get work done during this time of year. With summer gone and spring quite a ways in the future everything slows down a bit and I have time to catch a breather, gather my thoughts, and write some articles.

Most of the time the articles on this site are more of a technical nature and cater towards HVAC technicians and contractors. However, today we will be doing something slightly different. You see over the past four years we here at RefrigerantHQ have published a series of articles that go into the exact cost that homeowners can expect when paying for refrigerant. This was a problem that I recognized a while back. When a homeowner receives a quote on refrigerant they have no idea if it’s a fair price or if they are being gouged. There were very little references out there so it made it nearly impossible to negotiate or price shop.

In this article we are going to give you the exact cost per pound on R-410A refrigerant. This will give you the knowledge on rather or not you are being priced fairly. Now, before I get into the price details I am going to spend some time covering some basic HVAC and refrigerant knowledge. I can be a bit long-winded at times so if you find that you just want to find the price per pound then I suggest scrolling through towards the bottom of this article and look for the section titled, ‘Price Per Pound.’ However, if you’d like to learn a bit then please continue reading.

Know This Before Purchasing

Now before I get into the price per pound information you should first understand the R-410A market and your R-410A air conditioner a bit more. The first point of note is do you have an R-410A system? The only way you can be exactly sure is by looking at the outside section of your air conditioner. There should be a white sticker located somewhere on the machine. This sticker will indicate exactly what kind of refrigerant your split-system is taking. If you are in the United States then the chances are that it will be one of two refrigerants. If the unit was manufactured and installed before 2010 then the chances are high that it takes R-22. However, if the system was manufactured after 2010 then it most likely takes the HFC R-410A. Again, it is always best to check for the sticker to identify exactly what kind of refrigerant you are dealing with.

Purchase Restrictions

If you thought that you could repair and recharge your system yourself then you are mistaken. You see, there was a time when this was possible. I knew quite a few folks who bought their own cans or cylinders of R-410A. They then repair and recharged their system. You could find these 410A cylinders online on Amazon and in a lot of big box stores like Home Depot or Lowes. The problem with this now is that as of January 1st, 2018 you can no longer purchase R-410A unless you are section 608 certified with the Environmental Protection Agency. Purchasing has been locked down to only certified technicians. This new rule is known as the ‘Refrigerant Sales Restriction.’ These restrictions already existed on HCFC and CFC refrigerants but they were now moved over to HFC refrigerants as well. This included R-410A. What this means is that you are no longer legally able to purchase R-410A unless you are 608 certified with the EPA. Now, there are a few slight exceptions to this such as:

  1. Providing the vendor you are buying from with an intent to resale form. What this means is that you state that you will NOT be using this refrigerant yourself but that you intend to resell it to another party. In this case the legal record keeping requirements would be passed onto you. So, if the supplier you bought from gets audited by the EPA their records will then point to you. The EPA will reach out to you and you better hope you either sold the product or are 608 certified!
  2. The other exception is that if you purchase small cans of refrigerant that are under two pounds of refrigerant or less. This works great for automotive applications but can be difficult when trying to recharge your system with only a few pounds of refrigerant at a time. A typical split-system air conditioner may take up to twelve pounds of refrigerant. So, you could technically do this yourself but you would have to find a source for the cans and it still not legal to tamper or tinker on an air conditioning unit if you are certified with the EPA.

If you do not meet the above exceptions and you try to purchase R-410A you will be asked for your 608 license number. If you cannot provide one then you will not be allowed to purchase. This was done to protect the environment. If R-410A is vented or leaked into the atmosphere it contributes to Global Warming. The restriction was put into place to prevent novices from playing around with the refrigerant and accidentally releasing it into the atmosphere.  There was talk at the beginning of 2019 that the Trump Administration would rescind these restrictions but so far there has been no follow-through on this matter. As the law is today you are not able to purchase this refrigerant.

You Are Paying For Expertise

Ok folks, so the information that I am going to give you in our ‘Price Per Pound’ section is very nearly, if not exactly, the cost that your contractor is paying for their R-22 refrigerant. What that means is that you can expect a markup. After all, the technician and the HVAC contractor need to make money as well. This is a specialized trade and requires trained expertise in order to succeed in. Thinking that you can do this yourself is never a good idea as there are a lot of intricacies that need to be accounted for. As an example, let’s go through and ask a few simple questions that a technician would either have to do or consider:

  • Do you know how to flush your system?
  • Do you know what refrigerants can be vented?
  • Do you know what the Superheat and Subcool are for R-22?
  • Are you 608 certified with the EPA to handle HCFC refrigerants?
  • Do you know how to find, let alone fix, a refrigerant leak?

All of these questions and more are what you are paying your contractor for. Remember that they need to make money too, but there is also a fine line between having profit and gouging. Reading this article, and reviewing the price per pound, will allow you to be educated and give you the power to negotiate the price of refrigerant.

Your AC Unit is a Closed System

Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System
Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System

Even before you have a contractor come to your home and look at your air conditioner you should be aware that air conditioners are what’s known as closed systems. What that means is that the refrigerant in your air conditioner moves back and forth between different cycles and it, in theory, never runs out or needs refrigerant refilled.

If you find that your unit is low on refrigerant or is completely out do NOT just refill your machine with a new refrigerant. I repeat do NOT do this. Your system does not need a top off. It does not need just a little bit more refrigerant to get by. No. If you are running out of refrigerant that means that somewhere in the refrigerant cycle there is a leak. Your unit is leaking refrigerant and will continue to leak refrigerant until a repair is made. If you dump more refrigerant into it without fixing the leak you are literally throwing money down the drain. Potentially a lot of money too if yours is an R-22 unit.

I like to think of it as a above ground pool. If you get a puncture in the pool lining water will leak out. Sure you can always add more water but it’s not fixing the problem. Adding more refrigerant doesn’t fix the problem either. It’s just prolong the inevitable and wasting money.

R-410A Price Per Pound

Alright folks so we’ve gotten through the precursor of this article. Now we can begin to look at the meat and potatoes. This is the reason you came to this article. Let’s say that for whatever reason your air conditioner is no longer working and your house is getting warmer. You call out a technician for a repair quote. Now in most cases when something goes wrong with your air conditioner the refrigerant will most likely leak out. Say for example one of the lines get a crack in the pipe. The refrigerant is going to leak through that pipe so not only do you have to replace the copper tubing but you also have to recharge your system with refrigerant. This is where it can get expensive. Just how much should you be paying for R-410A per pound?

The answer to this question is actually fairly simple. I will give you the exact cost per pound in just a but, but I also want to provide you with a few tools so that you can begin checking the prices yourself. I’m writing this article towards the end of November. There is no doubt in my mind that the market will change by the time you’re reading this in spring or summer. But, by using these tools you can still get a gauge for the market and an idea of how much you should be paying.

It is actually really simple too. All you have to do is visit sites like Ebay.com or Amazon.com and check the price of R-410A. Amazon may not always have a 410A listing but I can guarantee you that Ebay does. Let’s take a look at Ebay’s prices today. As of November 25th, 2019 I am seeing a price range of one-hundred and nine dollars to one-hundred and forty dollars on a twenty-five pound cylinder of 410A. To determine the price per pound let’s take a middle of the road number between those two prices. Let’s use one-hundred and twenty dollars. Now it’s time for some math:

$120 / 25lb cylinder = $4.80 per pound.

There you have it folks, $4.80 for one pound of R-410A refrigerant. Now, please keep in mind that as I said above these prices can change at any given time. To give you a bit more help I have also included a feed from our Ebay partner below that shows you the current market price of R-410A.

Listings from eBay

Ok, so now that we have the cost per pound of R-410A now let’s determine how many pounds that you need to recharge your air conditioner. Now the typical rule of thumb is between two to four pounds of refrigerant per ton of your air conditioner. (You should always check the exact specifications of your machine, but most of the time the two to four pound guideline will be sufficient.) Most home air conditioners are between one ton and five tons. (Anything over five tons is considered a commercial grade unit.) So, let’s get on with our math problem. Let’s pretend that you have a middle of the road three ton air conditioning unit that is on the fritz with no refrigerant in it. In order to refill your unit entirely you will need the following:

4 pounds of refrigerant * 3 ton unit = 12 pounds of refrigerant needed.

12 pounds of refrigerant times the $4.80 per pound number we came up with earlier = $57.60 for a completely fill up of your unit.

Conclusion

Alright folks, that should about cover it. I’ve gone through everything you should know when refilling your air conditioner as well at what price point to expect. One last thing I wanted to mention before closing this article is that you have to remember that there will be mark-up involved from your technician or HVAC company. The price that I gave you is going to be very close to their cost. So, while you may not get that $4.80 price per pound article it does give you a starting point for negotiations. Remember, that everything in this world is negotiable and if they quote you twenty-five dollars a pound then you do your best to get them down to ten dollars a pound using this article as a point of reference.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

How Much Does It Cost?

Greetings ladies and gentlemen. It is that time of year again. It’s just a few days before Thanksgiving and here I am sitting in my office having a nice cup of coffee and taking shelter from those thirty degree temperatures outside. As I sip my coffee I have begun to think about the various types refrigerants and what we can expect from each one in 2020. Yes, I’ve always got refrigerant on the mind and today is no different. You see, that is what we do here at RefrigerantHQ. Even during these cold winter months we are planning for the next season. In fact, it’s actually easier to get a lot of writing and preparation done in the winter as the demand is gone and it gives us a little bit of time to rest and gather our thoughts.

While most of our articles are more of a technical nature designed for HVAC technicians, this article is orientated towards homeowners. Over the past four years RefrigerantHQ has published a series of articles right around this time. Each of these articles goes into exactly how much you can expect to pay per pound on a specific refrigerant. Unfortunately, a refrigerant recharge is one of the most overcharged services out there. It is this way due to one simple fact: Homeowners have no idea what a refrigerant’s price per pound is. It is an unknown concept with no real point of reference.

This is where we come in folks. In this article, and the other articles I published today, we will be diving deep into exactly how much each refrigerant is per pound. So, say your air conditioner needs a repair and a refrigerant recharge. Once you know how many pounds you require you can do the math based on the numbers in this article. However, before I get further into this article I do want to give you a warning that I can be rather long winded at times. While this is all good information about your air conditioner and how it works… if you find yourself just wanting to know the price of the refrigerant then you should scroll down to the bottom of the article and look for a section titled, “Price Per Pound.” This is where you will find the pricing details.

 Know This Before You Purchase

Now before I get into the price per pound information you should first understand the R-22 market and your R-22 air conditioner a bit more. The first point of note is do you have an R-22 system? The only way you can be exactly sure is by looking at the outside section of your air conditioner. There should be a white sticker located somewhere on the machine. This sticker will indicate exactly what kind of refrigerant your split-system is taking. If you are in the United States then the chances are that it will be one of two refrigerants. If the unit was manufactured and installed before 2010 then the chances are high that it takes R-22. However, if the system was manufactured after 2010 then it most likely takes the HFC R-410A. Again, it is always best to check for the sticker to identify exactly what kind of refrigerant you are dealing with.

R-22 Phase-Out

You may have noticed from my section above that the year 2010 is significant when it comes to R-22. Well folks, that is because there was a mandatory phase-down implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency that started in 2010. You see, as of January 1st, 2010 no new R-22 machines could be manufactured or imported into the new United States. (This excludes ‘dry systems’ which could be manufactured as long as they didn’t contain R-22.) At the time of this phase-down nearly every home and office air conditioner in the country was using the HCFC R-22. Yes, there were some exceptions here and there… but for the most part the country ran on R-22.

The phase-down was put in place due to the damage that R-22 caused to the Ozone layer. R-22 contained the chemical known as chlorine and when R-22 was leaked or vented into the atmosphere that chlorine made it’s way up to the Stratosphere and eventually into the Ozone. The chlorine would then eat away at the Ozone layer causing damage and the eventual formation of a hole above the arctic. As most of you know, back in the 1980’s a treaty was signed by over one-hundred countries known as the Montreal Protocol. This treaty aimed at phasing out Ozone damaging substances around the globe. The first to go was the refrigerant known as R-12. There were other phase-outs over the years but the last one, which started in 2010, is R-22.

The phase-down from the EPA was a staggered approach. There was a production and import limit installed in 2010 and then there was another one in 2015. The last one, which is coming up here in just a few weeks is January 1st, 2020. When that date hits R-22 will no longer be able to be produced or imported within the United States. The only way to get your hands on R-22 refrigerant from then on is either through stockpiles of refrigerant that distributors bought up on before the phase-out, by using reclaimed R-22, or by using an R-22 alternative product.

R-22 Pricing Variables

Starting in 2010, when the phase-down began, the pricing of R-22 has been anything but consistent. In some cases it can change wildly from month to month. There are a number of reasons for this but there are a few main drivers that cause the price to go haywire. The first is the basic concept of supply and demand. The more supply out there then the less the price will be. The more demand the higher the price. The other reason is speculation. This is a common term when people discuss the price of oil. Speculators drive the price up or drive the price down. These speculators are folks trying to make a profit based on the rising and falling tide of oil prices.

For those not in the industry I like to compare refrigerant pricing to that of oil. You always hear of oil prices changing day to day. You always hear of speculators and supply/demand issues. Refrigerant is the same way. Since the phase-down started in 2010 we have seen R-22 prices go from a high of twenty-five dollars a pound all the way to nine dollars a pound. That twenty-five dollars per pound was the highest price point that I have seen and that occurred in the summer of 2017. The reason this got so high is that everyone was buying as much R-22 as they could in preparation for the upcoming 2020 phase-out. Because everyone had the same idea of buying up early the price continued to rise and rise.

A lot of folks thought that the price would stabilize at that twenty-five dollar mark. Others thought it would go even higher. Many companies bought up thousands or millions of dollars worth of R-22 in anticipation of an even higher price. Well folks, the inverse happened. After the summer season in 2017 the price on R-22 started to drop. And drop it did. Over the past few years R-22 has been the lowest it’s been in years. Throughout the summer of 2019 R-22 was pricing around ten dollars a pound. In some cases, like right now, it’s around nine dollars a pound.

No one knows for sure what will happen to the pricing when January 1st, 2020 arrives but a lot of the articles I have read predict more of the same. That same price of around nine or ten dollars a pound. This is due to the overwhelming amount of stock-piles out there still.

Age of your R-22 Unit

Before you consider repairing your R-22 system you should ask yourself a few questions. The first is exactly how old is your air conditioner? Is it over fifteen years? If so, then it may be time to look at purchasing an entirely new system that uses the newer refrigerant known as HFC R-410A. I say this for a couple of reasons. The first is that most air conditioners last between fifteen to twenty years. Once you hit that fifteen year mark you are also going to start running into repairs. It could be that your compressor goes out, a capacitor is blown, or a whole host of other reasons.

Whatever happened, your air conditioner isn’t cooling and you need a repair. If the price on R-22 is on a higher upswing then you could risk paying a substantial amount just to repair your unit. Remember, that you have to pay for the repair AND the refrigerant as well. So, say your compressor needs replaced. That could be a two to three-hundred dollar repair. Factor in the refrigerant recharge of about twelve pounds of refrigerant at twenty dollars a pound then you’re looking at a repair bill of around five-hundred and forty dollars.

The question that you will have to answer is are you ok with paying that repair bill? Remember, that your unit is older and with each passing season you are going to have more and more repairs come up. The alternative is spending three-thousand or so and get a brand new 410A air conditioner. While this is a big expense upfront it does prevent you from having a future headache of yearly repair bills.

R-22 Alternatives & Reclaim

Continuing on with the above section if you find that the cost to purchase and install a whole new system at your home or office is too expensive then there are some other options available. If the price of R-22 is high during next year’s summer and you’re looking at possible twenty or twenty-five dollars a pound then there are some alternative choices. The first is what’s known as reclaimed refrigerant. Reclaimed refrigerant is R-22 refrigerant that was used in another machine at one point in time. The used refrigerant is extracted from that machine, put in a recovery cylinder, and then sent to an EPA certified reclaimer. The reclaimer removes any impurities or containment from the used refrigerant. When they are complete the refrigerant is clean and able to be used again.

Many technicians frown on the use of reclaimed refrigerants. I’m not exactly sure why this is as these reclaimers have to go through a rigorous inspection process by the EPA. These guys know what they are doing. The only reason I can see for the skepticism is similar to when you take your car to the dealership. The dealership will ask you if you want new or remanufactured parts. Most folks buy new as they’re not comfortable with a remanufactured. I’ve never had a problem with buying reman/reclaim but that decision will have to be up to you. There is savings involved so that could perhaps be your deciding factor.

Along with reclaimed refrigerants there are a number of alternative refrigerants to R-22. At this time I believe there are over one-hundred different alternatives out there from all different companies and manufacturers. Each alternative is different as well. Some of these products may require very little retro-fit to get the alternative refrigerant to work in your R-22 based system. Others will require a complete overhaul on your machine to get it to work with an R-22 alternative.

Alternative refrigerants are cheaper… as long as R-22 is at or above eleven dollars per pound. If it is lower then that, like it is today, then alternatives won’t do you much good. After all, why pay for an alternative product if you can get the real thing at the same price… or even at a cheaper price? However, if you see R-22 prices going up and up again then alternatives are a great choice for those of you who don’t want to purchase a whole new system.

You Are Paying For Expertise

Ok folks, so the information that I am going to give you in our ‘Price Per Pound’ section is very nearly, if not exactly, the cost that your contractor is paying for their R-22 refrigerant. What that means is that you can expect a markup. After all, the technician and the HVAC contractor need to make money as well. This is a specialized trade and requires trained expertise in order to succeed in. Thinking that you can do this yourself is never a good idea as there are a lot of intricacies that need to be accounted for. As an example, let’s go through and ask a few simple questions that a technician would either have to do or consider:

    • Do you know how to flush your system?
    • Do you know what refrigerants can be vented?
    • Do you know what the Superheat and Subcool are for R-22?
    • Are you 608 certified with the EPA to handle HCFC refrigerants?
    • Do you know how to find, let alone fix, a refrigerant leak?

All of these questions and more are what you are paying your contractor for. Remember that they need to make money too, but there is also a fine line between having profit and gouging. Reading this article, and reviewing the price per pound, will allow you to be educated and give you the power to negotiate the price of refrigerant.

Your AC Unit is a Closed System

Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System
Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System

Even before you have a contractor come to your home and look at your air conditioner you should be aware that air conditioners are what’s known as closed systems. What that means is that the refrigerant in your air conditioner moves back and forth between different cycles and it, in theory, never runs out or needs refrigerant refilled.

If you find that your unit is low on refrigerant or is completely out do NOT just refill your machine with a new refrigerant. I repeat do NOT do this. Your system does not need a top off. It does not need just a little bit more refrigerant to get by. No. If you are running out of refrigerant that means that somewhere in the refrigerant cycle there is a leak. Your unit is leaking refrigerant and will continue to leak refrigerant until a repair is made. If you dump more refrigerant into it without fixing the leak you are literally throwing money down the drain. Potentially a lot of money too if yours is an R-22 unit.

I like to think of it as a above ground pool. If you get a puncture in the pool lining water will leak out. Sure you can always add more water but it’s not fixing the problem. Adding more refrigerant doesn’t fix the problem either. It’s just prolong the inevitable and wasting money.

R-22 Price Per Pound

Alright folks so we’ve gotten through the precursor of this article. Now we can begin to look at the meat and potatoes. This is the reason you came to this article. Let’s say that for whatever reason your air conditioner is no longer working and your house is getting warmer. You call out a technician for a repair quote. Now in most cases when something goes wrong with your air conditioner the refrigerant will most likely leak out. Say for example one of the lines get a crack in the pipe. The refrigerant is going to leak through that pipe so not only do you have to replace the copper tubing but you also have to recharge your system with refrigerant. This is where it can get expensive. Just how much should you be paying for R-22 per pound?

Now, I could tell you the price today, which I will in a bit, but I will also give you kind of a cheat sheet that I like to use when gauging the R-22 market price. It’s so simple. All I do is just go to Ebay.com and search for R-22 cylinders. By doing this I can see what the going rate is per pound of R-22. As I write this article today I can see that R-22 is priced between three-hundred and seventy-five and four-hundred dollars a cylinder. Now, let’s do some simple math to get your price per pound. Let’s take the higher amount of four-hundred just to be safe.

$400 / 30lbs = $13.33 per pound.

There you have it folks, $13.33 for one pound of R-22 refrigerant. Now, please keep in mind that as I said above these prices can change at any given time. To give you a bit more help I have also included a feed from our Ebay partner below that shows you the current market price of R-22. (You used to be able to purchase on Amazon.com as well, but it has since been removed due to illegal online sales.)

Listings from eBay

Ok, so now that we have the cost per pound of R-22 now let’s determine how many pounds that you need to recharge your air conditioner. Now the typical rule of thumb is between two to four pounds of refrigerant per ton of your air conditioner. (You should always check the exact specifications of your machine, but most of the time the two to four pound guideline will be sufficient.) Most home air conditioners are between one ton and five tons. (Anything over five tons is considered a commercial grade unit.) So, let’s get on with our math problem. Let’s pretend that you have a middle of the road three ton air conditioning unit that is on the fritz with no refrigerant in it. In order to refill your unit entirely you will need the following:

4 pounds of refrigerant * 3 ton unit = 12 pounds of refrigerant needed.

12 pounds of refrigerant times the $13.33 per pound number we came up with earlier = $159.96 for a completely fill up of your unit.

Conclusion

Alright folks, that should about cover it. I’ve gone through everything you should know when refilling your air conditioner as well at what price point to expect. One last thing I wanted to mention before closing this article is that you have to remember that there will be mark-up involved from your technician or HVAC company. The price that I gave you is going to be very close to their cost. So, while you may not get that $13.33 price per pound article it does give you a starting point for negotiations. Remember, that everything in this world is negotiable and if they quote you forty-five dollars a pound then you do your best to get them down to twenty-five dollars a pound using this article as a point of reference.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Trucking

I have been in and out of the trucking industry for the past thirteen years. Throughout this time period I have seen numerous innovations and changes come within the industry. One example goes back to the 2000’s when DPFs and Diesel Exhaust Fluid were being rolled out. It caused quite a stir and a lot of complaints from customers. There is another change coming to the industry. It may not be as big as DPFs but it will be significant.

As you all know heavy and medium duty trucks use the HFC R-134a refrigerant for their air conditioning needs. This has been the standard refrigerant since the mid 1990’s. The original automotive refrigerant CFC R-12 was phased out in the mid 90’s due to the chlorine that it contained. The chlorine in this refrigerant ended up damaging the Ozone Layer. It was replaced with the HFC R-134a which did not contain any chlorine. This was the status quo up until recently. In 2015 the automotive sector began to see a new refrigerant be introduced in the marketplace. This new refrigerant known as R-1234yf falls under into the new Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) classification type. Vehicle manufacturers began using this refrigerant in their new vehicles in place of R-134a.

In essence, history was repeating itself. R-134a was being replaced with R-1234yf. The difference here is that R-134a does not damage the Ozone. It does however have a very high Global Warming Potential (GWP) number. The higher the number the more damage the refrigerant does to the environment and to Climate Change. R-134a has a GWP number of one-thousand four-hundred and thirty. This newer HFO refrigerant has a GWP of only four. While the initial models and manufacturers using R-1234yf was small, it has grown substantially over the past five years. Today, in 2020, it is estimated that nearly ninety percent of all new vehicles are using R-1234yf.

At this time there is no government mandate for these auto manufacturers to switch over to R-1234yf. There was a few years back, but it was thrown out by the courts. Even still, manufacturers are moving forward with the refrigerant switch. In the European Union R-134a is banned from being used in new vehicles. While it may not come to that here in the United States, manufacturers do not want to take the risk. Might as well bite the bullet now and not have to worry about it in the future. This philosophy holds true for most of the automotive manufacturers out there.

That being said, there is a hold over on this refrigerant transition: The Heavy Duty Industry. Before writing this article I did some searching for any mention of the trucking industry and R-1234yf. As I expected, I found very little results. The few articles I was able to find were years old and were providing outdated information. So, the question I have to ask everyone is where is the trucking industry on this transition? When can we expect heavy duty, hell medium duty, vehicles to start using R-1234yf refrigerant? One of the articles I did find on this topic stated that the trucking industry is predicted to make the changeover sometime within this decade, but that is speculative.

The Incoming Shortage

Here is where things get a bit hairy. As I stated earlier with each year that passes we are seeing more and more models moving away from R-134a over to R-1234yf. It is estimated that ninety percent of new vehicles are using 1234yf. What that means is that the factories that produce R-134a will quickly begin to see declining demand. I would wager that some factory planners/owners have already decided to scale back their production of R-134a significantly. It is a dying refrigerant and the demand will be dying with it. While the demand from the trucking industry is nowhere near that of the automotive market… it still exists.

R-134a Refrigerant

Years ago when I was a buyer for a Kenworth dealer chain I assisted in purchasing nearly four-thousand cylinders of R-134a every February. This was our big buy to ensure that we got the best price. We would do this every year as by the time February rolled around again our dealers would be out. If it was a hot summer then our dealers could run out halfway through the season and end up having to buy a pallet here or there to get them through. With all that in mind this one dealer group would purchase around 100-120,000 pounds of R-134a per year. The demand for air conditioning is there. It is just not going to be enough to keep the supply chain the same.

When the demand lessens so does the supply which is going to correlate to higher prices on R-134a. At this point it is impossible to tell exactly what kind of price increase we are going to see over the next few years. But, one thing is certain: There will be large increases and there will be decreased supply. If OEs such as Kenworth, Peterbilt, Freightliner, International, Volvo, Mack, haven’t begun to seriously look at transitioning over to R-1234yf then they need to begin NOW!

Switching Over

In the automotive sector there was not a government mandate to switch from R-134a over to R-1234yf. Well, there was… but it was tossed out in the courts. I see the same scenario occurring for the heavy duty industry. It will be up to the OEs to make the decision on rather or not to switch. We cannot rely on governmental regulation. The somewhat good news is that these OEs may end up seeing some pressure from various states who have begun to adopt tougher HFC regulations. California is a prime example. More states are joining as there is no indication that a Federal policy will be implemented. While automotive applications have been a primary focus with these new state laws… it is only a matter of time before these states focus on trucks moving throughout their boundaries.

Switching over to R-1234yf is not an easy task. It is NOT the same refrigerant of R-134a. One obvious point is that R-1234yf costs ten times more than R-134a (Sometimes even higher). A thirty pound cylinder of R-134a can be purchased right now for between seventy-five to ninety-five dollars. A ten pound cylinder of R-1234yf can be purchased for around six-hundred dollars. Many customers may not notice this at first… but when they bring their truck in for an air conditioning repair they will be shocked by the recharge bill. The good news, or bad news depending on how you look at it, is that by the time trucks switch over to R-1234yf we may see R-134a’s price pretty close to 1234yf due to the manufacturing shortages.

The biggest hurdle with R-1234yf is that it is rated with an A2L rating from ASHRAE. The ‘A’ stands for non-toxic. The ‘2L’ stands for slightly flammable. This is where the controversy exists on this refrigerant. Back when this new HFO was first being implemented there were many concerns expressed on the flammability risk. What happens during an accident? What happens if the refrigerant leaks and possibly ignites? To alleviate these concerns there were numerous studies done by various governmental and private organizations to prove concept and to prove that it was safe.

These same types of studies would have to be done within the heavy duty industry. While it is the same refrigerant found in vehicles the charge for a heavy duty application is going to be much larger then an automobile. A higher charge means a higher risk as well. Some of these studies may have already been done, but again I could not find them when I was researching for this article. Back when this was being implemented in the European Union there was one OE who expressed concerns about 1234yf. They did not believe the studies out there so they set out to conduct their own. This company was Daimler.

Daimler found that in their studies and tests that 1234yf DID ignite during a crash test. Their claims were dismissed across government and business organizations. They were told it was perfectly safe. Daimler though, still skeptical, went ahead and developed their own alternative refrigerant solution. Instead of using R-134a or R-1234yf they went forward with their own R-744 Carbon Dioxide refrigerant system. This was the first mobile R-744 application to be used. Today Daimler has many vehicles using the R-744 technology. The reason I bring Daimler up is they own Freightliner Trucks.

So, my next question for the heavy duty industry is does it make more sense to move towards a R-744 system? Carbon Dioxide is not flammable and has an even lower GWP then R-1234yf. Freightliner could have these systems already in development. I believe this is the right way to go as you can avoid the flammability risk and you also have the sustainability of Carbon Dioxide. R-744 will never be phased out. It has been used for over a century as a refrigerant agent. It is survivable. The only downside is that it operates under extremely high pressures which can result in part failures. To compensate the parts and system are custom made to withstand the higher pressures. This results in increased cost.

Conclusion

With all the above said it seems that it is still up in the air. When will the various OEs begin to change over to a newer refrigerant? And, when they do, will they be migrating towards the flammable 1234yf? Or, will they adopt Daimler’s automotive approach and opt for the R-744? Either way there needs to be some decisions made soon. The clock on R-134a is winding down and there is only so much time left before we all see shortages and large price increases. There is no saying exactly when these shortages will occur but with each passing year the chance of encountering high priced R-134a is greater.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson
RefrigerantHQ

Question

Hello folks and welcome to RefrigerantHQ. This is a question that I get all the time and it is a bit tricky to answer. In the past I have written a few articles on the topic of R-134a phase out in the United States but over the years the overall plan for R-134a has changed substantially. Bare with me here, as I am going to give a bit of a history lesson before I get to your answer. If you’d like to skip this part then scroll on down to the ‘Conclusion’ section of the article for your answer.

History

As most of you know R-134a came to prominence in the automotive applications back in the early 1990’s. It was meant to replace the CFC refrigerant known as R-12. R-12 was found to be damaging the Ozone layer due to the chlorine that it contained. R-134a, which is an HFC refrigerant, contained no chlorine and thus caused no damage to the Ozone Layer.

It was discovered in the early 2000’s though that R-134a had a detrimental impact on the environment. While it does not harm the Ozone Layer it does have an extremely high Global Warming Potential or GWP. GWP is a measurement of the amount of Greenhouse Gases a chemical has when released into the atmosphere. The higher the number the more damaging the product is.

R-134a has a GWP of one-thousand four-hundred and thirty. This is a very large number. It was clear that something had to be done. In the 2010’s a new refrigerant was introduced known as R-1234yf. This refrigerant fell under a completely new classification of refrigerants known as HFOs. R-1234y has a GWP number of only four. The difference between the two refrigerant was astronomical. 1234yf was the automotive refrigerant of the future.

As in most environmental cases the European Union was ahead of the game. In the early 2010’s they began phasing out R-134a and replacing it with R-1234yf. In 2015 it was banned entirely for new vehicles. (Source) It was at that same time, 2015, that the Environmental Protection Agency released new rules called SNAP Rule 20 and SNAP Rule 21. These rules aimed to phase down HFC refrigerants across the United States. R-134a was mentioned in these rules and was targeted to be phased out from new vehicles by the year 2020 for 2021 vehicle model years.

Here is where things get a bit fuzzy. For a few years this was the operating assumption. R-134a would be phased out from new vehicles and it would slowly fade away. However, in the fall of 2017 a Federal Court ruled against the EPA stating that they had overstepped their authority on the SNAP Rule 20 and 21. The new rules were thrown out and we were all put right back to where we were before the EPA’s intervention on HFC refrigerants.

So today, three years later from that court ruling, R-134a still has no specified phase down period. R-134a is NOT being phased down by the government. However, it is being phased down by auto manufacturers. This is quite different then what we saw with R-12 back in the 1990’s. R-12 was government mandated to be phased down. R-134a is not. There may come a time in the future where we see a comprehensive R-134a phase down plan from the Federal Government, but as of now there is nothing. The only other option is to see R-134a phased down at the state level. There are already a few states out there that have moved forward with HFC phase downs… but in almost every case there is little mention of R-134a in vehicle applications. These state regulations instead focus more on commercial applications of R-404A and R-134a.

Conclusion

In conclusion the answer is yes, R-134a is being phased out from automobiles. The difference here is that there is no federal law or regulation stating that auto manufacturers have to do this. There were at one point, but those regulations were thrown out by the courts.

What we are left with is the direction that auto manufacturers have taken. Each year more and more manufacturers are switching their makes and models away from R-134a and over to R-1234yf. It has been a slow creep since 2015 but as of last year we are now seeing around ninety percent of new vehicles coming off the line with R-1234yf. Last year I spent some time and put together a listing of every vehicle make I could and rather or not if they were using R-1234yf. The list can be found by clicking here. It was rather revealing to see just how many vehicles have switched over. It will not be long until all new vehicles are using this newer HFO refrigerant. Yes, there will always be outliers out there but finding a new car with R-134a will be the exception.

What does that mean for you, the consumer? Well unfortunately, it means an extremely high repair bill coming your way when your air conditioner does break. R-1234yf is ten times more expensive then R-134a. Yes, you heard me right… ten times more expensive. That two dollar can will be around twenty or thirty dollars now for YF. There isn’t much we can do here either folks as there is not a viable alternative to R-1234yf at this time.

I have seen some folks actively switch their 1234yf systems back to R-134a. There are even specially made adapters to allow this… but I’ll tell you right now: I advise against this. Not only would you be damaging the environment but it is also against Federal Law. According to MACSWorldWide.com, “Any person other than a manufacturer or dealer who violates the tampering prohibition is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $2,500 per violation.” I wrote further on this topic in a different article which can be found here.

This is just one of those cases where we have to suck it up and deal with the higher prices. Maybe we’ll see prices drop in the future or perhaps an alternative refrigerant will be approved and introduced in the marketplace in the next few years. For now though, this is just the way things are.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Over the past five years or so there has been a dramatic shift when it comes to automotive refrigerants. Since the mid 1990’s the most common refrigerant you would find in automobiles was the HFC R-134a. This was still the case up until 2015. At that time the United States market began to see the introduction of the new HFO refrigerant known as R-1234yf. Vehicle manufacturers had decided to move away from R-134a due to the extremely high Global Warming Potential (GWP) that it had. R-134a had a GWP of one-thousand four-hundred. 1234yf has a GWP of only four. That is a remarkable difference and explains why we have begun to see more and more manufacturers switch over to the more climate friendly 1234yf refrigerant.

As I am writing this article in the summer of 2020 nearly ninety percent of ALL vehicles manufactured or imported into the United States are using R-1234yf. R-134a is on the way out. What that means is that along with R-134a being on the way out so are the ever so common AC recharge kits. If you look on Amazon today you’ll see many AC recharge kits for sale… but they are mostly all for R-134a.

R-1234yf requires is a different refrigerant and requires a completely different fitting in order to charge the system. R-134a recharge kits will NOT work on these vehicles. But, there has not been a rush of recharge products added to the stores yet as the demand just isn’t quite there. A typical automotive HVAC system takes anywhere from five to ten years for the first failure to occur. Since most of these newer R-1234yf vehicles were introduced in 2015 we are just NOW seeing the increased demand for a R-1234yf charge kit.

Now that demand is picking up there have been a couple products introduced to the marketplace. Personally, my favorite is this hose kit that is found on Amazon. It is a hose that comes with a connection point to your vehicle’s AC system, a gauge to measure charge/pressure, and a connection point to the 1234yf can. The good news is that this hose kit is relatively cheap at only around twenty dollars. (Prices can change at any time.) The bad news here is that the hose kit is NOT the expensive part.

One of the problems with 1234yf is the increased price. A can of R-134a may cost a few dollars. A can of 1234yf can go for around forty-five to sixty dollars. That is a HUGE increase. Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do about that. That is just the way it is with this new refrigerant. You can purchase these cans of refrigerant at Autozone or O’Reillys. I looked on Amazon as well but couldn’t find any. The only online source that I could find was on Ebay. The recharge process itself is very similar to what you would do with R-134a. Check your pressure/charge. If you need refrigerant then hook up the can and charge away.

The only thing I want to note is before I close this article is that if your car’s AC system needs additional refrigerant that is because you have a leak somewhere in the system. You can never just be low on refrigerant without a leak. A recharge kit is a band-aid. It will not fix the problem. Eventually the new refrigerant you just put in your vehicle will leak out as well. If you have a small leak then that recharge kit may get you through the season. If it is a larger leak then you’re just throwing money out the door. Ultimately it is up to you, but I would at least consider getting a repair quote before you spend money on a recharge kit.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Elitech IR-200 Dual Sensor Leak Detector

Hello folks and welcome to RefrigerantHQ. Today we will be doing another one of our product reviews. As we all know having the right tools for the job can make all the difference in the world. The same can be said when it comes to leak detection. Sure you can do it the old school way by spraying each section of the lines and coils to look for bubbles forming, but that can take a significant amount of time… especially if you do not know where to start. The same can be said with using a ultra violet dye. It takes time to run that through the system and then to scan for it.  Having a proper leak detector can save you time. As we all know the more time saved the better. That means more jobs you can get to in one day and hopefully arriving home on time.

In this article we will be taking an in-depth look at the Elitech IR-200 Dual Sensor Leak Detector. This model from Elitech is quite unique as it comes with both an infrared and a heated diode sensor. That is a rare find. In most cases you’ll find one or the other. In the interest of full disclosure I want it to be known that Elitech sent me a free copy of this detector so that I could write a review on the product. You’ll notice that the pictures in this review were taken by myself as well. Alright, onto the review.

Elitech

Before I purchase a new tool I always like to take some time and do some actual research on the company that stands behind the tool. A lot of times you’ll find that the highest ranked tool is made by a company that no one has ever heard of. Or, that when something goes wrong with the product that there is no reputable company to stand behind it. That is why it is worth doing a bit of research on the company itself as well as the product.

Elitech is a global company that is headquartered out of San Jose, California. They also have locations in China, United Kingdom, and Brazil as well as additional staff from around the world. They have over twenty years of experience working with and creating leak detection and measuring equipment. Along with that they also work hand in hand with other HVAC OEMs and distributors to brand their product. (In other words, you may find that other branded leak detectors actually came from Elitech but are under a different brand name.)

The company itself is not as established as some of the other names in the industry like Robinair… but they are making quality products and are quickly making a name for themselves within the industry. I would feel perfectly safe purchasing products from them. Their website also states that they offer 24/7 customer support so in case something does go wrong the company is able to be contacted.Elitech IR-200 Detector Case

Product Features

As I had mentioned at the beginning of this article the IR-200 model comes with two actual sensors: A heated diode and an infrared. I really like this approach as it allows you to detect and narrow down leaks in a much quicker fashion. It is recommended to start looking for leaks using the heated diode sensor. Then once you have narrowed it down a bit more you can switch over to the infrared mode so that you can narrow down the leak even further. These two modes can be switched back and forth by hitting the ‘Mode’ button on the detector.

Before we get a bit further into the other product features lets take some time to understand the different types of sensors here. The heated diode works by heating the refrigerant and breaking the molecules apart. When the molecules are broken a positively charged Chlorine or Fluorine ion will appear. The heated diode will detect these ions and sound the alarm. The downsides to both of this type of detector, and the Corona Suppression, is that they can be overwhelmed if the refrigerant leak is too large. If the area is saturated with refrigerant then these alarms won’t be of much help and you may actually end up damaging your sensor and having to replace it. These sensors typically have a two year life before they have to be replaced.

The other sensor on this unit, the infrared, works by drawing the air sample across an optical sensor that then analyses how much infrared radiation there is in that given area. The benefits of this technology is that the sensors last much longer,  they are less prone to false alarms, they cannot be overloaded in an area saturated with refrigerant, and they are great at finding those very small leaks that other detectors just won’t sense. The Infrared detectors are the premium types of detectors on the market. These sensors are expected to last around ten years. This is why I had said earlier to start detecting with the heated diode and then narrow your search further with the more sensitive infrared sensor.Elitech IR-200 Long Display

This IR-200 can detect all manners of refrigerants ranging from CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFOs. These refrigerant classifications will cover most refrigerants you run into in today’s world. Some popular examples would be R-12, R-22, R-410A, R-404A-, R-134a, R-32, R-502, R-125, R-1234yf, and on and on. One point to mention here is that this detector will actually detect hydrocarbon refrigerants as well such as R-290 Propane or R-600a Isobutane. A lot of other detectors will NOT detect these. That being said, this product will not sniff out natural refrigerants such as ammonia or carbon dioxide.

This detector has three sensitivity settings: High, Medium, and Low. The highest sensitivity on the infrared sensor will detect four grams per year (0.14 ounces per year), the medium seven grams per year, and the low will detect fourteen grams per year. The highest sensitivity on the heated diode detector is thirteen grams per year. The detector also comes with what’s known as a ‘peak’ function. When used it will record the absolutely highest leak point during your scan. The detector can work in temperatures ranging from fourteen degrees Fahrenheit (Negative ten Celsius) to one-hundred and twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit (Fifty-two degrees Celsius). Also will work in humidity levels up to ninety percent.

When a leak is detected you will be notified through a buzzer, light, and also bar graph on the detector display. As the leak gets larger the buzzing will increase, the bar graph will grow, and the lights will flicker faster. If you are on a noisy job site there is also a headphone jack so you can plug in and listen for the buzzing closely. If you find that you are working in an area that is saturated with refrigerant and it is hard to detect the source this detector has a zeroing function as well. What that means is that you can set the current air as zero so you can then focus on the larger concentrations. Works just like zeroing out a scale.

The sniffer, or probe, is twelve inches long and is very flexible. I took it out of the box and bent it every which way. Very easy to move back and forth. You will also get a secondary probe in case the first one is broken or lost. One thing to mention here is that the probe is shorter then some of the other competing models out there. For example, a competing Fieldpiece detector has a fourteen inch probe. I honestly don’t know how much difference a few inches will make… but that is a choice left up to you. It is worth mentioning that there is a secondary sniffer that comes with this unit that can be attached to the first. This allows for a total length of twenty-four inches. Coming with the sniffer is also a mountable ultra violet and LED light. It comes with a attachment that can just pop right onto the sniffer. I really liked this as it allowed me to see what I was doing and the fact that there was a UV light would make things even easier if I wanted to really narrow down my leak by doing a UV test.

This detector comes with two 18650 lithium ion batteries. These batteries will last for eight hours on a continuous charge. You also do not have to worry about accidentally leaving the detector on. It will automatically shut itself off if there has been no activity within ten minutes. When the unit does run out of charge it will take about four hours to fully charge it. The batteries that come with the product are replaceable as well. Most other detectors do not have this option.

The unit itself comes in a hard durable plastic case. I took a picture of this case and it can be found earlier in the article. I was really impressed with this case, moreso then other detectors I’ve handled. When you open it up the tool and other accessories are protected by foam insulation. It is a very light case as well. I picked it up by the handle just by using my thumb and it was manageable. I know having something else heavy to lug around site to site is NOT what we want. Lastly the shipping on this product was very professional. Took only a few days and it came in perfect condition. No complaints here.

Pros

Now a lot of the ‘Pros’ that I wanted to cover in this section were already covered in our Product Features section. There are still some that I can put in here… I just do not want you to be concerned that there aren’t a ton of Pros. The first and biggest Pro in my opinion is the overall price point of this product. In most cases an infrared detector can be over two-hundred dollars. A heated diode detector can be in the mid one-hundreds. You are getting both types of detectors here for right around that two-hundred dollar price range. (Prices subject to change at any time.) That is a heck of a bargain when you look at the competing models out there.

The other real big pro here is that this product works with hydrocarbon refrigerants. I mentioned this earlier in the features section but let me emphasize it again. Hydrocarbons are the new tomorrow when it comes to refrigerants. You’ll find propane/isobutane vending machines, ice machines, and even some refrigerators and freezers nowadays. There are more applications expected to begin using hydrocarbons as well. So having this on your leak detector is an added benefit.

The last point here is the 24/7 technical support via e-mail or phone from Elitech. Their customer service phone number is 1-408-844-4070. They can also be reached via e-mail at: support@elitechus.com . Lastly, if neither of those options work you can also reach out directly on their website by filling out a contact us form which can be found by clicking here. If you go through all of this support and you are still not satisfied with the detector they also offer a thirty day no questions asked return. They are confident enough to stand behind their product and back it up with this money back guarantee. They offer a full one year warranty. You’ll also notice that when you buy the product you’ll get a flyer with instructions on how to get an extra year warranty on the product. This was right in the case when I received mine.

Cons

There weren’t any major cons on this product that I could find. The first one that I’ll list though is what we discussed earlier in the Pros section. There are desktop leak detectors out there that are MORE sensitive then this one… but they are quite a bit more expensive so take that with a grain of salt. For example, the desktop Bacharach H-10 Pro is a premium leak detector that can detect as low as 0.006 ounces per year. That is a huge difference in sensitivity setting… but the H-10 Pro is also hundreds of dollars more expensive then the Elitech. So, ultimately you have to make the choice if you want to spend the money on the best of the best H-10 Pro or get a good Elitech model.

The other smaller cons are that this has a probe length of only twelve inches. Again, we covered this earlier. The good news is that there is an auxiliary probe that comes with this detector that will give you an additional twelve more inches if you need it. Also, on the heated diode side some users reported that the sensor was triggering falsely if it was moved suddenly or abruptly. Remember detecting should be done in a slow deliberate manner that canvases the entire area. The last con I would mention is that the heated diode sensor will need to be replaced after a couple of years. I’ve always been a fan of the infrared as it is a set it and forget it type sensor.

Elitech IR-200 Leak Detector Display

What’s In The Box?

This is always an important question when purchasing a new tool. What exactly comes in the box that you are ordering? Is it just the bare bones product or do you get the extra necessities that you will need down the road? Let’s take a look at what comes with the Elitech IR-200:

  • The leak detector itself
  • UV LED light attachment
  • User’s Manual
  • Plastic case
  • Adapater
  • Charging cable
  • Five replacement filters
  • One replacement probe

Conclusion

Alright folks well that about covers everything there is to know about this product from Elitech. We’ve gone over the features, pros, and cons. I would say that after reviewing this product and after handling it in person that this product ranks on the ‘Better’ scale. For those of you unaware, I like to rank products on the ‘Good’ ‘Better’ ‘Best’ approach. The good products are just that… they’re good and will get the job done. They may not have the best features or benefits, but they get you through. The better products are in the middle between the good and the premium best models. They have some extra features but are still able to get the price point down. That is where this leak detector comes in. It doesn’t have every bell and whistle like some of the more expensive detectors out there, but it is an overall great product that will not impact your wallet near as much as a Robinair or a Bacharach.

If you are interested in purchasing this unit then please visit this link to be taken to the official Elitech product page website. Here you can review more information on the product as well as purchase the product straight from Elitech. The typical lead time once placing an order is between three to five business days for the product to arrive at your door. When I was sent IR-200 I had it at my door in only a couple of days. If you are in an hurry you can also call their customer service and request for first or second day air shipping.

Important Links:

RefrigerantHQ's Pressure Charts

One of the very first steps when it comes to diagnosing a home air conditioner, refrigerator, a vehicle’s air conditioner, or a commercial cooler is understanding the temperature and the current pressure that the system is operating at. Having these facts along with the saturation point, the subcool, and the superheat  numbers for the refrigerant you are working on are essential when it comes to really understanding what is going wrong with your system.

After a visual inspection the very next step for the most seasoned technicians is pulling out their gauges and checking the pressure and temperature. It just becomes second nature after enough calls. I have heard stories of rookie techs calling some of the pros on their team for help on a system that they are stuck on. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Miami or in Fargo. It will never fail that one of the first questions the pros ask the rookie is what is your subcool and what is your superheat? Having  and understanding these numbers is key to figuring out what to do next.

But, these numbers won’t do you any good if you don’t know what refrigerant you are dealing with and what the refrigerant’s boiling point is at each pressure level. This article aims at providing you with just that information.

R-513A XP10 Basic Info & PT Chart

R-513A is one of the newer refrigerants that falls under the Hydrofluoroolefins (HFO) refrigerant classifications. It also known under the Chemours Opteon brand name of XP10. It is an azeotropic blend consisting of R-1234yf (56%) and R-134a (44%). It also has zero temperature glide.

This refrigerant was designed as a replacement for R-134a in medium and high temperature applications. It closely matches the overall capacity and energy efficiency when compared to R-134a. It can be used in both newer applications or as a retrofit for older systems. The good news is that when performing retrofits you’ll find that R-513A is also compatible with most existing equipment design and oils of previous 134a systems. (R-513A uses POE oil) It is worth noting here that this refrigerant must be charged from the liquid phase to ensure that you get accurate composition during the charge.

As I had mentioned in the previous paragraph this was designed to be used in medium and high temperature applications. In most cases you’ll find that these applications are chillers and commercial refrigeration equipment including medium temperature commercial/industrial direct expansion refrigeration as well as hybrid cascade systems. It can also be found in water chillers, air conditioners, and heat pumps. Lastly, it can be used in centrifugal chillers, direct expansion chillers, and ice rink systems.

One of the defining factors as to why we should switch to this new HFO refrigerant is the savings in Global Warming Potential. Between the two refrigerants there is a fifty-six percent difference. R-134a has a GWP of one-thousand four-hundred and thirty while R-513A has a GWP of six-hundred and thirty-one. That is a big difference and will help your company become more environmentally friendly.

While there is a huge savings in GWP from switching over to this new refrigerant it is still worth mentioning that a GWP of six-hundred is still very high. What that means is that this R-513A refrigerant may not be around that long before it too gets phased down across the country due to a high GWP number. So, if you are in a pinch then you may consider this refrigerant but if it was me I would seriously look at natural refrigerants. Natural refrigerants will be around forever and they will not be phased down. Ultimately, the choice is up to you.

The last point to make on this R-513A refrigerant is rated as an A1 from ASHRAE. What that means is that the refrigerant is non-toxic and non-flammable. This is the exact same rating that R-134a has as well.

Alright folks, I’ve talked enough about this refrigerant. Lets get onto the pressure chart. In the table below you should find what you are looking for but if you do find that something is incorrect or if I am missing something please reach out to me and I will get it corrected as soon as possible. I strive to have this site as accurate as I can.

Temp (F)Temp (C)Liquid Pressure (PSIG)Vapor Pressure (PSIG)
-94-70-13.13-13.17
-90.4-68-12.91-12.95
-86.8-66-12.65-12.7
-83.2-64-12.37-12.42
-79.6-62-12.06-12.11
-76-60-11.71-11.77
-72.4-58-11.33-11.38
-68.8-56-10.91-10.96
-65.2-54-10.44-10.5
-61.6-52-9.93-9.99
-58-50-9.37-9.43
-54.4-48-8.76-8.82
-50.8-46-8.09-8.15
-47.2-44-7.36-7.43
-43.6-42-6.57-6.64
-40-40-5.71-5.78
-36.4-38-4.78-4.85
-32.8-36-3.78-3.85
-29.2-34-2.7-2.77
-25.6-32-1.53-1.6
-22-30-0.28-0.35
-18.4-281.071
-14.8-262.512.45
-11.2-244.063.99
-7.6-225.715.65
-4-207.487.42
-0.4-189.369.3
3.2-1611.3611.31
6.8-1413.4913.44
10.4-1215.7615.71
14-1018.1618.11
17.6-820.7120.66
21.2-623.423.36
24.8-426.2526.21
28.4-229.2629.22
32032.4432.41
35.6235.7935.76
39.2439.3239.29
42.8643.0343.01
46.4846.9446.92
501051.0451.02
53.61255.3555.33
57.21459.8759.85
60.81664.664.59
64.41869.5669.55
682074.7474.74
71.62280.1780.16
75.22485.8485.83
78.82691.7591.75
82.42897.9397.93
8630104.37104.37
89.632111.09111.09
93.234118.08118.08
96.836125.36125.36
100.438132.94132.93
10440140.82140.81
107.642149149
111.244157.51157.5
114.846166.36166.34
118.448175.52175.51
12250185.05185.02
125.652194.91194.88
129.254205.15205.1
132.856215.75215.7
136.458226.74226.68
14060238.1238.05
143.662249.89249.82
147.264262.07262
150.866274.69274.6
154.468287.74287.65
15870301.24301.14

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

RefrigerantHQ's Pressure Charts

One of the very first steps when it comes to diagnosing a home air conditioner, refrigerator, a vehicle’s air conditioner, or a commercial cooler is understanding the temperature and the current pressure that the system is operating at. Having these facts along with the saturation point, the subcool, and the superheat  numbers for the refrigerant you are working on are essential when it comes to really understanding what is going wrong with your system.

After a visual inspection the very next step for the most seasoned technicians is pulling out their gauges and checking the pressure and temperature. It just becomes second nature after enough calls. I have heard stories of rookie techs calling some of the pros on their team for help on a system that they are stuck on. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Miami or in Fargo. It will never fail that one of the first questions the pros ask the rookie is what is your subcool and what is your superheat? Having  and understanding these numbers is key to figuring out what to do next.

But, these numbers won’t do you any good if you don’t know what refrigerant you are dealing with and what the refrigerant’s boiling point is at each pressure level. This article aims at providing you with just that information.

R-452A XP44 Basic Info & PT Chart

R-452A is a newer refrigerant that falls into the Hydrofluoroolefins classification family (HFOs). It can also be found under the Opteon XP44 brand name from Chemours. It is a zeotropic blend of R-1234yf (30%), R-32 (11%), and R-125 (59%). This refrigerant was designed to be an alternative to the extremely high Global Warming Potential refrigerants R-404A and R-507. R-452A closely matches the performance and energy efficiency of R-404A. You’ll also find that the compressor discharge temperature nearly matches when compared to R-404A/R-507 systems in both low and medium temperature applications.

While this newer refrigerant can be used in various commercial/industrial refrigeration, condensing units, and stand alone plug-ins you are most likely to find this refrigerant being used in transport refrigeration. These are your refrigerated trucks, vans, or reefer containers. This niche application is forgotten by a lot of folks but the sheer amount of refrigerated trucks that are out there is staggering. Think about it for a moment. All of the meat, dairy, and any other cold groceries are delivered by these refrigerated trucks. All of the meat being transported from processing plant to distributor use a refrigerated truck. Heck, even the ice cream truck that rolls down your neighborhood falls under this application.

452A XP44 is ideal for newer applications but can also be used for retrofits of existing systems. It uses POE oil so in most cases you’ll find that you do not even need to swap the oil as R-404A uses POE as well. The refrigerant is also rated with an A1 safety rating from ASHRAE. What that means is that it is non-flammable and non-toxic just like R-404A is rated.

I had mentioned earlier that the idea behind this refrigerant was to provide an alternative to the extremely high GWP that is R-404A. You see R-404A has a GWP number of nearly four-thousand! That is a huge number. The good news here is that with R-452A it reduces the GWP by forty-five percent when compared to R-404A. While that is a significant number that still leaves us with a high GWP of R-452A itself.

Yes, R-452A comes in with a GWP of two-thousand one-hundred and forty-one. If you compare that to other refrigerants it is still a VERY high number. Because of this fact I have to say that I do not see this newer HFO refrigerant from Chemours lasting very long. There will come a time in the near future that this refrigerant will be phased out shortly. If you are looking into switching over your 404A system it may make more sense to either wait until a lower GWP alternative comes out or to take a serious look at natural refrigerants out there like R-744 CO2.

Alright folks, with all that being said I’ve talked enough. Let’s get onto the actual pressure chart. When I create these tables I strive to create them as accurate as possible so if you see something that is not right please reach out to me and I will get it corrected as soon as possible.

Temp (F)Temp (C)Liquid Pressure (PSIG)Vapor Pressure (PSIG)
-94-70-10.84-11.61
-90.4-68-10.33-11.19
-86.8-66-9.76-10.72
-83.2-64-9.14-10.21
-79.6-62-8.45-9.64
-76-60-7.7-9.01
-72.4-58-6.87-8.32
-68.8-56-5.97-7.56
-65.2-54-4.99-6.74
-61.6-52-3.93-5.83
-58-50-2.77-4.85
-54.4-48-1.52-3.78
-50.8-46-0.02-2.63
-47.2-441.3-1.37
-43.6-422.88-0.02
-40-404.571.45
-36.4-386.393.02
-32.8-368.354.71
-29.2-3410.446.53
-25.6-3212.678.48
-22-3015.0610.56
-18.4-2817.612.79
-14.8-2620.315.17
-11.2-2423.1817.71
-7.6-2226.2320.41
-4-2029.4723.28
-0.4-1832.926.33
3.2-1636.5329.57
6.8-1440.3733
10.4-1244.4236.62
14-1048.6940.46
17.6-853.1944.51
21.2-657.9348.79
24.8-462.9153.3
28.4-268.1458.04
32073.6363.04
35.6279.3968.29
39.2485.4273.82
42.8691.7479.61
46.4898.3585.68
5010105.2692.05
53.612112.4898.72
57.214120.02105.7
60.816127.88113.01
64.418136.08120.64
6820144.61128.61
71.622153.51136.94
75.224162.76145.62
78.826172.38154.69
82.428182.38164.14
8630192.76173.97
89.632203.55184.22
93.234214.75194.89
96.836226.36205.99
100.438238.38217.53
10440250.85229.54
107.642263.77242.02
111.244277.14254.98
114.846290.99268.45
118.448305.3282.45
12250320.1296.97
125.652335.41312.05
129.254351.22327.73
132.856367.56344
136.458384.42360.89
14060401.84378.44
143.662419.82396.69
147.264438.35415.67
150.866457.46435.44
154.468477.15456.07
15870497.41477.64

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

RefrigerantHQ's Pressure Charts

One of the very first steps when it comes to diagnosing a home air conditioner, refrigerator, a vehicle’s air conditioner, or a commercial cooler is understanding the temperature and the current pressure that the system is operating at. Having these facts along with the saturation point, the subcool, and the superheat  numbers for the refrigerant you are working on are essential when it comes to really understanding what is going wrong with your system.

After a visual inspection the very next step for the most seasoned technicians is pulling out their gauges and checking the pressure and temperature. It just becomes second nature after enough calls. I have heard stories of rookie techs calling some of the pros on their team for help on a system that they are stuck on. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Miami or in Fargo. It will never fail that one of the first questions the pros ask the rookie is what is your subcool and what is your superheat? Having  and understanding these numbers is key to figuring out what to do next.

But, these numbers won’t do you any good if you don’t know what refrigerant you are dealing with and what the refrigerant’s boiling point is at each pressure level. This article aims at providing you with just that information.

R-455A Solstice L40X Basic Info & PT Chart

R-455A is another newer refrigerant from the Honeywell Corporation under their Solstice brand. The actual brand name of this refrigerant is Solstice L40X. Like a lot of the other newer refrigerants this is classified as an Hydrofluoroolefins refrigerant (HFO). It is a zeotropic blend of R-1234yf (75.50%), R-32 (21.50%), and R-744 (3.00%). This refrigerant was designed as an alternative for low, medium, and high temperature applications. In most cases it was meant to be used in newer systems but there are cases where it can be used to retrofit older systems. Just note that you will have to take all of the proper steps for a full retrofit and you will most likely need to change the oil as well (R-455A uses POE oil).

L40X aims to replace some of the more popular refrigerants such as R-404A, R-22, and R-407C. It has a very close capacity level to that of R-404A and nearly matches the efficiency of 404A as well. R-455A can be used to replace R-290 Propane systems, but I’m not really sure why you would want to replace these applications. Just like the refrigerants I mentioned, R-455A works well in plug-in cabinet applications, cold/freezer rooms, chillers, heat pumps, and other types of commercial and industrial refrigeration.

The great selling point with this newer refrigerant is the GWP number. To understand the difference let’s first look at R-404A’s GWP number of nearly four-thousand. Now, we can really understand why R-455A’s GWP number of one-hundred and forty-six is so significant. That is an amazing difference between the two refrigerants. Since this refrigerant is under the one-hundred and fifty GWP number it also makes 455A F-Gas compliant with the European Union. That means that this refrigerant can be used through the EU without the risk of possible phase down. In fact Emerson Technologies, out of Missouri, has already announced that they will be using R-455A in some of their newer compressor builds.

There is a downside to this refrigerant though folks. Like most HFO refrigerants this one is rated as an A2L from ASHRAE. The A stands for non-toxic but the ‘2L’ stands for mildly flammable. All of the other refrigerants that this Solstice brand aims to replace are NOT flammable. They are all rated as an A1 from ASHRAE. What this means is that if you use this refrigerant then you are moving to increased risk. Your previous system had no flammability risk and this newest one with R-455A does. As the rating states, the risk is ‘mild.’

Something else to note is that the ‘2L’ rating from ASHRAE is newer. If you rewind about ten years ago there was no ‘2L’ rating. Refrigerants were either flammable, or they weren’t. Since the introduction of the HFO refrigerant line from Chemours and Honeywell we began to see the introduction of the ‘2L’ or mildly flammable refrigerant rating. This new rating is meant to distinguish itself from the other flammability ratings of 1, 2, and 3.

If you can get over the medium flammability risk that comes with this refrigerant then R-455A L40X is a great long term refrigerant. So many of these newer HFO refrigerants still have a higher Global Warming Potential number which will ultimately result in them being phased out in five or ten years. But, since R-455A’s GWP is under that one-hundred and fifty mark I can see it lasting for a long time. There shouldn’t be any pressure to phase this refrigerant out in the near future.  If I was purchasing a new system I would either consider this Solstice refrigerant, a hydrocarbon, or a natural refrigerant. Each one has its downsides/upsides, so the decision ultimately lies on you.

Alright folks, I’ve written enough though on this refrigerant. I know the reason you came here was for the pressure table and you can view it below. As you are viewing this table please let me know if you see anything that is incorrect or if I have missed anything. I aim to have this website as accurate as possible.

PSIGkPALiquid Temp (F)Liquid Temp (C)Vapor Temp (F)Vapor Temp (C)
14.5100-62.14-52.3-39.01-39.45
21.75150-45.96-43.31-23.04-30.58
29.01200-33.57-36.43-10.84-23.8
36.26250-23.37-30.76-0.83-18.24
43.51300-14.62-25.97.74-13.48
50.76350-6.93-21.6315.26-9.3
58.01400-0.02-17.7921.99-5.56
65.264506.26-14.328.11-2.16
72.5250012.04-11.0933.730.96
79.7755017.4-8.1138.933.85
87.0260022.41-5.3343.776.54
94.2765027.12-2.7148.339.07
101.5270031.57-0.2452.6111.45
108.7775035.82.1156.6813.71
116.0380039.814.3460.5515.86
123.2885043.666.4864.2217.9
130.5390047.348.5267.7519.86
137.7895050.8610.4871.1121.73
145.03100054.2712.3774.3523.53
152.28105057.5414.1977.4925.27
159.54110060.7115.9580.4926.94
166.79115063.7717.6583.3928.55
174.04120066.7419.386.230.11
181.29125069.6220.988.9231.62
188.54130072.4322.4691.5633.09
195.79135075.1523.9794.1234.51
203.05140077.7925.4496.6235.9
210.3145080.3826.8899.0337.24
217.55150082.8928.27101.3938.55
224.8155085.3529.64103.6939.83
232.05160087.7630.98105.9341.07
239.3165090.132.28108.1242.29
246.56170092.4133.56110.2643.48
253.81175094.6634.81112.3344.63
261.06180096.8736.04114.3945.77
268.31185099.0337.24116.3846.88
275.561900101.1638.42118.3347.96
282.811950103.2339.57120.2549.03
290.072000105.2840.71122.1350.07
297.322050107.2941.83123.9651.09
304.572100109.2642.92125.7652.09
311.822150111.244127.5453.08
319.072200113.1145.06129.2754.04
326.32225011546.11130.9854.99
333.582300116.8547.14132.6655.92
340.832350118.6748.15134.2956.83
348.082400120.4749.15135.9157.73
355.332450122.2350.13137.558.61
362.582500123.9851.1139.0659.48

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Hello folks and welcome to RefrigerantHQ. Today we will be doing another one of our product review articles. As many of you know having the proper tools with you at a job can make a huge difference. In my younger years I used to buy products that were at the cheaper end of the spectrum. This meant that I got to save some money right off the bat… but when I started to actually use the product in everyday situations I realized that what I had actually purchased was NOT getting the job done. Or, if it was… things would be much easier if I had purchased a higher quality product. The same logic can be used when selecting tools for HVAC work.

One of the key tools for any HVAC technician is the refrigerant leak detector. So many service calls revolve around a system that has a leak somewhere on the lines. This leak is most likely the cause of all of the problems and if found, identified, and corrected quickly then you not only save yourself time but also end the visit with a happy customer. Over the years I have written many reviews on various lead detectors. In today’s article we will be taking an in-depth look at Elitech’s ILD-200 Infrared Refrigerant Leak Detector.

Before we continue there are two points that I want to make sure that you are aware of. The first is that when I do a review on a tool like this I go as in-depth as I possibly can. What that means is that you will see a lot of words here on the product. If you are not a fan of reading long articles then you may want to skip around the heading sections until you find what you’re looking for. I believe in being thorough, but to some it may be a bit too much. The second point is that I want it to be known that Elitech sent me a free ILD-200 for me to review. The review itself is still an honest interpretation of what I have found, but I just want you to keep that in mind that I was sent a free product.

Elitech

Before I purchase a new tool I always like to take some time and do some actual research on the company that stands behind the tool. A lot of times you’ll find that the highest ranked tool is made by a company that no one has ever heard of. Or, that when something goes wrong with the product that there is no reputable company to stand behind it. That is why it is worth doing a bit of research on the company itself as well as the product.

Elitech is a global company that is headquartered out of San Jose, California. They also have locations in China, United Kingdom, and Brazil as well as additional staff from around the world. They have over twenty years of experience working with and creating leak detection and measuring equipment. Along with that they also work hand in hand with other HVAC OEMs and distributors to brand their product. (In other words, you may find that other branded leak detectors actually came from Elitech but are under a different brand name.)

The company itself is not as established as some of the other names in the industry like Robinair… but they are making quality products and are quickly making a name for themselves within the industry. I would feel perfectly safe purchasing products from them. Their website also states that they offer 24/7 customer support so in case something does go wrong the company is able to be contacted.

Product Features

The first point I want to make on this product is that it uses Infrared leak detection. Infrared detectors work by drawing the air sample across an optical sensor that then analyses how much infrared radiation there is in that given area. This air is drawn by an internal pump within the machine. The benefits of this technology is that the sensors last much longer,  they are less prone to false alarms, they cannot be overloaded in an area saturated with refrigerant, and they are great at finding those very small leaks that other detectors just won’t sense. The Infrared detectors are the premium types of detectors on the market. The  ILD-200 model from Elitech will have its sensor last for over ten years. That is a big deal and hard to find when comparing to other leak detectors on the marketplace.

One of the most common questions when it comes to refrigerant leak detectors is what kinds of refrigerant will the product detect? In the case of the ILD-200 it will sniff out most major refrigerants that fall into the following classifications: CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and even HFOs. Basically, any halogenated refrigerant will be detected. If the refrigerant contains chlorine, fluorine, or bromine then it will be found. Some of the most common refrigerants that this includes are R-22, R-410A, R-404A, R-134a, R-1234yf, etc.

The sniffer itself meets EN14624,SAE-162,SAE-2791 and SAE-2913 standards. It has a maximum sensitivity of 0.14 ounces per year. It comes with three different settings: low, medium, and high. The highest sensitivity will detect four grams per year, the medium seven grams per year, and the low will detect fourteen grams per year. The detector also comes with what’s known as a ‘peak’ function. When used it will record the absolutely highest leak point during your scan.

The probe itself is fourteen inches long and is easily flexible to allow you to get into hard to reach areas. There is also an LED light that comes with the detector that can be clipped onto the probe that will allow you to see in those hard to reach areas to ensure that you can find the true point of leak.

The ILD-200 will work in temperatures ranging from 14 degrees to 125.6 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees to 52 degrees Celsius). It will also work in areas with humidity ranging from fifty percent to eighty-five percent. Upon turning the machine on you will need around thirty seconds for it to warm up before you can begin use. When a leak is found you will be alerted either by a sound or light alarm (Your choice). There is even a headphone connection in case you are at a noisy job site and cannot hear ht beeping.

This detector also comes with an all digital display that will showcase everything you need to know in one place. You’ll see the leakage levels, the sensitivity setting, change sensor indicators, and even the remaining battery charge. Speaking of batteries, this unit comes with a lithium ion battery with a full six hour battery life cycle (3.7 volts 3000mAH). If your battery does run out it will take approximately four hours to fully charge. The good news here is that if you do accidentally leave the machine on while working it will automatically shut off after ten minutes of no activity. This will help you preserve the battery so that it can last you all day without having to be recharged.

The ILD-200 comes with a heavy duty exterior case that will last for many years. The case will prevent damage from falls/drops or from being tossed around in the back of a work van. The entire product, case in all, only weights a few pounds. I picked the case up while writing this review with just my thumb and there was virtually no strain. You will not be lugging around some huge heavy detector with you. This thing is light. I checked the official description and it only weighs 2.8 pounds. Lastly, the detector/case can be stored in temperatures as low as negative four degrees to as high as one-hundred and forty degrees Fahrenheit. I know in some cases work vans get over one-hundred degrees in summer months.

Pros

Ok folks so now that we have gotten the product features out of the way let us take a look at some of the benefits this product has to offer. The first is the maximum sensitivity setting. As I mentioned earlier, it has a maximum of 0.14 ounces per year detection rate. That is VERY low. To illustrate this let’s compare this unit to the Fieldpiece SRL8. The SRL8 has a maximum setting of 0.10. So, it is pretty much right on par with the Elitech although the Elitech is cheaper by almost one-hundred dollars. I know I’d rather save the money and get the detector that has a nominal difference in sensitivity setting.

The other big pro on this product is the overall price point. If you compare the features on this to other detectors with the same features you will find that the Elitech model is significantly cheaper then its competitors. I’m always for saving money especially if you’re going to get the same features. Its a no brainier.

The last point here is the 24/7 technical support via e-mail or phone from Elitech. Their customer service phone number is 1-408-844-4070. They can also be reached via e-mail at: support@elitechus.com . Lastly, if neither of those options work you can also reach out directly on their website by filling out a contact us form which can be found by clicking here. If you go through all of this support and you are still not satisfied with the detector they also offer a thirty day no questions asked return. They are confident enough to stand behind their product and back it up with this money back guarantee.

Cons

There weren’t any major cons on this product that I could find. The first one that I’ll list though is what we discussed earlier in the Pros section. There are leak detectors out there that are MORE sensitive then this one… but they are quite a bit more expensive so take that with a grain of salt. For example, the Bacharach H-10 Pro is a premium leak detector that can detect as low as 0.006 ounces per year. That is a huge difference in sensitivity setting… but the H-10 Pro is also hundreds of dollars more expensive then the Elitech. So, ultimately you have to make the choice if you want to spend the money on the best of the best H-10 Pro or get a good Elitech model.

The only major con I would mention here is that this tool will not detect hydrocarbon refrigerants such as R-600a Isobutane or R-290 Propane. It will also not detect other natural refrigerants such as Ammonia or Carbon Dioxide. It is worth mentioning that these natural refrigerants are becoming more popular in recent years due to the slow phase down of HFC refrigerants. So, you may come across these more often especially if you work with vending machines or individual cooling units found at gas stations or supermarkets.

The other two points worth mentioning are that there were some false leak detection reports due to moisture in the air. I didn’t experience this myself but when I was doing my research on the product I found a few users commenting on this. Just be mindful of this and ensure you are working in a dry area before you start detecting.

The last point is that there were reports of the LCD digital screen getting scratched rather easily. Again, I haven’t used the product long enough for this to occur but I can definitely see it happening. I would recommend keeping the screen protector on it or if you have already removed it then clear tape will work as well. Just put something on there to help protect the screen from damage.

What’s In The Box?

This is always an important question when purchasing a new tool. What exactly comes in the box that you are ordering? Is it just the bare bones product or do you get the extra necessities that you will need down the road? Let’s take a look at what comes with the Elitech ILD-200:

  • The leak detector itself
  • User manual
  • Packet of filters
  • USB cable
  • Adapter
  • LED Light

Conclusion

Well folks that about sums it up on the Elitech ILD-200 leak detector. I tried to be as comprehensive as I could with this review but if you see something that I missed please reach out to me and I will get it added. If you ask me then I would say that this product is a definite buy if you are looking for a good/better leak detector to be used during your day to day routines. Yes, there are other cheaper models out there and there are also more expensive models with additional features… but this Elitech ILD-200 gives you a good mix of both worlds by saving your wallet and giving you some of those much needed features as well.

If you are interested in purchasing this unit then please visit this link to be taken to the official Elitech product page website. Here you can review more information on the product as well as purchase the product straight from Elitech. The typical lead time once placing an order is between three to five business days for the product to arrive at your door. When I was sent ILD-200 I had it at my door in only a couple of days. If you are in an hurry you can also call their customer service and request for first or second day air shipping.

Important Links:

Elitech ILD-200 Infrared Leak Detector

Last week the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) published a report that took a look United States supermarket chains. The EIA is an international agency that lobbies against environmental abuse from companies, governments, and groups. They were founded in 1984 in the United Kingdom by three environmental activists. Today they have offices within the UK and the United States. They are known for creating hard hitting reports based off of extensive research. They then use these reports to push for change either through a company level or through governmental legislation.

The most recent report that they published took an in-depth look at sixteen of the largest United States supermarket corporations based on retail sales of 2019. Specifically, the report looked at each company’s actions to reduce usage and emissions of HFC refrigerants. The data gathered for this report was collected by questionnaires sent to all of the companies involved. If no response was given then EIA answered the questions the best they could using public data.  They scored each major company on three main categories:

  1. Adopting of New Technology – This can range from retrofitting existing equipment, purchasing new systems that use climate friendly/low GWP refrigerants, as well as adopting more energy efficient refrigerants. Recommended approaches are cascade systems, transcritical systems, HFO refrigerants, or just your standard natural refrigerant/hydrocarbon approach.
  2. Refrigerant Management – This section focuses on two main areas. The first is early leak detection as well as correcting any leaks before they get out of control. The other point is the reclamation of existing refrigerant when a system is being retired. I had read an article the other day where a supermarket was being demoed but no one actually reclaimed any of the refrigerant before demolition occurred.
  3. Policy and Future Commitments – This point just focuses on company promises and commitments made to the public or to their share holders. An example would be when Coca-Cola committed to use non-HFC refrigerants for all of their new vending machines. (Source) A lot of times these public statements do not come to fruition.

The Results

Using the points we mentioned above the EIA gave each company a grade card score ranging from zero to one-hundred percent. Obviously, the one-hundred percent would be the highest possible score where as zero would be no effort made.

The results that were found were not surprising to me at all. There was only one grocery store chain that scored a passing grade from the EIA. That was Aldi with a seventy percent scorecard. And… if you ask me Aldi only did well because it is a European owned company and the trend has already occurred in Europe. Every other store failed. Yes, every single one. The second place winner with a score of only forty-six percent was Whole Foods. After that the percentages drop even lower for third place at thirty-four percent for Target.

To keep this article from getting too long I will not report what every single store received. Instead let’s look at some of the most recognizable names that we all shop at today:

  • Wal-Mart received a fifteen percent grade. Of that fifteen they received a forty-three percent in policy and commitments… but all of these promises seemed to be just that. They only received a ten percent on overall technology adoption.
  • Meijer received seventeen percent. Their technology adoption was only ranked at five percent and their future commitments only at fourteen percent. They do have one green light though and that is there refrigerant management which is ranked at nearly eighty percent. They may still be using HFC refrigerants but they are preventing leaks.
  • Kroger was ranked just below Meijer coming in at sixteen percent. They were similar to Wal-Mart where they made a lot of promises and commitments but have shown little action with only a twelve percent rating on technology adoption.
  • Costco, one of my favorite stores, came in with a four percent rating. Their leak detection/refrigerant management was ranked at zero and their technology adoption was rated at only five percent. Very little action take on HFCs from Costco. I was surprised by this as they are based out of Washington and Washington has been one of the leading states to push for HFC phase downs.
  • Trader Joes is the last one that I will mention and that’s because it is just funny. I was going to stop at Costco but when I saw the results for Trader Joes I couldn’t resist. Trader Joes came in at zero percent on the EIA scale. There have been no announcements or indicators that Trader Joes will be moving away from HFC refrigerants. They were fined back in 2016 by the EPA for R-22 leaks, but again there has been no future progress.

Conclusion

I have always considered myself somewhat neutral when it comes to phasing down HFC refrigerants. At times there seems to be a fanatical push to phase down all of these refrigerants as fast as we can regardless of the consequences to the wallet or to safety.

I mention safety as there has been a resurgence of hydrocarbon refrigerants as we begin to move away from HFCs. Flammability is a risk. One of the new recommended products to replace HFCs with is a cascade R-744 Carbon Dioxide and R-290 Propane system. Regardless of the precautions and safety steps taken there is a risk when using large quantities of propane. (In an example at Whole Foods there are seventy-five pounds of charged R-290 mounted on the roof of the building.) HFCs did NOT have this risk associated to them.

The other point is cost. So many of these businesses invested a ton of money into moving away from their older HCFC R-22 systems. That was the big push not too long ago, right? R-22’s phase out began in 2010 and ended in 2020. If I was a business owner in 2008/2009 and I saw the governmental pressure coming on R-22 I would have moved over to an R-404A system so I would be in compliance. But now, ten years later, I am being told that I now have to invest even more money to purchase a new system or retrofit all of my equipment… again.

Why? If there is no governmental mandate forcing my hand then I am going to hold on my to existing machines… because they work. I am not going to incur a significant expense until I absolutely have to. This is how a business is ran and it is how I would run mine. This report may attempt to shame these businesses in compliance but in truth it is just a paper tiger and it will have no impact. If the lobbyists behind this report seriously want change then there are two ways forward. The first is more states adopting HFC phase down policies. The second is a federal phase down program on HFCs. If these do not happen then there will not be change.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

 

RefrigerantHQ's Pressure Charts

One of the very first steps when it comes to diagnosing your home air conditioner, refrigerator, or even your vehicle’s air conditioner is understanding the temperature and the current pressure that your system is operating at. Having these facts along with the saturation point, the subcool, and the superheat  numbers for the refrigerant you are working on are essential when it comes to really understanding what is going wrong with your system.

After a visual inspection the very next step for the most seasoned technicians is pulling out their gauges and checking the pressure and temperature. It just becomes second nature after enough calls. I have heard stories of rookie techs calling some of the pros on their team for help on a system that they’re stuck on. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Miami or in Fargo. It will never fail that one of the first questions the pros ask the rookie is what is your subcool and what is your superheat? Having  and understanding these numbers is key to figuring out what to do next.

But, these numbers won’t do you any good if you don’t know what refrigerant you are dealing with and what the refrigerant’s boiling point is at each pressure level. This article aims at providing you with just that information.

R-448A Solstice N40 Basic Info & PT Chart

It seems that as the years go by we face more and more pressure to begin phasing down HFC refrigerants. As I write this article most HFCs have already been phased down across the European Union and we are not too far behind here in the United States. When a class of refrigerants are phased out there obviously needs to be another to step up and take their place. The debate is still raging on rather that should be natural refrigerants or if we should go with the newer class of refrigerants known as Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs).

The newer refrigerant R-448A, also known as Solstice N40, is an HFO refrigerant. It was introduced by the Honeywell corporation under their new Solstice brand line. While 448A can technically be classified as an HFO refrigerant it actually has more HFC refrigerants in it. This refrigerant is a zeotropic blend of R-32 (26%), R-125 (26%), R-134a (21%), R-1234ze (7%), and R-1234yf (20%). This N40 refrigerant was designed to replace the ever popular HCFC R-22 and the HFC R-404A.

It can be used for new installations and in retrofits. I won’t get into retrofitting here, but there are many guides from OEMs and Honeywell that take you through step by step. One word of warning though is if you are trying to retrofit an R-22 unit over to this refrigerant you should know that R-448A requires POE oil while R-22 requires mineral oil. They are not interchangeable. R-404A does use POE oil so there won’t be a problem there.

This refrigerant is designed for use in low and medium temperature applications such as supermarket refrigeration, refrigerated cold stores, refrigerated transport vending machines, and industrial refrigeration. This N40 refrigerant from Honeywell has an A1 safety rating from ASHRAE. What that means is that the refrigerant is non-toxic and is not flammable. That is a big deal as so many refrigerants nowadays are rated either flammable or slightly flammable.

As I had mentioned earlier, the main point of switching to these new HFO refrigerants is to protect the climate. In the case of R-448A you will see a sixty-eight percent reduction in Global Warming Potential (GWP). That is a significant reduction. Let’s look at the numbers. R-404A has a total GWP of nearly four-thousand. R-448A has a GWP of fourteen-hundred. Along with the savings of GWP you will also find that this Solstice refrigerant runs between five to ten percent more efficient then R-404A. SO, you’ll get the benefit to the climate in two ways.

There is one big downside here on this refrigerant I want to mention before I get to the PT chart. I had stated that the GWP for this product is fourteen-hundred. While it is lower then R-404A you should be aware that it is still a very high GWP number. Because this number is so high I do not foresee this refrigerant lasting in the long run. Its GWP is just too high. I would fully predict that we would see this refrigerant being phased out in just about five years time. It will be replaced by something else down the road. This refrigerant is just a stop gap until we find something better.

Alright folks, I’ve talked enough. Let’s get to the pressure temperature chart. As you are looking over this data please reach out to me if you find something that is not correct. I strive to make these tables accurate and will get any errors corrected as soon as I can.

PSIGLiquid Temp (F)Liquid Temp (C)Vapor Temp (F)Vapor Temp (C)
0-51-46.11-39.9-39.94
1-48.6-44.78-37.5-38.61
2-46.2-43.44-35.2-37.33
3-44-42.22-32.9-36.06
4-41.9-41.06-30.8-34.89
5-39.8-39.89-28.8-33.78
6-37.8-38.78-26.9-32.72
7-35.9-37.72-25-31.67
8-34.1-36.72-23.2-30.67
9-32.4-35.78-21.4-29.67
10-30.6-34.78-19.7-28.72
11-29-33.89-18.1-27.83
12-27.4-33-16.5-26.94
13-25.8-32.11-15-26.11
14-24.3-31.28-13.5-25.28
16-21.4-29.67-10.6-23.67
18-18.6-28.11-7.8-22.11
20-16-26.67-5.2-20.67
22-13.5-25.28-2.7-19.28
24-11-23.89-0.3-17.94
26-8.7-22.612-16.67
28-6.5-21.394.2-15.44
29-5.4-20.785.3-14.83
31-3.3-19.617.4-13.67
34-0.2-17.8910.4-12
372.7-16.2813.3-10.39
405.5-14.7216-8.89
438.2-13.2218.7-7.39
4610.8-11.7821.2-6
4913.2-10.4423.7-4.61
5215.6-9.1126-3.33
5517.9-7.8328.3-2.06
5920.9-6.1731.2-0.44
6323.8-4.56341.11
6726.5-3.0636.72.61
8336.52.546.68.11
10146.58.0656.313.5
12156.213.4465.918.83
14265.418.5674.923.83
15470.221.2279.626.44
16775.123.9484.429.11
18180.226.7889.331.83
19685.329.6194.334.61
21290.532.599.337.39
22995.735.39104.340.17
246100.738.17109.142.83
264105.640.89113.945.5
284110.943.8311948.33
304115.946.61123.851
32512149.44128.653.67
348126.252.33133.656.44
349126.452.44133.856.56
372131.455.22138.559.17
397136.658.11143.461.89
423141.861148.364.61
450146.963.8315367.22

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

RefrigerantHQ's Pressure Charts

One of the very first steps when it comes to diagnosing your home air conditioner, refrigerator, or even your vehicle’s air conditioner is understanding the temperature and the current pressure that your system is operating at. Having these facts along with the saturation point, the subcool, and the superheat  numbers for the refrigerant you are working on are essential when it comes to really understanding what is going wrong with your system.

After a visual inspection the very next step for the most seasoned technicians is pulling out their gauges and checking the pressure and temperature. It just becomes second nature after enough calls. I have heard stories of rookie techs calling some of the pros on their team for help on a system that they’re stuck on. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Miami or in Fargo. It will never fail that one of the first questions the pros ask the rookie is what is your subcool and what is your superheat? Having  and understanding these numbers is key to figuring out what to do next.

But, these numbers won’t do you any good if you don’t know what refrigerant you are dealing with and what the refrigerant’s boiling point is at each pressure level. This article aims at providing you with just that information.

R-450A Solstice N13 Basic Info & PT Chart

The refrigerant known as R-450A is brought to you by the Honeywell corporation. This refrigerant falls under their new Hydrofluoroolefins (HFO) Solstice line of refrigerants. You may see R-450A referred to as N13 which is the official Honeywell brand name. As most of you know there has been a push to phase out HFC refrigerants such as R-134a, R-404A, R-410A across the United States. This push is due to the very high Global Warming Potential these refrigerants have.

R-450A was introduced as an alternative to the commonly used HFC R-134a. 134a has a GWP of over fourteen-hundred whereas the new 450A has a GWP of only six-hundred. That is a nearly sixty percent decrease in GWP saved by switching over to this new HFO refrigerant. It is also slightly more efficient then R-134a so users will end up seeing a savings on their energy bills as well. 450A is a Azerotropic blend of forty-two percent R-134a and fifty-eight percent of R-1234ze that uses POE oil for lubrication. While it is a mixture of HFCs and HFOs refrigerant it technically falls under the HFO classification. The good news here is that HFO refrigerants are classified as flammable or slightly flammable… but not the Solstice N13. It has an A1 safety rating from ASHRAE. That is the same safety rating that R-134a and all of the other common HFC refrigerants has. To me, that is a big selling point. There is no risk here unlike the risk you could find of when dealing with hydrocarbon or natural refrigerants. The only real thing to be concerned about here is that it still has a somewhat high GWP number… so it may be phased out in five or ten years.

This HFO refrigerant was designed to be used in a variety of medium temperature applications such as refrigerated transport, heat pumps, chillers, vending machines, super market cascade systems, and commercial/industrial refrigeration. It has been approved for use in many of these applications by the Environmental Protection Agency’s SNAP program as well. In fact, it was approved a few years ago now so you may have already run across it before. In most cases you’ll find it in only newer applications, but there is the possibility of a retrofit when it comes to vending machines.

Lastly, before I get to the PT chart I wanted to inform you that this refrigerant can actually be charged from either the liquid or the vapor phase. It is your choice. That is why in the table below I included PSIG for both liquid and vapor. If you have any questions on the table or if something appears to be incorrect PLEASE reach out to me and I will get the information updated just as soon as I can.

Temp (F)Temp (C)Liquid Pressure (PSIG)Vapor Pressure (PSIG)
-94-70-13.67-13.71
-90.4-68-13.52-13.56
-86.8-66-13.34-13.39
-83.2-64-13.14-13.19
-79.6-62-12.91-12.98
-76-60-12.66-12.73
-72.4-58-12.38-12.46
-68.8-56-12.07-12.16
-65.2-54-11.72-11.83
-61.6-52-11.34-11.46
-58-50-10.92-11.05
-54.4-48-10.46-10.6
-50.8-46-9.96-10.11
-47.2-44-9.4-9.57
-43.6-42-8.79-8.98
-40-40-8.13-8.33
-36.4-38-7.41-7.63
-32.8-36-6.63-6.87
-29.2-34-5.78-6.04
-25.6-32-4.87-5.15
-22-30-3.87-4.18
-18.4-28-2.81-3.14
-14.8-26-1.65-2.01
-11.2-24-0.42-0.8
-7.6-220.910.5
-4-202.341.89
-0.4-183.863.38
3.2-165.494.98
6.8-147.236.68
10.4-129.098.5
14-1011.0610.43
17.6-813.1612.49
21.2-615.3914.67
24.8-417.7616.99
28.4-220.2719.45
32022.9222.06
35.6225.7324.81
39.2428.6927.72
42.8631.8230.8
46.4835.1234.04
501038.5937.45
53.61242.2441.05
57.21446.0944.83
60.81650.1348.8
64.41854.3652.97
682058.857.35
71.62263.4661.94
75.22468.3466.74
78.82673.4471.77
82.42878.7877.04
863084.3582.54
89.63290.1788.28
93.23496.2594.28
96.836102.58100.53
100.438109.18107.06
10440116.06113.86
107.642123.22120.94
111.244130.67128.3
114.846138.41135.97
118.448146.46143.94
12250154.83152.22
125.652163.52160.83
129.254172.52169.77
132.856181.87179.03
136.458191.57188.66
14060201.62198.64
143.662212.03208.97
147.264222.82219.69
150.866233.99230.78
154.468245.54242.28
15870257.49254.19

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

EPA

Towards the end of May the Environmental Protection Agency announced their latest proposed Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP) rule. At this time the rule is just proposed and not finalized. That being said, this rule will definitely have an impact on the industry and the future of air conditioning within the United States.

This time it is a bit different then what we usually see from the EPA. In the past these new rules typically label certain refrigerants for specific applications as no longer acceptable. However, this latest proposed rule does the opposite. This SNAP Rule 23 moves a number of refrigerants to acceptable depending on the use conditions and others have had their use restrictions lessened. Let’s take a look at the changes:

Air Conditioning

The first change focuses on residential and light commercial air conditioning and heat pumps. The following refrigerants has now been added as acceptable in these applications: R-452B, R-454A, R-454B, R-454C, R-457A, and R-32. They are all are subject to use restrictions. Each one of these refrigerants have something in common. They are ALL rated as A2L from ASHRAE. For those of you who aren’t aware, the A2L rating indicates that the refrigerant is slightly flammable. This is the same rating that the popular HFO 1234yf refrigerant that we see used in our cars has.

This A2L label indicates refrigerants having a lower flammability limit of more than 0.10 kilograms per cubic meter or 0.0062 pounds per cubic foot at 21° Celsius (69.8° Fahrenheit) and 101 kPa (14.6488 pounds of force per square inch.) and a heat of combustion of less than 19 Kilojoule/Kilogram or 8.168 BTU/Pounds. Sorry for all of the conversions here but I wanted to cover my bases. I converted these using online tools but if you see something incorrect please reach out to me.

What this means folks is that flammable refrigerants COULD be approved in traditional split system air conditioners. I say could as this rule is still preliminary, but if the EPA does finalize it then we will begin to see new systems with these refrigerants being rolled out to residential and commercial applications. To me, the big story here is that R-32 is being considered. R-32 has been becoming wildly popular over in the European Union as a more climate friendly alternative to the HFC R-410A.

While both of these refrigerants are HFCs R-32 has a significant lower GWP then R-410A. R-32 comes in at six-hundred and seventy-five where as R-410A Puron is at two-thousand and eighty-eight. So, more then double that of R-32. This is why we have begun to see the use of R-32 in newer home/commercial air conditioners in Europe and also why it is now seriously being considered within the United States marketplace.

While R-32 caught my attention I will have to admit that I wasn’t as familiar with the other refrigerants named in the proposed rule. I looked these up and found that they are all varying HFC/HFO refrigerant blends that are all rated as A2L flammability.

  • R-452B – Blend of R-32, R-125, and R-1234yf with a GWP of 675.
  • R-454A – Blend of R-1234yf and R-32 with a GWP of 239.
  • R-454B – Blend of R-1234yf and R-32 with a GWP of 467.
  • R-454C – Blend of R-1234yf and R-32 with a GWP of 146.
  • R-457A – Blend of R-32, R-1234yf. and R-152a with a GWP of 139.

Now as I mentioned earlier each one of these flammable refrigerants would be subject to use conditions. In other words, it would not be free reign or the Wild West. There would still be some restrictions and regulations. Instead of me rehashing all of these specific requirements I’ll instead just provide some direct text straight from the EPA’s proposed SNAP rule. Feel free to click on the sources as well to view the text for yourself:

    1. “This refrigerant may be used only in new equipment specifically designed and clearly identified for the refrigerants (i.e., none of these substitutes may be used as a conversion or ‘‘retrofit’’ refrigerant for existing equipment designed for other refrigerants).” – Source Page 21
    2. These substitutes may only be used in air conditioning equipment that meets all requirements in UL 60335–2–40.123 In cases where this appendix includes requirements more stringent than those of UL 60335–2–40, the appliance must meet the requirements of this appendix in place of the requirements in UL 60335–2–40.” – Source Page 21
    3. The charge size for the equipment must not exceed the maximum refrigerant mass determined according to UL 60335–2–40 for the room size where the air conditioner is used. The following markings must be attached at the locations provided and must be permanent:” (Click here and go to page 21/22 to read the text on the markings, it was too long to include in here.) 
    4. The equipment must have red Pantone Matching System (PMS) #185 or RAL 3020 marked pipes, hoses, or other devices through which the refrigerant passes, to indicate the use of a flammable refrigerant. This color must be applied at all service ports and other parts of the system where service puncturing or other actions creating an opening from the refrigerant circuit to the atmosphere might be expected and must extend a minimum of one (1) inch (25mm) in both directions from such locations and shall be replaced if removed.” – Source Page 22

Retail Food Refrigeration

These changes aren’t as big of a story as the previously mentioned air conditioners, but they are still worth mentioning. These focus on the retail food refrigeration industry specifically on medium temperature stand alone units. There were three additional refrigerants that would be deemed as acceptable with this new EPA rule: R-448A, R-449A, and R-449B. It is also worth mentioning that these were refrigerants were NOT rated as A2L from ASHRAE but instead just the standard A1 that we see with the current HFC refrigerants we use today such as R-134a, R-410A, and R-404A. So, this isn’t as big of a change.

Let’s take a look at these refrigerants:

  • R-448A – Blend of R-32, R-125, R-134a, R-1234ze, and R-1234yf.
    • GWP of 1,387
    • A1 Safety Rating from ASHRAE
  • R-449A – Blend of R-134a, R-1234yf, R-125, and R-32
    • GWP of 1,282.
    • A1 Safety Rating from ASHRAE
  • R-449B – Blend of R-32, R-125, R-134a, and R-1234yf
    • GWP of 1,296
    • A1 Safety Rating from ASHRAE

Also, like before with the air conditioners these new refrigerants would have use restrictions.  The difference here is that these refrigerants are almost seen as a last resort. See below from the EPA’s fact sheet:

“Acceptable only for use in new medium temperature standalone units where reasonable efforts have been made to ascertain that other alternatives are not technically feasible due to the inability to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.” – Source

Conclusion

As I stated a few times in this article this rule is NOT approved or finalized yet. It is still preliminary and it very well may change. If you would like to voice your opinion on the topic it is open to public comments for forty-five days from when the rule was published in the Federal Register. If you are thinking about making a comment I suggest you do it soon. If this rule does come to fruition we will be looking at a whole new demand for flammable refrigerant training for ALL of the residential and commercial contractors and technicians.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources:

Colorado

More dominoes fell last month when Colorado and Virginia announced that they will be phasing down HFC refrigerants. This now brings the total states acting, or working towards, phasing down HFC refrigerants to sixteen. If you count just the states that have moved forward with legislation or regulation then Colorado and Virginia is now the fifth and sixth. They now accompany California, Washington, Vermont, and New Jersey. Other states have committed to their own action in the near future, some of these include: Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Oregon, Delaware, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

All of these states mentioned above are part of what’s known as the United States Climate Alliance. This alliance was formed back in June 1st, of 2017 immediately after the Trump Administration pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord. The goal of this alliance is to set a climate policy as a collection of states rather then one state at a time. It also gives bargaining power with the federal government and manufacturers. At this time the alliance is up to twenty-four states and is expected to continue growing. 

Towards the end of May Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission announced their new regulation known as ‘Regulation 22’ that intends to phase down the use of HFC refrigerants throughout the state. On May 21st Governor Northam of Virginia signed a law targeting HFC refrigerants as well. In both cases between Colorado and Virginia the new requirements closely mocked the EPA’s SNAP Rules 20 and 21.

As I had mentioned earlier, there are other states in the Climate Alliance that are expected to begun their own work on HFC refrigerants as well. So, why is all of this occurring at a state level? Well folks it goes back to a ruling back in 2017 where a federal court overturned the EPA’s SNAP Rules 20 and 21. These rules aimed at phasing down HFC refrigerants using the same authority that the EPA used to phase down CFC and HCFC refrigerants. The court ruled against them stating that their authority only extended to refrigerants with ozone depleting substances. It did not allow them to phase out HFC refrigerants which did not harm the Ozone but did contribute to global warming.

Since then there has been no update from the federal government on what the next steps will be. In essence, there has been no HFC phase down within the United States over the past few years. There was hope initially for the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment but that has stalled as the Trump Administration has not sent it to the Senate for ratification.

This is why we have seen states begun to announce their own HFC refrigerant phase down plans. The hope is to have so many states on board that manufacturers are forced to switch over to the more climate friendly refrigerants. With the addition of Colorado and Virginia we now have twenty-five percent of the United States’s GDP with a formal HFC phase down plan. If we add up the GDP percentage of all sixteen states that are considering HFCs laws then that GDP total increases to forty-five percent! (Source from Wikipedia) Imagine the impact on having nearly half the United States’s GDP with HFC phase down regulations. Businesses will have no choice but to adapt.

There is one major concern though about each state having their own policies. It will be a nightmare for businesses to comply. If California has one requirement, but Nevada has a different one and Arizona has a different one then how are you, as a business, going to adapt?  The good news here is that with the lack of a federal presence the United States Climate Alliance published their own model rule for future states that are looking to phase down HFC refrigerants. The hope is that with this model rule we will have a consistent rule state by state. States won’t have to make up their own regulations. This will make things much easier for manufacturers and distributors knowing that each state will have more or less similar rules. While researching for this article I found a quote from the the Climate Alliance team, “This (model) framework is designed to ensure all the states have substantially similar rules,” said Julie Cerqueira, Executive Director of the U.S. Climate Alliance. “It is essentially a mirror of SNAP.” – Source.

Technically, there is still hope for a federal response as well. There are bills in the Senate and the House being debated this summer. The aim of these bills will be to give the power back to the Environmental Protection Agency so that they can begin regulate HFC refrigerants like they had intended back in 2015 when they announced their famous SNAP Rules 20 and 21. However, I do not foresee these bills moving forward with the Trump Administration in office. They could perhaps be stalled until after the election cycle, but that is a gamble in itself. We could see a very different political climate come January of next year. Or, we could be right where we are today. This is why we see the states moving forward now. They are tired of waiting for federal action.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources: