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Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5, 000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner with Mechanical Controls

Window air conditioners are a wonderful product that allows people from all flocks of life access to a nice relaxing cold room to sleep in or rest in during the dog days of summer. As a Kansas resident myself I can tell you that I know all about hot summers. August here is brutal and I don’t know what I would do without air conditioning. It is funny how your body becomes accustomed to it after a while.

A question that I have seen coming up every once and a while, especially as we approach summer, is what is the cost on a window mounted air conditioner? What’s a fair price? What should I expect to pay?

The price of window air conditioners is a hard thing to narrow down. These products are not something that can be summed up with a simple one sentence answer stating that they are all two-hundred dollars. There are a ton of considerations and factors that have to be taken into account before you can purchase a window air conditioner for your home, garage, or office. Depending on what room you are trying to cool, what features you want, how big of a space the area is, if it is open or enclosed, how many people will be in the room at a time. I could go on and on folks.

In fact, I wrote an article just the other day about how to find the best window air conditioner for you. This article is rather long, so be prepared to read, but it goes into what considerations should be made, how cooling and power is measured with air conditioners, a guide of what size air conditioner you need based on square footage of your room, and the top three recommended products for each room size. The article can be found by clicking here.

The Price of Window Air Conditioners

If you want a bare bones window air conditioner for a small bedroom or office you can get away with spending around two-hundred dollars on a 5,000 BTU model and call it good. The best real world example of this is Frigidaire’s FFRA0511R1 5,000 BTU system. This product is a great quality air conditioner that will get you through the summer. These 5,000 BTU machines are rated to cool around one-hundred to one-hundred and fifty square feet. As I mentioned before, this is about the size of a bedroom or a small office.

On the other side of the spectrum we have window air conditioners that can cool as much as one-thousand square feet and are rated at 18,000 BTUs. That is over three times the power than the previous unit we just looked at. With this much power comes a hefty price tag of five-hundred dollars or higher. An example product that we can find on Amazon.com is the Koldfront WAC18001W 18,500 BTU air conditioner. Along with the extra power on these larger units you also get additional features such as heating, remote controls, auto-room temperature, and many other features.

There are all sorts of window air conditioners out there on the market today and depending on what you are looking for the price can go up and up. In fact if you decide on a 5,000 BTU you could see the price range anywhere from that two-hundred dollar point we mentioned earlier all the way up and over five-hundred dollars. While you are still getting the same power to cool a one-hundred and fifty square foot room you are also getting all of the other features and upgrades.

Conclusion

In conclusion folks the cost of a window air conditioner is completely up in the air. The only thing I can tell you is decide on what size air conditioner you need, what features you want, and then take the time to shop and compare the different brands and options that are out there. The last thing to mention is to read reviews, and I don’t mean just skim over them I mean really read them. Check out the negatives, the positives, everything. Even if you aren’t going to buy the product on Amazon.com I find digging through the reviews of a product on there really help me to get a grasp of what it is I am ordering and what I can expect when it arrives at my home.

I hope this article was helpful and thanks for visiting,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5, 000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner with Mechanical Controls

Alright folks let me paint a picture here. It’s summer time, let’s say June. The neighborhood pool has just opened up, lawn mowers are going in the distance, and the temperature outside reads eighty-nine degrees. The humidity is so thick that you begin to sweat even before you get out of bed. (Good old Kansas summer.) When you do get out of bed you realize that maybe you need air conditioning this year. Maybe you have had enough sweat filled dreams. You need a solution and you are thinking a new window air conditioner may just be that solution.

Shopping for a new window air conditioner can be a daunting task, especially if you haven’t bought one in the past. There are so many brands, so many options, and so many varieties out there. How are you to know what kind of air conditioner that you actually need? What if you purchase the wrong one? This is a classic case of being overwhelmed by choice. In fact there are studies out there that state when faced with so many choices and options to choose from our brains shut down as everything begins blending in with each other. Soon enough we get nervous about making a mistake and then decide against the whole purchase entirely.

Well folks, you have no need to worry. Here at RefrigerantHQ we will be taking the time to write this article that will help guide you into exactly what kind of window air conditioner that you need. I am a firm believer in providing the consumer choice, but not overwhelming choice. I believe in the one, two, three option. You get three choices to choose from for your application. It is up to you to pick the one that you feel most comfortable with but by narrowing down your choices the process becomes that much easier.

Size Does Matter

No really, it does.  Your windows size does matter. What were you thinking? Just think about this. You buy your new window air conditioner. You got the exact sized system you needed. You are ready to install. You open your window and began to slide the new system in only to realize that your window is too narrow and won’t accommodate the air conditioner. I can only imagine the frustration of this happening and truth be told I can see myself making this kind of mistake.

We all know that old rule, measure twice and cut once. Well the same rule applies to air conditioners. Always always always be sure to measure the width and the height of your window to ensure that the air conditioner that you will be buying will fit and will fit correctly. To get even more specific you may even take into consideration the depth of your new AC unit and see if there are any trees, shrubs, or anything else that could obstruct exhaust flow of your unit. Remember folks, that heat has to go somewhere and if there is something obstructing your exhaust your air conditioner isn’t going to have a good time.

As I said before it is best for you to measure the window so you know exactly what you are dealing with but I will give you this bit of advice. Most windows found in homes today range between twenty-four to thirty inches wide and forty-eight to fifty-six inches high. If you are unsure of the dimensions of the air conditioner you are wishing to buy either on Amazon or the manufacturer’s official product page will have the full details for you.

BTUs, Square Footage, and What You Need to Know

First and foremost before we get into what kind of unit you need we need to understand how sizing in air conditioning system works. It is not as simple as just picking the biggest and baddest model on the market. If you purchase a window unit that is rated to cool one-thousand square feet and you put it in your one-hundred and fifty square feet office your air conditioner is going to have difficulty extracting the humidity from the air as well as evenly distributing the cooler air. The end result will be hot and cool spots throughout the room. That isn’t even mentioning the increased monthly cost to run a much larger machine then you needed in the first place. This will leave you feeling frustrated due to the hot and cool spots as well as paying more money per month then you should be.

Now, if we do the inverse of this scenario and buy a smaller air conditioner for a much larger area your unit will be running constantly all day and night just trying to keep up by cooling the larger square footage. This will result in the room not being as cold as it should be as well as significantly increasing the energy bills for running your AC non-stop. Remember folks, air conditioners are supposed to hit a desired temperature, turn off, and then turn back on when the temperature begins to rise. If they are running constantly that means higher bills as well as quicker parts failure on the unit.

To understand air conditioner sizing you need to understand British Thermal Units, or BTUs. If you have already been looking online or in stores you have probably noticed that window air conditioners always have a BTU number in their description. As an example, Frigidaire’s FFRA0511R1 5,000 BTU air conditioner. 

BTUs are the traditional measurement unit of heat.  In the air conditioning world BTUs are a measurement of the cooling capacity of your window air conditioner. The bigger the number of BTUs the more powerful and the higher cooling capacity of your A/C unit.  As a standard measurement an air conditioner needs around thirty BTUs for each square foot of living space that you wish to cool. Using that standard measurement let’s do some match based off of the 5,000 BTU rating example we pulled from earlier.

5,000 / 30 = 166 square feet

So, a 5,000 BTU air conditioner will cool a one-hundred and fifty square foot room with ease. For those of you who do not know an average sized bedroom or office is about one-hundred and fifty square feet. If you were looking to cool a bedroom, small office, or a dorm room then a 5,000 BTU system is just the one for you. However, if you were looking to cool a larger room, even if it is only two-hundred square feet it would make sense to go up to a 6,000 BTU system. Remember folks, it is a fine line to get the ‘perfect’ sized air conditioner for your room.

To ensure that you are buying the right sized air conditioner for your room it is best to measure it. I can give you standards and guidelines all day long but only you know the size of your room. To get the square footage of your room measure the width and depth of your room and then multiply the numbers together to get your square footage. As an example if you have a ten foot by eleven foot room you have one-hundred and ten square foot.

There are also other considerations when looking at your room. Yes, the size of the room definitely matters but these other scenarios could have a play into what kind of air conditioner you should purchase.

  1. The first being is your room sunny for most of the day? If so then we at RefrigerantHQ recommend increasing your required BTUs by ten percent. After all, your unit is going to have to work harder to make up for that direct sunlight.
  2. How many people will be in this room through out the day? One? Two? If it is anymore then two then it is recommended that you increase the required BTUs by six-hundred per additional person. There are times where I’m stuck in a conference room during the summer with ten people in it. It doesn’t take long for the once cool room to become hotter and hotter. The more people in a room the more power you need!
  3. How tall is the ceiling in your room? Is it a standard seven foot or eight foot celing? If so, then no problem. However, if you are working in a vaulted ceiling room or even something as high as ten foot then you may end up wanting to go up a size in BTUs. A taller ceiling means more space in your room and more space means more space to cool.
  4. The last consideration to make is will your unit be used in a kitchen? If so then we recommend increasing the required BTUs up by four-thousand. (You’ve got to accommodate for all that heat from the oven.) This one is rather obvious. There are ovens in the kitchen. Ovens are hot. You have more heat to displace now because of the kitchen appliances.

115 Volts VS 220 Volts

If you will be buying a smaller air conditioner then this will most likely not apply to you but I would be amiss if I didn’t at least devote some time to this. Most of your smaller air conditioners in the ranges of 5,000 BTUs upwards to 10,000 all come with a standard one-hundred and fifteen voltage plugin. For those of you who do not know a one-hundred and fifteen plug is the standard outlet connection that you have in your house or apartment.

You will notice however that as you go up in size in BTUs like 12,000 or 15,000 you will start to see products coming with a two-hundred and twenty volt connection. Typically a two-hundred and twenty volt connection is only found in a couple places in a standard home, your oven and your dryer. The reason for this is that these two appliances take a substantial amount of power to operate. The same can be said with more powerful window air conditioners.

If you plan on buying one of these higher BTU window units then I will warn you now to check if it is a one-hundred and fifteen volt or a two-hundred and twenty volt model. I would hate for you to purchase one of these, install it, and then go to plug it in only to realize that you do not have the right outlet available. I don’t know about you but I would be frustrated.

On that same note it behooves me to mention that along with the outlet type another key factor to consider is the length of the cord that comes with the unit. Most units that I have seen come with a six foot cord. Depending on the setup and where your window lies this could be more than enough. Worst case if your cord is too short you can always use an extension.

 

Room Examples & Recommended Air Conditioners

Ok folks, so we now have an understanding of what goes into picking an air conditioner and what requirements have to be considered before you can move forward with a purchase. What I want to do in this next section is to provide you with an estimated square footage, a room type, a recommended BTU size, as well as a two or three recommended window air conditioner units for each application. Using the below suggestions as a guide will set you in the right direction of picking the right system and experiencing the relaxing cool air blowing in your face on a hot summer’s day. If you ask me there’s nothing better then coming in from mowing the yard and having a cold beer in a nice cold house.

100-150 Square Feet – Small Office, Room, or Dorm

I mentioned the 100-150 square feet example earlier when we were going over sizing of an air conditioner. Does anyone remember the amount of BTUs required for the 150 square foot room? Yes, that’s right. Pat yourself on the back! 5,000 BTUs are required to effectively cool a room of 100-150 square feet. These types of rooms are your typical bedroom, a small office, or even a college dorm room. Here at RefrigerantHQ our top three recommended window air conditioners rated at 5,000 BTUs from Amazon.com are as follows:

  1. Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5,000 BTUs

  2. hOme Window Air Condtioner 5,000 BTUs

  3. Frigidaire FFRE0533S1 5,000 BTUs

150-250 Square Feet – Larger Room or Office

The next step up from a standard sized bedroom are your larger bedrooms, office, and even some smaller master bedrooms. These rooms can range between the baseline of one-hundred and fifty all the way up to two-hundred and fifty square feet. For this size range we recommend going with a 6,000 BTU window air conditioner. Our recommended products from our Amazon partner are as follows:

  1. Frigidaire FFRE0633S1 6,000 BTUs

  2. Friedrich Chill CP06G10B 6000 BTUs

  3. Emerson EARC6RE1 6,000 BTUs

250-300 Square Feet – Master Bedrooms

Alright folks now we are truly onto the master bedrooms. Depending on the type of house you have your master bedroom will most likely fall into this range if not a little bigger. My house has the master bedroom above our two car garage. While I hate that design due to the heating and cooling issues I love how big the room is.

For this room size we would recommend getting a unit in the 7,000 BTU range. Here’s the problem though when I was writing this article I just couldn’t find any 7,000 BTU air conditioners. I found the 6,000s and the 8,000s but no 7. This may just be a weird size. What I am going to do here is recommend three products here but I have to remind you to please watch your room size. If you are on the upper end of this range then you should get an 8,000 BTU but if you are on the lower end then you should be fine with the 6,000 BTU.

Our top products for this range are:

  1. Frigidaire FFRE0633S1 6,000 BTUs
  2. Frigidaire FRA082AT7 8,000 BTU 

  3. LG LW8016ER 8,000 BTU 

300-350 Square feet – Master Bedrooms or Living Rooms

The sizes just keep getting bigger! We are now in the territory of larger master bedrooms and living rooms. The recommended BTU for this room range is 8,000 BTUs. But, I do want to mention that as we get into these room sizes a few things start to happen. With these larger rooms you usually find higher or even vaulted ceilings. That means that you have more to cool and may consider going up a size in BTU. Along with higher ceilings you can often find living rooms open up to other rooms like the kitchen or dining room. If you have a large open floor plan you may also consider going up a size in BTUs.

Our top products for this range are:

  1. Frigidaire FRA082AT7 8,000 BTUs
  2. GE AHM08LW 8,000 BTUs

  3. LG LW8016ER 8,000 BTUs

350-400 Square Feet – Living Rooms or Great Rooms

Remember that weird 7,000 BTU size that we just couldn’t find on the market? We ended up referring to a 6,000 or an 8,000 BTU model. Well folks, I’m going to have to say the same thing for this room size range. We would recommend 9,000 BTUs here but again, I just can’t find a 9,000 BTU model. Instead I am going to ask you to use your best judgement here and really take the size of your room into consideration. Look at the ceilings. Look at open areas. Look at sunlight shining into the room. Take all of these into consideration and then determine if you either need the 8,000 BTU or the 10,000 BTU model.

Our top products for this range are: (Remember, I am going to recommend some 8,000 and some 10,000 BTUs.)

  1. Frigidaire FRA082AT7 8,000 BTUs
  2. LG LW1016ER 10,000 BTU 

  3. Frigidaire FFRE1033S1 10,000 BTUs

400-450 Square Feet -Living Rooms or Great Rooms

Ok, folks we are moving right along. Now we are getting into the big ones out on the market. With these larger rooms comes the need for more power. The recommended BTU size for this room range is 10,000 BTUs. These rooms are you larger living rooms or even great rooms that you would find in more expensive homes. The other option here for this room size are hotel rooms. Think about it. When you check into a decent hotel there’s enough room to walk around in, sit down on a couch, a nice large bed, and sometimes even a small kitchen. The 10,000 BTU size is the perfect fit for cooling an individual hotel room.

Our top products for this range are:

  1. Frigidaire FFRE1033S1 10,000 BTUs
  2. LG LW1016ER 10,000 BTU 
  3. Koldfront WAC10002WCO 10,000 BTU

450-550 Square Feet – Living Room or Studio Apartments

The numbers keep climbing. This category we are starting to get into standard apartment sizes. Depending on where you live the 450-550 square footage could be the average size of a studio apartment. The preferred size for this room range is 12,000 BTUs. As we get into these larger sized window air conditioners I need to mention a couple things. Obviously, the cost on these are going to go up with the increase of BTUs. A 6,000 BTU is going to be much cheaper than a 12,000 BTU. It’s just simple math. The other point I wanted to make that on some of these larger BTU sizes come with a 220 volt plugin rather than the standard 115 volt. Please please please be sure that you buy the 115 model. If you do have a 220 outlet available then by all means buy a 220 model, but I just wanted to warn you about this possibility. The preferred products below for our 12,000 BTU category are all 115 volt outlets Except for the Koldfront model.

Our top products for this range are:

  1. Frigidaire FFRA1222R1 12000 BTU

  2. Koldfront WAC12001W 12,000 BTU220 VOLT OUTLET

  3. LG LW1217ERSM 12,000 BTU

Larger Sizes

Well folks we all know that there are larger rooms out there than just five-hundred and fifty square feet. With the larger rooms come larger BTUs but the problem that I am running into here is that window air conditioners over 12,000 BTUs are very difficult to find. What we end up running into is that instead of window air conditioners we see the larger 14,000, 18,000, and even 20,000 BTU models come as portable air conditioners.

Portable air conditioners function practically the same as a window air conditioner except that they come with a hose that you route outside the building either through a window, vent, or door. (There has to be a place for the exhaust to go.) I won’t get into all of the details on portable air conditioners in this article but I will give you a short summary of square footage, room types, and the preferred BTU size.

  • 550-700 Square Feet – Apartment or Condo Living – 14,000 BTUs
  • 700-1,000 Square Feet – Apartment or Condo Living – 18,000 BTUs
  • 1,000 to 1,200 Square Feet – Apartment or Small Home – 21,000 BTUs
  • 1,200 to 1,400 Square Feet – Apartment or Small Home – 23,000 BTUs

These types of portable air conditioners are more in line for larger shops or work areas that need to be air conditioned during the summer months. I do not see a portable air conditioner being used in a home but rather a work site. If you do need to cool an entire home or something over six or seven-hundred square feet then I would recommend one of two things:

  • Look into a central air conditioning system for your home. Yes, they are expensive but if you are looking to cool a larger area of your home, or all of your home, then this may be the best solution to maintain a reliably cool and balanced temperature.
  • If central air conditioning is not an option then I would use my guide above and purchase two, three, or however many window air conditioners that you think you may need to cool your home. My father in law has an older ranch home with no routed central AC. He has three window air conditioners installed in the home: One in the bedroom, one in the dining/kitchen, and one in the living room. Having these three units going at the same time help to maintain the overall temperature in the home and provide him with a level of comfort.
  • Yes, I know said two things but I felt like I had to mention this as well. If you are really serious about getting a powerful window air conditioner then there are a few choice products on Amazon.com today that will give you the power to cool an area up to one-thousand square feet or higher. As I said before these types of window units are rare but there are some out there. Here are our top picks:

Brands

You may have noticed in the above section that when I recommended products there was one brand name that I always included in my top three picks. That brand name was Frigidaire. There was a reason I did that. If you haven’t heard of the company name Frigidaire before I have to ask where have you been? These guys have been around for over one-hundred years and were in fact one of the pioneers in the early refrigeration industry. One of their principal investors was Willam Durant, a founder of General Motors. GM went on to develop the first ‘Freon’ refrigerant in the 1930s while they were partnered with DuPont. On top of all of that Frigidaire invented and began selling the first self-contained refrigerator in 1916. They have been around ever since manufacturing and innovating on new appliances. The point I’m trying to make here folks is that Frigidaire knows what they are doing when it comes to air conditioners and refrigeration. Don’t shy away from this company. They make great products and stand behind them. If I was to buy an air conditioner today it would be from Frigidaire.

Conclusion

Regardless of what size you need window air conditioners are a great addition to the home and offer people from all over the country a cheaper and obtainable way to access cool air during the summer. As a product I love these things. They give every walk of life access to air conditioning. A regular split system air conditioner can cost anywhere from two or three thousand dollars. You can get a window unit for a tenth of that cost. I don’t care if your living in a tiny studio apartment in an urban sprawl or if you are out in the middle of nowhere in a one-hundred year old farmhouse window air conditioners will work for you. In fact every time I see one of these units sitting in a window I can’t help but think of an older farmhouse. The house may be decades old but not much has changed. The barn is still up. The original woodwork still adorns the stairways and baseboards of the house. Everything look as it did except one or two window air conditioners resting outside the windows. I’ve always been a country guy at heart and seeing those air conditioners hanging outside a farm house gives you that country feel along with the conveniences of modern life.

That’s enough of that though as I’m getting a little bit off track. So, anyways, I hope that this guide was able to help you find the exact right kind of window air conditioner for you and answer any and all questions that you had. If I missed something or you feel that something is incorrect please do not hesitate to reach out to me by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to RefrigerantHQ. Today we will be doing another one of our product reviews. Our featured product today is Frigidaire’s FFRA0511RA 5,000 BTU window air conditioner. If you are reading this review then I can only imagine that it is summer, or close to summer, and you are sitting in a very hot room looking to get some relief. You are wondering to yourself is the FFRA0511R1 the air conditioner for you? The price point I am sure has grabbed your attention but what other considerations should you look at? Will it keep your room cool? Or, should you look at a different product? In this product review we will answer those questions and more. Let’s dive in and take a look!Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5, 000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner with Mechanical Controls

Now before I get into the details of a product review I always like to take some time and write a short paragraph about the company behind the product. After all, if you don’t know the company and what kind of quality they represent how can you fully review the product that they are selling? If you haven’t heard of the company name Frigidaire before I have to ask where have you been? These guys have been around for over one-hundred years and were in fact one of the pioneers in the early refrigeration industry. One of their principal investors was Willam Durant, a founder of General Motors. GM went on to develop the first ‘Freon’ refrigerant in the 1930s while they were partnered with DuPont. On top of all of that Frigidaire invented and began selling the first self-contained refrigerator in 1916. They have been around ever since manufacturing and innovating on new appliances. The point I’m trying to make here folks is that Frigidaire knows what they are doing when it comes to air conditioners and refrigeration. Don’t shy away from this company. They make great products and stand behind them.

Is this the Air Conditioner for me?

Before you make a purchase especially one that is going to cost you a bit of money it is wise to consider all avenues to see if the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 is the right air conditioner for you. In my opinion there are two major factors that should weigh on your mind before purchasing.

The first is the size of your window versus the size of the air-conditioner. Now it is safest to measure your window to ensure accuracy but I will tell you that most windows found in homes today range between twenty-four to thirty inches wide and forty-eight to fifty-six inches high. Looking at the official Frigidaire product page we can see that the FFRA0511R1 model fits window sizes with a width of twenty-three inches all the way up to thirty-six inches. As you can see by reading these numbers the FFRA0511R1 falls right in line with the width requirements of standard windows. If you are concerned about height the unit comes in at thirteen inches high. If your window is fifty-six inches high you can just pull your window down until the air conditioner is nice and snug in the window frame. Height is not really a factor when it comes to window air conditioners.

The second and equally important factor to consider is the cooling capacity of your air-conditioner and the type of room that you will be cooling. When dealing with air conditioners their cooling capacity is measured by British Thermal Units, or BTUs, per hour. You’ll notice that in the title of this Frigidaire air-conditioner the FFRA0511R1 is rated at 5,000 BTUs. As a standard measurement an air conditioner needs around thirty BTUs for each square foot of living space that you wish to cool. Using that standard measurement let’s do some match based off of the 5,000 BTU rating.

5,000 / 30 = 166 square feet. 

For argument’s sake we will call this unit rated at cooling a room at about 150-200 square feet. This square footage range is about the size of an average bedroom or office in most homes. If you are looking for an air-conditioner to cool your master bedroom then this may not be the one for you as most master bedrooms are at two-hundred fifty square feet or larger.

To ensure that you are buying the right sized air conditioner for your room it is best to measure it. I can give you standards and guidelines all day long but only you know the size of your room. To get the square footage of your room measure width and depth of your room and then multiply the numbers together to get your square footage. As an example if you have a ten foot by eleven foot room you have one-hundred and ten square foot. In this example the FFRA0511R1 would be a perfect fit for your room.

There are also other considerations when looking at your room. Yes, the size of the room definitely matters but these other scenarios could have a play into what kind of air conditioner you should purchase.

  1. The first being is your room sunny for most of the day? If so then we at RefrigerantHQ recommend increasing your required BTUs by ten percent.
  2. How many people will be in this room through out the day? One? Two? If it is anymore then two then it is recommended that you increase the required BTUs by six-hundred per additional person.
  3. How tall is the ceiling in your room? Is it a standard seven foot or eight foot celing? If so, then no problem. However, if you are working in a vaulted ceiling room or even something as high as ten foot then you may end up wanting to go up a size in BTUs.
  4. The last consideration to make is will your unit be used in a kitchen? If so then we recommend increasing the required BTUs up by four-thousand. (You’ve got to accommodate for all that heat from the oven.)

Some of you may be asking why does the size of the unit have to be so specific? Can’t I just get a larger unit then I need and call it good? Well folks, if you get an over-sized air conditioner for your room the unit will have trouble removing humidity from the room as well as costing you more to run each month. On the other side of the coin if you get a unit that is too small for your room the air conditioner will work and work trying to cool the room. This will result in higher and more expensive energy bills at the end of each month. Why pay more per month if you can be smart about it and get the right size for your room?

The last thing I’ll mention before we get onto the details of the product is a recommended BTU size by square footage of your room along with RefrigerantHQ’s recommended air conditioning unit. This should aid you in determining the type of air conditioner that you need.

Product Details

Let’s take a look at some of the details on the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 air conditioner. Whenever we are dealing with a window air conditioner dimensions and weight are always very important to take into consideration. The FFRA0511R1 has a height of twelve inches, a width of sixteen inches, and a depth of fifteen and a quarter inches. The weight comes in at forty-one pounds. There is a reason this AC unit is called a mini. It is a rather light unit and will allow for easier installation.Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5, 000 BTU

This product uses R-410A refrigerant. R-410A is an HFC refrigerant that really began to see popularity about ten years ago. The majority of the time it is used in stationary split system air conditioners like what you would find in most homes. If the time ever comes when you need to make a repair on this unit and recharge the system you can rest assured that the cost of R-410A is still relatively cheap per pound especially when compared to R-22.

Like with most other window mounted air conditioners out there this unit comes with adjustable side panels. (They remind me of an accordion.) I love this feature as it allows you to get a custom fit for your window. If there is empty space after you install your system you just pull the panels out, secure them, and there you go. No leaking air in or out.

The FFRA0511R1  comes with two control knobs allowing you to adjust the temperature as well as the speed of the fan. While there is no remote for this unit once you play around with it and get the temperature that you like there will be very little intervention needed on you part. In other words, once you set your desired temperature you can walk away and be done with it.

The last feature that I will mention is that this product comes with a 115 volt power outlet and a six and a half foot cord length. The 115 volt power outlet is important as some of the larger air conditioners require a 220 volt outlet which most houses only have two, one for their oven and one for their dryer. This Frigidaire unit will work just fine with a basic electrical outlet in your room.

Pros

Ok ladies and gentlemen now we are on to the pros side of the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1. The first and biggest point to a lot of you is the price. This product is a budget air conditioner to help you get through the summer without costing you an arm and a leg. As I write this the unit is just under two-hundred dollars on major retailers like Amazon.com. (Note, that prices can change at any time.) That is a great price when comparing this to other window air conditioners or to even a traditional split system.

I mentioned this already in the product details section but this unit is able to maintain preset temperatures. This is a key point to mention as other units only come with what is called a ‘cool mode.’ With this unit you get a four different fan settings to use as well as a variety of turn knob settings to control the temperature in your room. There is a picture further up in this article that shows the control panel.

Something else to take into consideration when it comes to air conditioners are their Energy Efficient Ratio rating, or EER. EER is a measurement of how many BTUs the unit uses for each watt of power consumed. In other words, it is a measurement of how efficient and how much energy your ac unit uses to cool the room. The higher the EER number the more efficient your air conditioner is. The standard EER for most air conditioners is set at 10.0. The Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 is rated at 11.1 EER. So, this is a very efficient unit to run.

The air filter on this product is easy to remove and clean. All you have to do is open the front panel and remove the filter. It is important to remember that the air filter is reusable and may be cleaned using soap and warm water. (Remember to turn off your unit before pulling the filter out.) This may seem like a basic thing but some of the other air conditioner models out there have their filters placed in inconvenient positions that result in you having to take the air conditioner out of it’s window mounting to retrieve. Frigidaire recommends cleaning the air filters once a month.

Since this is a mini-window air conditioner the product is in fact very light. It comes in at forty-one pounds. Because of how light the product is it is possible for one person to install this unit by themselves. While it would be easier to have a couple people to do this job it is possible for one person. If you were dealing with a larger BTU air conditioner the weight and dimensions of the unit would go up making it nearly impossible to install the unit by yourself.

The last thing I’ll mention as a Pro before moving onto the Cons is that this product comes with a one year warranty from Frigidaire. While this may not seem like a miraculous amount of time for a warranty it is good to know that you investment is secure for the first season of summer in case something goes wrong.  To register your product and to also file a claim visit their official webpage for this product by clicking here.

Cons

There aren’t too many major cons when it comes to this unit. The first and most obvious one is that this is only a 5,000 BTU rated air conditioner. What that means is that if you are trying to cool your large master bedroom or even your entire second floor then this air conditioner will not work for you. This AC is designed for small offices, bedrooms, or even a dorm room. It is not meant for larger areas and if you try to install it in one of these areas you are going to have the unit running all night and day trying to keep up. It’s only going to cost you more in energy bills and not do a complete job.

The Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 is NOT Energy Star certified from the Environmental Protection Agency. When a product IS certificated by the EPA you get a unit that is more energy efficient as well as coming with more and higher quality features such as premium side curtains to help reduce leaks. Most users report an average energy savings of ten percent when using an Energy Start Certified AC unit. As I said above, this FFRA0511R1 is NOT certified by the EPA.

Throughout my research on this product the number one complaint that I found was the noise that this unit makes when cooling. Some users have stated that it’s just a basic white noise that they get used to over time while others have stated that it is so loud that they can’t hold a conversation in front of it. Even more users have stated that for the first season or two the noise isn’t really noticeable but as the product ages the noise becomes louder and louder until they eventually toss the unit and purchase a new one. Again, let me remind you that this is a budget air conditioner.

Expanding on the above paragraph the lifespan of this unit from what I have found is around two-three years of constant use. While some users have kept theirs for many years many others have stated that they have had to throw theirs away after only a couple of seasons. If you are one of the unlucky ones that has your air conditioner stop working after the one year warranty window has passed you may be out of luck.

Conclusion

In conclusion ladies and gents I would say that the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 is a buy only IF you are looking to cool your small room, office, or college dorm room. If you are looking to cool a larger room I would refer back to our suggestions towards the beginning of this article.

As far as the quality of this unit if we look at Amazon.com we can see that over two-thousand people have reviewed this product with an average rating of four out of five stars. While there are some issues with noise and longevity with this product I would highly recommend purchasing it if you are in a pinch or cooped up in a smaller room for most of your days during the summer. If you are interested in purchasing click our ‘Buy Now’ button below to be taken to our Amazon partner.

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Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to help you in your buying decision today,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

 

Hello ladies and gentlemen and happy Sunday to you all! Over the past few days here at RefrigerantHQ we have been taking a look at the various R-134a AC recharge kits on the market today. These products are typically used during the summer months when a customer gets into their car and realizes that their air conditioner is on but it is no longer blowing cold air. Typically this happens because your AC system is either running low or has lost all of it’s refrigerant. What these AC recharge products do is simply recharge your AC system with more refrigerant. The added refrigerant should be enough to get your car blowing cold again.

Now, there are a variety of R-134a AC recharge kits out there on the marketplace. The question is which ones to buy and which ones are worth your money? Should you go with the cheaper version, or the more expensive? What brand should you get? This buyer’s guide will give you an idea of what to expect when purchasing and using recharge kits as well as how to use them.

Know Before You Buy

A lot of you may already know this but I would be amiss if I didn’t mention it. Before we get onto the top products I want to point out that these AC recharge kits are not a miracle worker. Heck, most of the time they aren’t even a fix. What these recharge kits do is take a problem that you have with your car’s air conditioning system and push the problem on down the road.

Your AC system rather it be on a car, house, or freezer all work relatively the same way. The refrigerant goes through an endless cycle moving back and forth between gas and liquid and liquid to gas. The system is completely sealed and no refrigerant should be coming out of it. So, in a perfect world you should never run out of refrigerant. But, as we all know the world isn’t perfect and things break, hoses crack, o-rings crumble, and so on and so on. When this happens your refrigerant begins to leak out. The more refrigerant that leaks out the less potent your air conditioner will be in the dead of summer.

Now what these recharge kits do is pump your system full of refrigerant again. So, you have a leak where your refrigerant escaped out of and if you use a recharge kit you are just dumping more refrigerant into your system. Depending on your leak this could be a good thing or a bad thing. If you have a tiny crack in one of your A/C hoses that barely leaks then an AC recharge kit will be perfect for you. You could recharge it in March and have it last the whole season because the leak is so small. But, if you have a very large leak, or worse, a major part failure then these recharge kits will not work for you. You could recharge your car today, have it blow cold air, and then come back a few days later and all of your refrigerant is gone again. Not a good deal.

So, the point I’m trying to make here is just know that these recharge kits aren’t a miracle worker. Yes, they’ll work in some cases, but not all. Alright, on to the review!

Brands

One last thing that is worth mentioning is that while you may see different brand names and product names below these products are all owned, manufactured, and produced by the same company known as IDQ Incorporated. Upon doing my research on these products it looks like the IDQ company has carved out their specific niche and now have nearly one-hundred percent of the do-it-yourself vehicle air conditioning repair sector. The company has been in business for over forty years and through out all of those years they have been dedicated to providing products for the weekend warrior mechanic as well as the seasoned service tech. These guys know what they are doing and provide customers with a good quality product. That being said all of these products below are from said company even though the brand names may be different.

Good, Better, Best

Alright folks onto the best recharge AC kits on the market today. When I do a best of article I always like to organize things by the Good, Better, Best technique. This process and way of organizing things has stuck with me for nearly ten years. It was how my boss, back when I worked at Kenworth, taught me. If you overwhelm someone by offering them dozens and dozens of choices they will most likely shut down and stop listening to what you have to say. Instead, the smarter way to do it is to offer the customer three main choices: Good, Better, and Best.

The good category offers customers a viable and working product that will get their job done at a low price point. The better category is, you guessed it, the next step up. With better the customer gets a little more quality but also ends up paying a bit more. Lastly, the best category is reserved for the best product on the market. That means top quality and top price. Now, depending on who you are and what your mindset is it is up to you what you decide to purchase. Are you a Good, Better, or Best guy? I hate to say it but I’m a Good guy… I’m trying to break that habit and move up to Better!

Good – Interdynamics MAC-134 EZ Chill Refrigerant Refill

Interdynamics MAC-134 EZ Chill Refrigerant Refill with Charging Hose and Gauge - 18 oz.

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Product Review

Coming in at the Good category is Interdynamics MAC-134 EZ Chill recharge kit. This product comes with eighteen ounces of refrigerant, a built in gauge, a hose, and a coupler to fit your low side port. It is definitely on the cheaper side of recharge kits but it will still get the job done. This is the product I like to recommend as a ‘trial’ recharge. If you are unsure if you need to take your car to the shop or not then give this product a try and see if you can solve the problem yourself, or at least put it off until next season.

Better – A/C PRO ACP-100 Professional Formula R-134a

A/C PRO ACP-100 Professional Formula R-134a Ultra Synthetic Air Conditioning Refrigerant with Reusable Dispenser and Gauge - 20 oz.

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Product Review

The A/C Pro ACP-100 is a great middle of the road product that falls into our ‘Better’ category. It is a bit pricier than the EZ Chill version but there are some benefits to this price increase. With the ACP-100 you get twenty ounces instead of the eighteen that we mentioned above on the EZ Chill. Along with that you get an extra long twenty-four inch hose to help you reach those cars with the ‘strange’ designs. To top it off the coupler on this product is easier to attach. Instead of having to manually pull the collar up on the coupler like you do with other products all you have to do is just push the coupler onto the port and it will pop right on. I’m always a big fan of the easier the better and the ACP-100 does just that, it makes things easy.

Best – Interdynamics AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze Ultra

Interdynamics AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze Ultra Synthetic Recharging Kit with UV Dye and UV Light

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Product Review

Remember how I said that these recharge kits are a temporary patch and don’t actually solve anything? Well folks the Interdynamics AFK-11CS actually takes a step in that direction by providing you with UV dye mixed in with the refrigerant as well as a UV light pen that you can use to begin scanning for the source of the leak after you have charged your system. This feature right here, along with giving you two cans of refrigerant, is why the AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze falls into our ‘Best’ category. You get two cans of refrigerant, UV dye and pen, and ALL of the other features and benefits that the other recharge kits have. The only real downside to this product is the price. As you can imagine since this product falls into the best category it is going to be quite a bit more expensive then the other products on the market we mentioned above.

Conclusion

Regardless of what kind of consumer you are any of the above three products will aid you in getting your car blowing cold air again. While some are better than others it is important to note that even the product in the ‘Good’ category is still perfectly viable solution to fixing your air-conditioning system. Also, I’ll say it one more time. These charge kits are not a cure all and most of the time they do not fix your problem. Instead, they delay your problem by adding more refrigerant to your system. So, while this may work for you today you man end up feeling warm air blowing in your face a few weeks later. It is impossible for me to tell if you have a minor leak, a large one, or a failed compressor.

Lastly, if you need some help or am not sure how to use these kits please check out our do-it-yourself guide that we put together a few days ago. It can be found by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

When it comes to reclaiming refrigerants in the United States there are a variety of companies to choose from. Over the past few years the list of companies that provide reclamation services has been shrinking but the amount and quality of facilities has only grown. What that means is that a number of companies have begun purchasing and buying out other reclamation companies and begun to consolidate them under three main companies. As I write this today in 2018 the market share of refrigerant reclamation looks a little like this:

As you can see above folks A-Gas Americas has been very busy over the past few years. Just look at some of the companies they purchased recently: A-Gas acquiring Rapid RecoveryA-Gas acquires Refri-ClaimA-Gas purchases Diversified Pure Chem Refrigerants. Hudson hasn’t been asleep at the wheel though. Just recently they purchased Airgas Refrigerants and their reclamation facility in Georgia. Hudson acquiring Airgas Refrigerants. All of these companies that were purchased had a strong reclamation background as well as distribution. There is no telling what the new 2018 year will bring. Will there be more consolidation?

Getting The Best Reclaimed Refrigerant Price

The good thing about this market consolidation is that there is a lot more concentrated competition. What that means is that these three major companies will be competing with each other to get you the best price for your used refrigerant. Before selling your dirty refrigerant to one of these reclaimers it is always best practice to call at least one other company just to compare price. If you have a larger quantity on hand then you may need to take the time and call four or five reclaimers out there just to ensure that you are getting market price and perhaps allowing you to negotiate the price that you are selling up.

Fifty dollars a pound? Well Hudson quoted me fifty-eight. What can you do to to get my business, can we get up to sixty? Remember, use their size against each other to leverage the best price for you and your business.

Conclusion

While A-Gas and Hudson may be controlling the market right now I want to spend some time and mention two of the smaller reclaimers out there today.

The first is Refrigerants Inc. out of the Denver, Colorado area. These guys are a certified EPA reclaimer and will even come to site to pick up (Within reason). Chad has helped me out a lot on research and other reclamation articles and I felt it was only fair to mention him here to return the favor.

The second company I want to mention is Ability Refrigerants out of the Phoenix, Arizona area. I can think of no better place in the country to have a refrigerant business than Phoenix. They are a certified EPA reclaimer as well and have a combined sixty years of experience in the HVAC industry. Again, Jeff at Ability Refrigerants helped me out with some of my questions on the reclamation industry and I am very thankful.

I hope this article was helpful and was able to give you a places to reach out to on reclaiming your refrigerant.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

This may be something that a lot of you practice already but I have seen other contractors out there where this doesn’t even cross their mind. As the refrigerant reclamation market grows and grows over the next few years there is an option that a lot of reclaimers out there offer that may be worth your time to look at.

Let’s say it is towards the end of the year and the summer season is over. You are sitting on around one-thousand pounds of dirty R-22 that you need to send back. Now, instead of sending this back to a supply house or a wholesale parts distributor I am first going to suggest that you send it out to an actual refrigerant reclaimer. If you do not know of one in your area please click here to be taken to the EPA’s website of certified reclaimers. Feel free to shop around between the different reclaimers so that you can get the best price for your refrigerant.

When you are talking with these companies an important thing to ask is that if they do reservations or allocations. Think about this for a second. If you are sending back one-thousand pounds of refrigerant they are obviously going to reclaim it. You are obviously going to need R-22 again next year. So, why not make an arrangement with the reclaimer that your refrigerant is specifically for you and that you will be buying it back once it is reclaimed.

By doing this you can accomplish a couple of things. The first is that you ensure a supply of R-22 for you for next year’s season. The second is that by buying back your own reclaimed refrigerant you are guaranteeing the reclaimer a sale right away. What that means is that you now have room to negotiate the buyback price of the reclaimed refrigerant. I know if it was me and I had that sale in hand I would be more than willing to lower my price.

Another thing to mention here is that depending on your reclaimer they may either:

  • Require you to purchase back the reclaimed refrigerant right away. In this case you have some upfront cost but a lot of it will be offset by the dirty refrigerant that you sent back, not to mention the cheaper price of R-22.
  • If you are a really great negotiator you may be able to talk some of your reclaimers to hold your reclaimed R-22 at their facility and you can then order on an as needed basis. This allows you to keep your price point low, allows a reservation of inventory, and also prevents a large one time expense of buying it all back at once.

The last point that I’ll mention here is that by using this reclaimed refrigerant rather it be R-22, R-410A, or whatever you will be purchasing it ten, fifteen, maybe even twenty percent cheaper than you normally would for virgin refrigerant. Imagine what an additional twenty percent savings could do to your bottom line for next year! All it takes is a little research and asking the question.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

 

Hello everyone and happy New Year! I hope that everyone has a solid set of plans for this year. Something that is on my mind today is that we are only two years away from 2020 and when that day hits R-22 refrigerant can no longer be manufactured or imported into the United States. After that date hits there will only be a couple ways to obtain R-22 for future repairs.

The first is purchasing from a distributor who has stockpiled the virgin refrigerant in expectation of the 2020 deadline. While this solution may work for a while it is not a permanent solution and these guys will run out of their inventory pretty fast once the summer heat turns on. This solution may last one season but after that you are going to be out of luck.

The only other way to get R-22 after 2020 is through refrigerant reclamation. I won’t get into all of the details on the reclamation process here but basically a certified EPA reclaimer will take your dirty or used refrigerant that is full of contaminants such as water, Chloride, Ion, Acidity, boiling residue, particulates, and anything else that could get into the refrigerant. They will then refurbish the refrigerant so that it is like new again, or at least until it meets the ARI-700 standard. The full document on the standard can be found here but basically it defines and classifies refrigerant contaminants based on widely available testing methods per type of refrigerant. On top of that it also specifies what the acceptable level of contaminants that are allowed in order to meet ARI-700 standard in a reclaimed refrigerant. This standard is managed by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute. (AHRI)

Along with those standards the reclaimer has to go through a series of checks and practices to ensure that they are certified with the Environmental Protection Agency to be a refrigerant reclaimer. So, when you pass on your dirty refrigerant over to a reclaimer you can be assured that they know what they are doing. A list of the reclaimers can be found on the EPA’s website by clicking here.

While all this seems well and good there are a lot of people in the industry today who just aren’t comfortable with using reclaimed refrigerants. Discovering this has caused me to write this article and express concern on the future of R-22 machines on the market today.

Technician’s Hesitation on Reclaimed Refrigerants

I am from the automotive side of the business and when I read over the reclamation process I couldn’t help but think of a dirty core on an automotive part. Those of you on that side of the business will know what I am talking about. Cores are a constant headache that always have to be managed by the parts distributor or dealership.

The best way I can describe a core is to imagine a standard yellow highlighter. It is working fine but overtime it eventually fails and it no longer highlights. What you are left with is a non-usable highlighter. You still have the ‘shell’ of the highlighter, also known as the core. It doesn’t work but there is someone who may still want it.

Depending on the industry and the category there are numerous companies that will take that ‘highlighter,’ and remanufacture it so that it is working again. They will then sell it at a cheaper cost as a remanufactured highlighter. This process is done all day every day on parts like brake shoes, alternators, starters, engines, transmissions, etc. The benefit to the customer is that they get a cheaper version or alternative offered and at the same time the parts distributor makes a little bit more money as well versus selling an OEM product.

As you can imagine the ‘dirty core,’ in this situation is the used refrigerant that comes into the reclaimers. The reclaimers, just like automotive remanufacturers, have a set of standards that they have to follow and abide by before they can sell their remanufactured product. The reason I bring all of this up is that there are always customers out there who refuse to even consider a remanufactured part. No. They only want new and will refuse the cheaper alternatives out there. These same type of people exist in the refrigerant world as well. I’ve read accounts from numerous technicians and small business owners stating that they refuse to use reclaimed refrigerant. Sure, they’ll send back their dirty refrigerant and take the cash up front but they won’t be buying that reclaimed refrigerant when it’s all said and done.

But why, why does this perception exist? Is there truly something to be concerned about or is this just fear of the unknown and techs and business owners wanting to stay with what they know and are familiar with? We discussed it above but remember that these reclaimed refrigerants have to go through a series of tests and checks, have to pass ARI-700 before they can be legally sold, AND the reclaimer has to be certified with the EPA. All of these checks should more than enough to spur purchases.

Conclusion

The mentality of the technicians I mentioned in the above section will have to change before that 2020 year hits. Otherwise, we could run into a whole series of R-22 units ‘retiring’ before their lifespan. If the tech can’t get a hold of virgin R-22 refrigerant and he isn’t comfortable selling reclaimed R-22 what do you think is going to happen? If it was me, I would either try to sell a retrofit to MO99, or some other alternative, OR I would try to sell them a new 410A unit. While the early retirement of R-22 units isn’t a bad thing my concern is that there will be a lot of extra forced cost on customers and business owners to upgrade when they in fact could have waited for another four to five years.

The other side of the coin here is what do you do if your competition is perfectly fine with using reclaimed R-22 and your techs are not? You leave a quote with a customer for a new unit and a different company leaves a quote for a fill up and a leak repair. It’s not going to look good on you or your company.

Thanks for reading folks and if you haven’t already check out our community forums,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Hello ladies and gentlemen! I hope everyone is ready for the new year. I myself am sick of this cold and ready for summer to start cooking again. We’re getting down to -12 here in Kansas City New Year’s Eve! I’m envious of all of you guys down there in the south…

The other day I was researching for an article that was unrelated to the European Union but upon reading a few articles I got down a rabbit hole and stumbled upon the upcoming 2018 HFC production/import reduction for the European Union. While most of us already know that the EU has been moving away from HFC refrigerants such as 134a, 404A, and 410A I bet most of you didn’t know that the reduction that 2018 brings to the EU is huge.  So large in fact that we may feel the ripples here in the United States. But before I get too into these numbers let me explain where this reduction comes from and the history behind it.

The F-Gas Regulation

All of this commotion about HFC refrigerants in Europe can be traced all the way back to a 2006 legislation called the ‘F-Gas Regulation.’  The initial goal of this legislation was to stabilize levels of the European Union’s F-Gas emissions to that of 2010 levels. (In other words, they did not want future years’ emissions to go above the 2010 baseline level.) The EU had no reason to be squeamish about these types of phase outs as they had finished years ahead of other countries when it came to CFC and HCFC phase outs. They knew what they were doing.

This initial 2006 regulation was met with success just like before with the others. Then in 2014 a new F-Gas regulation was adopted that posed much stricter rules and restrictions. This part two of the F-Gas regulation went into effect on January 1st, 2015. This law accomplished three main things:

  1. It limited the total amount of F-Gases that could be sold in the EU from 2015 and onwards. The goal here was to slowly phase out the quantity and imports of HFCs into the EU. Death by attrition.
  2. Banning the use of F-gases in many new types of equipment. The same way how R-22 is banned from use in new machines today here in the States. Again, death by attrition. If they wait out the old machines they will eventually fail and be replaced.
  3. Preventing emissions of current and existing machines by requiring routine checks, proper servicing, and recovery of refrigerants using the proper methods and techniques.

One way to look at this law from our perspective is that it is similar to the Clean Air Act here but instead of applying towards CFCs and HCFCs it is towards HFC refrigerants that we use everyday. I hate to say it but for whatever reason the EU always seems to be ahead of the US when it comes to things like this. Just look at R-134a. No new vehicles can use it over there. Here we’re still chugging along. But don’t get too comfortable folks because something similar will be coming here to the States as well. Some would argue that it already has with the SNAP Rule 20 from the EPA.

If you look at the table below you can see the schedule of the planned HFC refrigerant reductions in the European Union. While these numbers can mean a lot at first glance to fully understand them you need to understand the baseline. (It’s a percentage, but a percentage of what?) In this case the EU used the average quantity of CO2 placed on the market in the EU between the years of 2009 through 2012. This baseline number ended up being 183 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. (Remember folks that the Global Warming Potential uses CO2 as their baseline as well.) Now with an established baseline we can begin to see the impact of these reduction schedules showing in the table below.

2015 2016-17 2018-20 2021-23 2024-26 2027-29 2030
100% 93% 63% 45% 31% 24% 21%

While the F-Gas regulation went into effect in 2015 the European countries really haven’t begun to feel the pinch until just this year. Most of you will remember the prices going like crazy on certain refrigerants in early 2017. Imagine what the EU went through. I’ve seen stories of over one-thousand percent increases from last summer. Here’s the scary part. That was at the 2017 reduction levels. Can you imagine another thirty percent reduction at the drop of a hat come January 1st, 2018? This next jump in 2018 is one hell of a reduction. The question is will our European friends be ready for it or will they be in for a world of hurt?

How Will The US Be Affected?

How will this drastic decrease in production and imports affect the US? If this was a perfect world the reduction in demand from the EU will be planned by manufacturers like Chemours and Honeywell and it would end up being a perfect balance of inventory management and forecasting. But honestly folks, how often does that happen?

I can see two outcomes with this. We are going to have a shortage of HFCs across the globe because manufacturers cut their forecast by too much for 2018, OR we are going to see a surplus of inventory here in the United States as the EU won’t be taking in as much. If you were to ask me I would think it’s going to be the latter. At least, I hope it is. An extra supply of inventory never hurt anyone but a scarcity scenario is never good, unless you are the supplier.

Depending on how this plays out in 2018 this could either be a bonus or a crisis for 2018. What do you guys think? Feel free to leave some comments on this post in our new community forums.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Kigali Amendment

I’ve seen quite a bit of articles published on this topic over the past month or so. Some of them stated that the United States was already in the process of ratifying the Kigali Amendment and other articles stated that the US wasn’t even considering ratification. The only sources that I have seen are from lower ranking members of the State Department. And I hate to say it, but the current administration has had conflicting messages before from their departments and the Executive leadership. What is the Kigali Amendment? Why is it important that the US ratify? How will it affect the industry? Let’s find out!

The Kigali Amendment

In a meeting in October of 2016 that took place in Kigali, Rwanda negotiators from more than one-hundred and seventy countries met together  for many days and nights until they all finally came to an agreement on HFC refrigerants. The reason this is called an amendment and not a treaty is because this is an addendum to the famous Montreal Protocol from the 1980’s. While this Kigali Amendment does not have to do with Chlorine or the Ozone layer the governments tacked this on as well instead of making a new treaty.

This amendment has been in the making for seven years and there have been numerous meetings over the years. The latest meeting that took place in Rwanda was where the agreement was finally agreed upon and signed. Since this was an amendment to the Montreal Protocol treaty there was no need for the United State’s Senate to review the documents. Instead, it was voted on by the numerous countries and passed without any involvement of the United State’s lawmakers. It didn’t mater that the last time this treaty was voted on was during the Reagan administration. They used the loophole and got around it.

Under the signed agreement developed countries, including the United States, must reduce their use of HFC refrigerants by ten percent by 2019 from 2011-2013 levels, and then by eighty-five percent by 2036. Along with this developed countries will also have to comply with a freeze of HFC consumption levels in the year 2024. By the late 2040’s all developed countries are expected to consume no more than fifteen to twenty percent of their baselines.

Another grouping of developing countries which include China and numerous African countries have committed to starting their transition in 2024. In these developing countries a reduction of ten percent should be achieved by 2029 and will be extended to eighty percent by 2045. A third grouping of countries which include India, Pakistan, and many Middle Eastern countries, must begin their process in the year 2028. Their target is to reduce their usage by ten percent by 2032 and then by eighty-five percent by 2047.

To top it all off the richer countries, including the US, will be expected to help finance the transition on the poorer countries. The cost is expected to be in the billions and will consist of grants for research for affordability, more efficient technology, and the development of new alternative refrigerants. The exact dollar amount and what we will be spending it on has not yet been determined. There is another meeting scheduled for 2017 that will provide more details.

Will They or Won’t They?

“Judith Garber, the principal deputy assistant secretary, at the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, confirmed that the US supported the Kigali Amendment and had started the procedures necessary to ratify.” – Source. She continued to say that there is not an established timeline on when the United States would adopt the amendment. As I stated before this is not a higher ranking Trump Administration personnel. I honestly don’t know if we can take her word for this or not. Nothing against here, I’m just pointing out that this kind of thing has happened before.

I should mention that earlier this year the Trump Administration pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord. According to the administration this was due to the costly expenditures that the Paris Accord would instill on the United States. There is talk that we may have a repeat of this withdrawal on the Kigali Amendment. There is a key difference here though. With the Paris Accord there were many industries that were against it mainly due to the new taxes and regulations that would be forced upon them. With the Kigali Amendment all of the major players are in favor of it. This includes A-Gas Americas, Hudson Technologies, Honeywell, & Chemours. I’m sure there are others out there as well. It would seem that with all of these major companies backing the amendment that the Trump Administration would adopt it. The other side of the coin here is that the US, along with other wealthier countries, will have to pay billions of dollars to aid less fortunate countries to transition to achieve the Kigali agreement’s goals. To me this clause right here would be enough to kill it for Trump. He is not a fan of foreign aid. Will he or won’t he though? It’s a wildcard. The only thing I can use here as a type of barometer is the current court battle on the EPA’s 2015 SNAP Rule 20.

In August of 2015 the EPA announced Rule 20 to SNAP. This rule announced and scheduled the phase outs of various HFC refrigerants including some of the most popular ones like R-134a and R-404A. Up until the summer of 2017 everyone took this new rule as the law of the land and were planning accordingly. Then, in August of 2017 a Federal Court ruled against the EPA’s new Rule 20. This ruling against caused the rule to be overturned instantaneously and caused havoc for a few weeks in the refrigerant industry.

A few weeks later in September of 2017 an appeal was filed on this ruling by Honeywell and Chemours. Remember how I mentioned them earlier in favor of the Kigali Amendment? Well here they are again fighting for HFC’s to be pushed out. Now, I believe they have their own ulterior motives but I won’t get into that now. This appeal that they filed put a stay on the court’s ruling in August and basically put us back to where we were before August of 2017. So, the local HFC phase outs in the US are still on schedule. Everything is waiting on the next court ruling where a decision will be made on the appeal.

Depending on what decision comes before the other will be a great indicator on what the other decision will be. Confused? So am I. Let me put it like this if the court rules in favor of the EPA, Honeywell, & Chemours and keeps the EPA’s phaseout of HFCs then the US will be ratifying the Kigali Amendment. However, if the court rules against the EPA and strikes down the HFC phase out then I could easily see the US backing out of the Kigali agreement. If we have a Kigali update before the SNAP Rule 20 update then I could see the same thing happening but in reverse.

Conclusion

Regardless if the United States moves to adopt the Kigali Amendment in the near future or not we should all know that the days of HFC refrigerants are numbered and their time is coming up shortly. Depending on what refrigerant you work with you will be affected earlier then some of the other guys. If you are a 404A guy then chances are you’ve already started to see some of the changes either moving to Hydrocarbons or to new HFOs. R-134a is only a few years away here in the States and is already banned in the EU. While R-410A is still a ways away I wouldn’t get too comfortable. If I was to put a date on it I would say 2025 would be the start of a 410A phase out. The world is changing for refrigerant… again. Buckle up and get ready for the ride!

Thanks for reading and if you haven’t checked it out yet check out our new community forums dedicated to anything refrigerant!

Alec Johnson
RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Hello ladies and gentlemen! I hope everyone is ready for Christmas. I don’t have an article to update everyone today but I do have something new that I wanted to share with all of you. I’ve had this idea in my head with the intention to implement it for years but I had never found the time to sit down and do it. Well folks, today is the day! I have created a community forum for RefrigerantHQ. Anyone can join, create topics, send replies, and answer questions. You can find the RefrigerantHQ forum in the main menu bar of the site or by clicking this link. Please note that you will have to register with the website in order to participate. When you click on the link you’ll see a ‘register’ button to click on to begin the process.

The goal of this new community forum is to provide a place for all people within the industry to go back and forth with each other. It could be shooting the breeze or answering a technical problem that someone is stuck on and that you know the answer on. While this was just built today I have high hopes for it and in order for it to be successful I need the support of my readers. As I write this I am the only member of the forum but I hope to see this grow!

Again, this is new so if you see something that isn’t working right or you just aren’t able to even make posts or replies please let me know. Lastly, if you feel that I am missing a large topic in the forum categories please contact me and I will get it added to the community.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a merry Christmas!

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Well folks, I’m already striking out on my prediction for R-134a pricing for next year. I wrote an article towards the beginning of this month stating that the price of R-134a would remain rather stable over the winter and into the summer of 2018. Lo and behold, two major refrigerant distributors announced significant increases in R-134a  pricing at about the same time I was writing my article. Hey, they call it a prediction for a reason!

Now, I won’t get into what companies that made these announcements as it doesn’t matter and I don’t want to get on anyone’s bad side here. I will just say that these two companies that made these announcements are major refrigerant distributors that most of you know of. I was made aware of these price change announcements by two of my readers and for that I am very thankful. I’ll take the time now to say if you or anyone else know of any price changes coming down please feel free to reach out to me  with the information. I will do my best to spread the knowledge all the while keeping the source close to my chest.

The Price Increase

Alright folks so let’s get onto the changes. The first notification I received was from December 1st, 2017. It stated that this company would be raising prices on R-134a product by $00.75 per pound effective immediately. The reason here wasn’t quite what I expected. It wasn’t due to lack of inventory. There is plenty of inventory at this point in time. No, it actually was due to a shortage of raw materials that are used to manufacture more R-134a. So, this price increase is in anticipation of their inventory being depleted and having to replenish. This was the first notification that I received and I took it with a grain of salt as it may have been just one company that decided to raise pricing.

Today I was notified by another reader of a price increase on R-134a from a different distributor. This distributor was going as far as raising their price by $1.00 per pound. This price change was effective immediately and was explicitly stated that no pre-buys would be allowed. So, if you had some cash to burn before the increase hit you were out of luck. In this letter there was no explanation as to why the increase came but I can only assume that it is blamed on raw materials again. This second notification definitely got my attention and alerted me that something was going on.

First, let’s take a look at that increase. For argument’s sake let’s call the price of a thirty pound cylinder before this price increase at $100.00. We now have an increase of $1.00 per pound. We’re looking at a price of $130.00 or an increase of thirty percent in one day. That is HUGE. Imagine if you go through pallets of this refrigerant per year. There are forty cylinders on a pallet and say a medium dealership will go through a couple pallets per year. With eighty cylinders this price increase alone will cost that dealership another $2,400 in cost. I hope you have some leftover product…

The Why?

The real question here is why did this increase occur? Everyone is stating that this increase is from a shortage of raw materials. I searched around the internet today looking for any recent articles discussing this sudden price change but I couldn’t find a thing. That’s rare but this change could be too recent for any major stories to be written yet.

I did some further research trying to find out what R-134a is actually made of. It consists of hydrogen fluoride, which is made from flurospar, and trichloroethylene or perchloroethylene. The big thing here is flurospar. Flurospar is what happened to refrigerant pricing towards the beginning of 2017. There was a shortage in China which caused a snowball effect across the world. For some reason, China provides fifty percent of the world’s flurospar. Talk about market control.

Now the cause of the shortage in China isn’t exactly known. I haven’t found concrete information on it except that China has introduced new environmental regulations on mining of flurospar. That could mean a whole host of things that I am not going to speculate on it. The big thing here is to know that we are dependent on the flurospar mining in China. With no flurospar we have no hydrogen fluoride and with no fluroide we have no refrigerant.

During my research I found an article from Thehill.com stating that America isn’t even mining ANY flurospar. Yes, that’s right folks… none. Like so many other things nowadays we are dependent on other countries for our supplies and when those other governments decide to throw a wrench into things we just sit back and take it. Maybe this will change in the future, but for now we are at their mercy.

 

Conclusion

I can only hope folks that with the lower demand from the European Union and the fact that we are still in the dead of winter here in the United States that this new price will have time to taper off and slowly go back down to normal before the spring and summer HVAC season kicks up again. Who knows though? This shortage of materials may just be a hiccup in the supply chain and it will work itself out before it causes to much impact. If it doesn’t then we could very easily be looking at a summer with 134a prices well above $200.00 a cylinder.

The thing everyone in the industry should be worried about is that if this is due to Flurospar shortage then get ready to see all of your refrigerant pricing go up. R-410A. R-404A. It’s going to be early 2017 all over again. Very few refrigerants are exempt from this. Heck, even the new 1234yf could be affected. Here’s hoping that things calm down before the heat cranks up!

Thanks for reading and as always if you come across any tips or leads feel free to reach out to me.

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

 

Sources

Well folks another year has nearly passed us by again. Here I am sitting up in my office on a Saturday night while my three girls are running around downstairs in between their rooms and the basement playroom. My wife is doing her best to watch them but at times there is only so much you can do. Earlier today we had a realtor give us a tour of our ‘dream house.’ It was an older manufactured home on twenty acres surrounded by corn fields. The only thing you could hear when you were walking out there was your own footsteps. Very peaceful. We’re hoping to put an offer down this Monday. May not sound like much to some of you but I’m a simple kind of guy who just wants a quiet country home.

But hey, that’s enough about personal stuff. I wanted to spend some time in this post to go into what’s changed with the RefrigerantHQ site and what I plan on accomplishing in 2018. Towards the end of 2016 and in the beginning of 2017 I wrote quite a few articles in preparation for the summer season. After five to six weeks of cranking out articles I got burned out, like I usually do, and moved on to a different project. I have this thing about me where I obsess over something. I work on it day in and day out for weeks or months at a time and then like a switch being flipped off my interest vanishes and I struggle to focus on doing even one more thing.

I then find myself obsessing about something new or something that I hadn’t touched in a few months. During the late winter, spring, and early summer of 2017 this obsession turned towards writing. I wrote and published three fiction novels as well as a small collection of short stories. Stephen King had always been an inspiration to me and I wanted to at one point in my life write a novel. There seemed like no better time than then to start writing. If any of you are interested in my books they can be purchased on Amazon either through the Kindle application or through paperback by clicking here.

When August of this year arrived and my last book was published I felt the need for refrigerant calling to me again, so I began writing again and then soon after the obsession came back. I had to write as many article as possible. I had to do as much as I could in as short as time as I could. This stint has lasted longer than my usual ones as I am still writing article after article even four months later.

RefrigerantHQ Statistics

Since there are only a few days left in 2017 I feel that I can report my yearly views now and not be too far off from the actual number. For 2017 I had 365,000 views for RefrigerantHQ. As you can guess my site is very seasonal and my absolute best month was in July with over 62,000 views in the month. My best day was in July as well with over 3,000 viewers. These winter months are much harder and it’s a struggle to break 1,000 views per day.

The good news is that these numbers have been going up and up with each year that RefrigerantHQ is around. In 2015 I ended the year at 63,000 views. In 2016 I ended the year with 196,000 views and in 2017, like I said above, I ended at 365,000 views. The growth is there and it’s only going to grow more. I have all of you to thank for these numbers and I can’t express how much I appreciate it the views as well as the feedback.

Looking Towards 2018

Let me be upfront about this right away. RefrigerantHQ is a hobby of mine. I work a full-time fifty hour a week job as an IT Consultant for a company based here in Kansas City. I work on this site if and when I have time in between my job, my kids, and my wife. Looking towards the future though I aim to make RefrigerantHQ a full-time opportunity for me and hopefully to others as well.

For the 2018 year my goal is to hit 750,000 views over the course of the year. I would love to hit 1,000,000 for the year but that may still be a bit of a stretch. We shall see how it goes and how much time I can dedicate. On top of that viewership goal I am also aiming to establish more relationships throughout the industry. I’m going to reach out and ask you all now that if you have any lead, news, or any information that you feel is worth writing an article on then please please send my way by visiting my contact page. Every lead that I get could lead to a great story so please don’t hesitate on sending some my way.

I mentioned above that my end goal is to make this site a full time opportunity. I plan to keep writing and writing throughout 2018. In order for this dream to be a reality I realize that writing itself isn’t going to cut it. I am going to need to network. I am going to need a build a list of contacts. I will need to begin to form partnerships through people and through organizations and companies.

For those of you reading this if you are interested in partnering with me rather it be advertising, consulting, guest posts, sponsored posts, or anything of the like please reach out so that we can work together. I am open to most anything and would love to hear your suggestions or opportunities.

Conclusion

Well folks that about sums it up. I hope that you and your family have a very safe Christmas as well as a Happy New Year. Here’s to good health and a prosperous 2018 for my business and for yours.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

This will be a short post but I had it bouncing around in my head for a few days and I wanted to share it with my audience. One of the most common questions I get asked over and over again is about refrigerant pricing. This could be posed from a home-owner who doesn’t know what the fair price of refrigerant is per pound or from the contractor who wants to know why he’s paying double the cost for 410A then he paid last month. How do refrigerants get their price, what all goes into it, and why does it change so often?

Well folks, there isn’t an easy answer to this and it’s probably why so many people ask about it. I like to think of refrigerant as a commodity. When I explain this to people I equate it to a barrel of oil. You always hear on the news about the cost of a fifty-five gallon barrel of oil. It’s XX amount today then ten dollars higher the next day. Next week it may have gone down thirty dollars from that price. Refrigerant can be treated the same way. Sure, it’s not as volatile as oil but if you are in the dead heat of an intense summer than the price on a 410A or 134a cylinder can go through the roof. Or, if the summer across the country only comes up with a few hot days then you could see the price plummet.

The following are some of the things that I have seen affect refrigerant pricing through my years in the industry:

  • Shortage of raw materials – This happened in 2017 when we ran into a shortage of the mineral flurospar in China. Flurospar is a key ingredient to hydrofluroic acid, Hydrofluroic acid is a key component to the R-125 refrigerant, and R-125 refrigerant is a key component to R-410A. See this snowball rolling? The price nearly doubled this year all because of the shortage of this mineral that no one even saw coming. The cause of this shortage related back to China tightening it’s environmental and mining polices and of course China controls nearly all of this resource for the entire world.
  • Anti-Dumping and Tariffs Lawsuits – These have been all over the place over the years. The worst part about them is that I’ve seen a refrigerant rise twenty to thirty percent just at the filing of such a lawsuit with the Trade Commission. So, nothing has happened yet but just the whisperings of a potential new tariff caused the price to sky rocket. That’s not to mention the effects that can happen if a tariff is activated on a refrigerant.
  • An Unusual Summer – This could be taken either way. A very hot or a very mild summer. Obviously, with a hot summer you have more machines working hard and more machines breaking which means more refrigerant needed. If you get a brutal summer with day after day of one-hundred degree days you can see the price rise and rise. I remember one summer where I saw the price start at sixty-five dollars a cylinder and end at two-hundred and forty a cylinder. No joke. The price leveled out again as we went toward winter but that just goes to show you how fast the price can change.
  • Phase Outs – We’ve all seen this over the years. Phase outs cause the refrigerant market to go hay-wire and sometimes it’s not just the pricing on the phased out refrigerant that goes up. Just look at the price of R-22 over the past five to ten years. It just keeps going up. I bet you here in a few years it will be around eight to nine-hundred dollars a cylinder.
  • Threat of Phase Out – This one is a little different but I have seen the price go up substantially just at the threat of a phase out or at the announcement of a planned phase out that won’t start until five or ten years down the road.
  • Distributor Competition – This is somewhat related to the tariff or anti-dumping point I made above. This is when you have a refrigerant distributor buying trailerloads or containers of refrigerant from China and unloading it at dirt cheap prices in your marketplace. Sometimes these guys can buy thirty to forty percent less than what an American made product will go for. They then give it away to their customers which causes the competing distributors to lower their price causing a chain reaction of lower cost. This doesn’t happen as much anymore due to the tariffs on refrigerant blends as well as R-134a.
  • Contractor/Mechanic Competition – I saw this more on the automotive side but some dealerships would buy ten to twenty pallets of R-134a in the dead of winter and sit on it until spring and summer came around. Then when the prices started to rise they would keep their prices level all the while still making a hefty profit. This would cause their competitors to lower their cost causing the market to go down as well.

Now the above notes are just some of the things that can happen to each refrigerant on the market during the summer season. To complicate this more imagine when you have each one of these points mixing and matching with each other all during the same summer season. Sure, you can be educated as to what’s coming down the path but a lot of it is a guessing game.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The safest time to buy refrigerant is December, January, and February. The cost has had time to cool off from the summer and has started to level out to it’s lowest point. If you wait any longer then February you are going to start seeing it creep up again as March hits and the south starts to warm up. Most guys who have the capital will buy what they need for the entire season during these months. This allows them to be competitive and also takes away any worry about what will happen to the price in the summer.

I hope this was helpful and thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Let me preface this article by saying that this information is as of today, December 14th, 2017. This information may change in the future as it usually does but the facts that I present here are what is known today. In the summer of 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency added a new rule to their Significant New Alternatives Policy. (SNAP) This new rule, labeled Rule 20, was designed and targeted towards phasing out Hydroflurocarbon refrigerants. HFC refrigerants include some of the most popular refrigerants used today such as R-404A, R-410A, and R-134a.

The basis of these new phase outs are different from previous CFC and HCFC refrigerants. The HCFC/CFC’s were banned due to the Chlorine that they contained. The Chlorine actively damaged the Ozone layer when released into the atmosphere. While HFCs do not contain Chlorine they do have an extremely high Global Warming Potential, or GWP. GWP is basically a measurement of how much greenhouse gas a certain chemical traps in the atmosphere. Every scale has to have a ‘zero’ measurement point and for GWP we use Carbon Dioxide, or CO2. CO2’s GWP is set at 1. That is our base line. Some HFC refrigerants on the market today have a GWP number of nearly 4,000. Think about that for a moment. If the refrigerant is released into the atmosphere it has 4,000 times the effect of Carbon Dioxide. You can easily see how governments and scientists began to grow concerned.

Like with most scheduled phase outs by the EPA the approach was staggered over different refrigerants and different applications. The thinking here is to allow businesses, contractors, and consumers to have time to adapt to the changes. If they were to flip a figurative light switch from on to off then chaos would ensue. Business owners would protest due to the cost. Contractors would protest due to the lack of training and available resources on the new refrigerants. End user consumers would complain. It would be an all around catastrophe and the EPA would lose all backing when it comes to scheduled refrigerant phase outs.

The staggered approach allows people to adapt and it also allows these same people the benefit of foreseeing and planning for the future. Typically, when a phase out is scheduled it is years in advance. So, if a phase out was announced today on XYZ refrigerant the actual phase out most likely wouldn’t begin until 2020, at the earliest. This was the case for the HCFC refrigerant R-22 and it is the same case for HFC refrigerants under the SNAP Rule 20.

R-410A’s Phase Out Date

Well folks, as I explained above there is no cut and dry date when it comes to R-410A being phased out. Each type of application has a different set of rules and years that are associated to it. The EPA has provided an official fact sheet on their Rule 20 and the phase outs associated to it. It can be found by clicking here. This is a large document consisting over six pages with a lot of text, so to make things a little easier I’m going to break it down for you below in the next section. If you prefer to read through the document though by all means go for it! Below are the various phase out dates of R-410A. (Please note that this is strictly for the United States. Other countries will have differing dates.)

  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2019 for stand-alone medium-temperature retail refrigeration units with a compressor capacity below 2,200 Btu/hour and not containing a flooded evaporator (New).
  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2020 for stand-alone medium-temperature retail refrigeration units with a compressor capacity equal to or greater than 2,200 Btu/hour and Stand-Alone Medium-Temperature Units containing a flooded evaporator (New).
  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2020 for stand-alone low temperature retail refrigeration units (New).
  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2019 for new vending machines.

Notice something from this list? It’s a big one and it wasn’t included in the SNAP Rule 20. Yes, that’s right residential air conditioners are not included in this phase out of R-410A. What that means is that we are good to go to keep using 410A for your home or office air conditioner, at least for a while. I imagine the EPA held off on this part of the 410A application mainly because the industry just switched away from R-22 in 2010. It would seem rather crazy to make a completely new change again just ten years later. If you were to ask my opinion I would predict we begin to see 410A phasing out from new home air conditioners by the year 2025.

Conclusion

Remember at the beginning of this article that I said that all of this could change? Well, there was some drama over the summer of 2017. In August a federal court ruled that the EPA’s SNAP Rule 20 overstepped the EPA’s authority. The ruling in essence overturned the EPA’s Rule 20 and removed the planned phase outs of HFC refrigerants. In the SNAP Rule 20 the EPA used Section 612 of the Clean Air Act for their justification. This section of the Clean Air Act strictly specifics on products that contain Chlorine or that cause damage to the Ozone layer. HFC refrigerants do not contain Chlorine nor do they cause ANY damaged to the Ozone. The courts looked at this and ruled in favor of the filing companies, Mexichem and Arkema, and against the EPA. I wrote more in-depth on this ruling in a previous article that can be found by clicking here.

At the time of the ruling and shortly there after no one knew what was going to happen. Everything was up in the air. It was about a month later that an appeal was filed to the court’s ruling. On September 22nd, 2017 Honeywell and Chemours officially filed an appeal to the ruling. I wrote an article about this as well which can be found by clicking here. A few days later it was announced that the court’s August ruling would be overturned until a decision was made on the appeal. (Click here for more info.) So, we are back to square one and it’s like nothing even happened in August.

The question is what will happen next? What will 2018 bring? Will the phase outs continue? Or, will the court rule against Honeywell, Chemours, and the EPA? Personally, I hope that the court’s ruling stands and that we go through Congress to phase out HFC refrigerants. It’s the right thing to do instead of having a goverment bureaucracy force the rules upon everyone all the while using an outdated section of the Clean Air Act.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Let me preface this article by saying that this information is as of today, December 14th, 2017. This information may change in the future as it usually does but the facts that I present here are what is known today. In the summer of 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency added a new rule to their Significant New Alternatives Policy. (SNAP) This new rule, labeled Rule 20, was designed and targeted towards phasing out Hydroflurocarbon refrigerants. HFC refrigerants include some of the most popular refrigerants used today such as R-404A, R-410A, and R-134a.

The basis of these new phase outs are different from previous CFC and HCFC refrigerants. The HCFC/CFC’s were banned due to the Chlorine that they contained. The Chlorine actively damaged the Ozone layer when released into the atmosphere. While HFCs do not contain Chlorine they do have an extremely high Global Warming Potential, or GWP. GWP is basically a measurement of how much greenhouse gas a certain chemical traps in the atmosphere. Every scale has to have a ‘zero’ measurement point and for GWP we use Carbon Dioxide, or CO2. CO2’s GWP is set at 1. That is our base line. Some HFC refrigerants on the market today have a GWP number of nearly 4,000. Think about that for a moment. If the refrigerant is released into the atmosphere it has 4,000 times the effect of Carbon Dioxide. You can easily see how governments and scientists began to grow concerned.

Like with most scheduled phase outs by the EPA the approach was staggered over different refrigerants and different applications. The thinking here is to allow businesses, contractors, and consumers to have time to adapt to the changes. If they were to flip a figurative light switch from on to off then chaos would ensue. Business owners would protest due to the cost. Contractors would protest due to the lack of training and available resources on the new refrigerants. End user consumers would complain. It would be an all around catastrophe and the EPA would lose all backing when it comes to scheduled refrigerant phase outs.

The staggered approach allows people to adapt and it also allows these same people the benefit of foreseeing and planning for the future. Typically, when a phase out is scheduled it is years in advance. So, if a phase out was announced today on XYZ refrigerant the actual phase out most likely wouldn’t begin until 2020, at the earliest. This was the case for the HCFC refrigerant R-22 and it is the same case for HFC refrigerants under the SNAP Rule 20.

R-134a’s Phase Out Date

Well folks, as I explained above there is no cut and dry date when it comes to R-134a being phased out. Each type of application has a different set of rules and years that are associated to it. The EPA has provided an official fact sheet on their Rule 20 and the phase outs associated to it. It can be found by clicking here. This is a large document consisting over six pages with a lot of text, so to make things a little easier I’m going to break it down for you below in the next section. If you prefer to read through the document though by all means go for it! Below are the various phase out dates of R-134a. (Please note that this is strictly for the United States. Other countries will have differing dates.)

  • Unacceptable as of Model Year (MY) 2021, except where allowed under a narrowed use limit through MY 2025.
  • Acceptable, subject to narrowed use limits, for vehicles exported to countries with insufficient servicing infrastructure to support other alternatives, for MY 2021 through MY 2025.
  • Unacceptable for all newly manufactured vehicles as of MY 2026.
  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2019 for stand-alone medium-temperature retail refrigeration units with a compressor capacity below 2,200 Btu/hour and not containing a flooded evaporator (New).
  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2020 for stand-alone medium-temperature retail refrigeration units with a compressor capacity equal to or greater than 2,200 Btu/hour and Stand-Alone Medium-Temperature Units containing a flooded evaporator (New).
  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2020 for stand-alone low-temperature retail refrigeration units (New).
  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2019 for new vending machines.

Obviously the big change here folks is the first few bullet points that state that R-134a will be unacceptable for use on new 2021 vehicle model years. That means that we only have a couple years left before the R-134a market starts to aggressively shrink and be replaced either with 1234yf, R-744, or another alternative mobile refrigerant.

Conclusion

Remember at the beginning of this article that I said that all of this could change? Well, there was some drama over the summer of 2017. In August a federal court ruled that the EPA’s SNAP Rule 20 overstepped the EPA’s authority. The ruling in essence overturned the EPA’s Rule 20 and removed the planned phase outs of HFC refrigerants. In the SNAP Rule 20 the EPA used Section 612 of the Clean Air Act for their justification. This section of the Clean Air Act strictly specifics on products that contain Chlorine or that cause damage to the Ozone layer. HFC refrigerants do not contain Chlorine nor do they cause ANY damaged to the Ozone. The courts looked at this and ruled in favor of the filing companies, Mexichem and Arkema, and against the EPA. I wrote more in-depth on this ruling in a previous article that can be found by clicking here.

At the time of the ruling and shortly there after no one knew what was going to happen. Everything was up in the air. It was about a month later that an appeal was filed to the court’s ruling. On September 22nd, 2017 Honeywell and Chemours officially filed an appeal to the ruling. I wrote an article about this as well which can be found by clicking here. A few days later it was announced that the court’s August ruling would be overturned until a decision was made on the appeal. (Click here for more info.) So, we are back to square one and it’s like nothing even happened in August.

The question is what will happen next? What will 2018 bring? Will the phase outs continue? Or, will the court rule against Honeywell, Chemours, and the EPA? Personally, I hope that the court’s ruling stands and that we go through Congress to phase out HFC refrigerants. It’s the right thing to do instead of having a goverment bureaucracy force the rules upon everyone all the while using an outdated section of the Clean Air Act.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Let me preface this article by saying that this information is as of today, December 14th, 2017. This information may change in the future as it usually does but the facts that I present here are what is known today. In the summer of 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency added a new rule to their Significant New Alternatives Policy. (SNAP) This new rule, labeled Rule 20, was designed and targeted towards phasing out Hydroflurocarbon refrigerants. HFC refrigerants include some of the most popular refrigerants used today such as R-404A, R-410A, and R-134a.

The basis of these new phase outs are different from previous CFC and HCFC refrigerants. The HCFC/CFC’s were banned due to the Chlorine that they contained. The Chlorine actively damaged the Ozone layer when released into the atmosphere. While HFCs do not contain Chlorine they do have an extremely high Global Warming Potential, or GWP. GWP is basically a measurement of how much greenhouse gas a certain chemical traps in the atmosphere. Every scale has to have a ‘zero’ measurement point and for GWP we use Carbon Dioxide, or CO2. CO2’s GWP is set at 1. That is our base line. Some HFC refrigerants on the market today have a GWP number of nearly 4,000. Think about that for a moment. If the refrigerant is released into the atmosphere it has 4,000 times the effect of Carbon Dioxide. You can easily see how governments and scientists began to grow concerned.

Like with most scheduled phase outs by the EPA the approach was staggered over different refrigerants and different applications. The thinking here is to allow businesses, contractors, and consumers to have time to adapt to the changes. If they were to flip a figurative light switch from on to off then chaos would ensue. Business owners would protest due to the cost. Contractors would protest due to the lack of training and available resources on the new refrigerants. End user consumers would complain. It would be an all around catastrophe and the EPA would lose all backing when it comes to scheduled refrigerant phase outs.

The staggered approach allows people to adapt and it also allows these same people the benefit of foreseeing and planning for the future. Typically, when a phase out is scheduled it is years in advance. So, if a phase out was announced today on XYZ refrigerant the actual phase out most likely wouldn’t begin until 2020, at the earliest. This was the case for the HCFC refrigerant R-22 and it is the same case for HFC refrigerants under the SNAP Rule 20.

R-404A’s Phase Out Date

Well folks, as I explained above there is no cut and dry date when it comes to R-404A being phased out. Each type of application has a different set of rules and years that are associated to it. The EPA has provided an official fact sheet on their Rule 20 and the phase outs associated to it. It can be found by clicking here. This is a large document consisting over six pages with a lot of text, so to make things a little easier I’m going to break it down for you below in the next section. If you prefer to read through the document though by all means go for it! Below are the various phase out dates of R-404A. (Please note that this is strictly for the United States. Other countries will have differing dates.)

  • Retrofitted supermarket systems as of July 20, 2016;
  • New supermarket systems as of Jan. 1, 2017;
  • Retrofitted remote condensing units as of July 20, 2016;
  • New remote condensing units as of Jan. 1, 2018;
  • Retrofitted vending machines as of July 20, 2016;
  • New vending machines as of Jan. 1, 2019;
  • Retrofitted stand-alone retail food refrigeration equipment as of July 20, 2016;
  • New stand-alone medium-temperature units with a compressor capacity below 2,200 Btuh and not containing a flooded evaporator as of Jan. 1, 2019;
  • New stand-alone medium-temperature units with a compressor capacity equal to or greater than 2,200 Btuh and stand-alone medium-temperature units containing a flooded evaporator as of Jan. 1, 2020; and
  • New stand-alone low-temperature units as of Jan. 1, 2020.

Conclusion

Remember at the beginning of this article that I said that all of this could change? Well, there was some drama over the summer of 2017. In August a federal court ruled that the EPA’s SNAP Rule 20 overstepped the EPA’s authority. The ruling in essence overturned the EPA’s Rule 20 and removed the planned phase outs of HFC refrigerants. In the SNAP Rule 20 the EPA used Section 612 of the Clean Air Act for their justification. This section of the Clean Air Act strictly specifics on products that contain Chlorine or that cause damage to the Ozone layer. HFC refrigerants do not contain Chlorine nor do they cause ANY damaged to the Ozone. The courts looked at this and ruled in favor of the filing companies, Mexichem and Arkema, and against the EPA. I wrote more in-depth on this ruling in a previous article that can be found by clicking here.

At the time of the ruling and shortly there after no one knew what was going to happen. Everything was up in the air. It was about a month later that an appeal was filed to the court’s ruling. On September 22nd, 2017 Honeywell and Chemours officially filed an appeal to the ruling. I wrote an article about this as well which can be found by clicking here. A few days later it was announced that the court’s August ruling would be overturned until a decision was made on the appeal. (Click here for more info.) So, we are back to square one and it’s like nothing even happened in August.

The question is what will happen next? What will 2018 bring? Will the phase outs continue? Or, will the court rule against Honeywell, Chemours, and the EPA? Personally, I hope that the court’s ruling stands and that we go through Congress to phase out HFC refrigerants. It’s the right thing to do instead of having a goverment bureaucracy force the rules upon everyone all the while using an outdated section of the Clean Air Act.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

While all of the other car manufacturers around the world are scurrying towards the latest and newest fad of HFO refrigerants Daimler is stepping away from the pack and creating their own alternative refrigerant method for automotive air conditioning. If we look at the automotive market today we can see one primary refrigerant known as R-134a. 134a is an HFC refrigerant and is known for it’s extremely high Global Warming Potential number of one-thousand four-hundred and thirty times that of Carbon Dioxide. That means that any of this R-134a that is released or vented into the atmosphere actively contributes to Global Warming at a rate a thousand times more than Carbon Dioxide.

The rush was on to develop a new alternative refrigerant. Honeywell and Chemours offered a solution. They offered the new Hydrofluoroolefin refrigerant known as 1234yf. This yf refrigerant is non Ozone depleting and also has a minimal GWP of four. Automotive companies jumped at this new refrigerant as a solution to their problems. However, there was one company, Daimler, that was not in favor of this new refrigerant. Their reasoning was that this new refrigerant went up a scale on the refrigerant flammability rating. 134a was rated as a 1, or non-flammable. 1234yf was rated as a 2L, or mildly flammable. To remove their doubts about this new refrigerant Daimler did numerous test scenarios to see how the refrigerant would react when the tank was ruptured and the refrigerant made contact with the hot parts of the engine. The test did not end well, in fact the refrigerant ignited causing a fire under the hood of the vehicle. There is a video of this that can be found by clicking here.

After this test result was released the rest of the world tried to replicate it, but no one was able to. After time the governments and companies dismissed the video and test as a fluke and stated that it was not reproduce-able. Since then the world has moved forward with 1234yf. In fact in the European Union 134a was banned entirely on new models. There is a similar ban coming to the United States in the year 2020. (2021 model years.) Throughout all of these changes Daimler fought and fought against companies and even against the European Union.

They wanted to continue using R-134a as they deemed 1234yf as unsafe. I won’t get into all of the details here but there was a large back and forth between Daimler, Germany, and the European Union. After years of debate and arguing Daimler eventually agreed to use 1234yf in all of it’s model ranges starting in 2017. To get around the safety issues that they saw with 1234yf Daimler developed their own innovations including a patented system to keep the fluid and hot engine components separated even in the event of an accident.

The Rise of R-744

Remember how I said that all Daimler 2017 models would be using 1234yf? Well, there is an exception to that. The S-Class and the E-Class models will not be using 1234yf and will not be using R-134a. No, folks. They will be using the first R-744 Carbon Dioxide automotive application. What is so amazing about this is that Daimler started working towards their own alternative clean refrigerant in January of 2014 and then just three short years later they already had models rolling out of the shop with it installed and ready to go. Talk about German efficiency.

This was no easy feat either. As most of you know CO2 operates at a much higher pressure then other refrigerants. CO2 was actually one of the first mainstream refrigerants to be used across the United States but it’s popularity waned due to the high rate of part failure and also due to the invention of CFC and HCFC refrigerants like R-12 and R-22. In order for Daimler to properly use CO2 for their cars they had to redesign nearly all of the components to accommodate the higher operating pressure. To give an idea of the pressure difference, CO2 operates around ten times the pressure of a regular system. So, that meant that they had to create a new compressor, evaporator, and condenser. That’s not even factoring in the new seals, hoses, o-rings, and everything else that was involved. Frankly, folks I’m astonished at how they accomplished this. It makes me want to go out and by a Daimler vehicle… if only I could afford one.

Usually, when a company makes this kind of invention and progress on new technology they like to hold on to it and patent it so that they keep the competition’s hands off of it. Not Daimler. Nope. They have allowed other companies access to the designs and equipment used so that other OEs can more easily design their own CO2 systems. That is a stand up move by Daimler and really shows that they care about the safety of the drivers as well as the environment.

 

Conclusion

Now, you may remember from earlier that I said Daimler was using 1234yf refrigerant on most of their models in 2017. This was not their choice but they gave in after a long and hard fought battle. Well the good news here is that this yf usage from Damiler is only temporary. It was only because of the time crunch that they were under. On January 1st, 2017 R-134a was no longer acceptable in new vehicle models in the European Union. So, Daimler was practically forced to use 1234yf on their models. Their ultimate plan is to transition all of their vehicle models over to the new R-744 application but at this time they are just not quite ready yet. Don’t worry though I’m sure it will only take them a couple more years.

Regardless, I am just amazed at the speed and innovation that Daimler has done when faced with a new refrigerant that they felt was not safe for public use. Instead of towing the line like the rest of the OEMs in the world they decided to set themselves apart and make their own system. That alone speaks to the quality of Daimler.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigeantHQ

Sources

Some of you may have already come to this realization but it dawned on me the other day when researching for an article. When the year 2020 hits the importing or production of R-22 will be completely banned in the United States. While that may sound like a long ways away I have to warn you right now that 2020 is just barely two years away. Two more summer seasons to go through and then no more R-22 production. Sound serious? Well it is!

With no means of importing or producing new R-22 there are only two solutions left to obtain R-22 for you or your customers when that 2020 deadline hits.

  1. The first option are all the distributors or third party warehouses who took it upon themselves to buy up a bunch of R-22 years before the ban went into effect. They bought pallets of this stuff and then sat on it waiting for the price to go up and up. I can only imagine what the price will do once that 2020 date hits. The downside of buying from these guys is that they have a limited supply of product and will most likely sell out extremely fast.
  2. The second option and the more reliable and steady option is reclamation. Most of you do this now with your old recovered refrigerant from various customers. You have a tank that you store at the shop that you send back every once and a while to be reclaimed. The reclaimer pays you for your ‘dirty’ refrigerant then you go on your way. The one thing I can tell you right is that when that 2020 deadline hits get ready for a huge increase in the reclamation industry.

Certified EPA Refrigerant Reclaimers

This is where things get a bit tricky. In order to legally reclaim refrigerants you have to be approved by the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency. This isn’t an easy process and in fact there is a series of checks that you have to go through before you are even considered. The official checklist can be found by clicking here. As you can see there is a strong barrier of entry in order to become a refrigerant reclaimer.

Some companies see this upcoming R-22 phaseout in 2020 as a golden opportunity. Why you may ask? Well as I said before the only way to get R-22 after the reserves have run out is through reclaiming. So, that means that the reclaimers get to set the price and get to control the supply in the marketplace. If you think prices on R-22 are bad right now just imagine what they will be once that restriction goes into place. Lots and lots of profits to be made.

Over the past decade or so the refrigerant distribution and reclamation companies have been shrinking and shrinking. This isn’t due to attrition but more so due to buy-outs and acquisitions. After the dust has settled we are left with two major players in the refrigerant distribution and reclamation. These two companies are A-Gas Americas and Hudson Technologies. Both of these companies have grown exponentially over the years and have made some rather large acquisitions during the process. Remember Coolgas? I do. A-Gas Americas bought them out a few years back. Remember Airgas? I do as well. Hudson bought them out just a few months ago.

Refrigerant distribution wasn’t the only thing on these two companies minds when they started making company purchases. Reclamation has been a key role in their decisions. All it takes is look at some of the acquisitions over the past few years. A-Gas acquiring Rapid Recovery. A-Gas acquires Refri-Claim. A-Gas purchases Diversified Pure Chem Refrigerants. Hudson acquiring Airgas Refrigerants. All of these companies that were purchased had a strong reclamation background as well as distribution.

Concern

I mentioned above that to be a refrigerant reclaimer you have to be certified with the EPA. Well the EPA has a list on their website that displays all of their certified reclaimers within the United States. The list can be found by clicking here. My concern when looking at this list is seeing names that I recognize. I’m seeing names that I know that have already been bought out and are now a part of either the Hudson or the A-Gas umbrella. Names like Coolgas, Rapid Recovery, Airgas (Now ASPEN), Diversified Pure Chem, Hudson, and others. How much more will this list of reclaimers consolidate over the next couple years? How many more companies will these two giants purchase? What will this do to the market and to the competing reclaimers out there?

My fear is that these larger companies will be able to undercut all of the little guys out there on R-22 and other refrigerants. The larger companies will keep on growing while the little guys will either fold or be acquired. On top of that can you imagine what will happen to the price of R-22 if the market gets even more consolidated? If I was talking to a homeowner or business owner I would highly advise them to switch away from R-22 and over to 410A before that 2020 deadline hits. However, if you are on the other side of the coin then this is a golden opportunity for Hudson and A-Gas. Think about it. These two companies will practically control the market on R-22.

Conclusion

While Hudson and A-Gas are setting themselves up with all of these acquisitions I still have to say that it is a gamble. Yes, the R-22 supply will be cut severely when 2020 hits but the question and the gamble at hand is will the demand still be there? What will the demand look like on R-22 in 2020? By then the absolute youngest R-22 machine on the market would be at least ten years old. (Unless you had a dry unit installed.) Ten years old is getting up there on an air conditioner. Yes, the average life is about fifteen to twenty years but after about ten years things to begin to break and fail. If one of those failures resulted in a refrigerant leak then I can assure you that the customer weighed his options on either repairing and recharging or getting a whole new R-410A system. He’s not going to want to pay that R-22 recharge bill again.

So, that’s the question folks. Will Hudson and A-Gas be on the winning side and make a killing on R-22 reclamation in 2020 and beyond? Or, will the market have died down by then and have been replaced with R-410A? It’s a gamble. Either way these two companies still made solid acquisitions and have definitely strengthened their reclamation ability. If it’s not R-22 their reclaiming then it’s something else.

Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed the article please take the time to subscribe to my mailing list which can be found in the top right corner of my page.

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

 

Opteon and Solstice refrigerants are brand names of a new line of refrigerants known as Hydrofluoroolefins. These refrigerants are very similar to their sister classification known as Hydroflurocarbons. Much like HFCs HFO refrigerants are comprised of Hydrogen, Fluorine, and Carbon. Chemically, the only difference here between HFCs and HFOs is that HFOs are unsaturated meaning that they have at least one double bond of carbon. These double bonded molecules are known as Olefins or Alkenes. This is where the name Hydrofluroolefins comes from. While HFOs may have been around for a while there was never a demand for them. HFCs were the favored refrigerant when CFCs and HCFCs went away in the 1990’s. It was in the early 2000’s that things began to change. That was when the real push began to push out HFC refrigerants and to find viable alternatives through either Natural Refrigerants or through HFOs. The goal of HFO refrigerants is to provide an alternative refrigerant that is safe, non Ozone depleting, and with a relatively low Global Warming Potential number.

The first mainstream HFO refrigerant is known as 1234yf. This refrigerant was designed to be a replacement for the very common HFC R-134a. 134a is used in nearly every car on the road today for air-conditioning. If you’ve ever run into an HFO refrigerant before chances are it was 1234yf. With each passing year more and more cars on the road are using 1234yf instead of R-134a. In fact, R-134a is banned from use in newer models within the European Union. There is already a regulation on the books here in the United States that does the same thing for 2021 model year. (2020 year.)

As I said above the Opteon and Solstice names are brand names from the two biggest refrigerant manufacturers in the world: Honeywell and Chemours. (Chemours was formerly DuPont.) These two companies have been pouring millions of dollars into research and development to find the next biggest and greatest refrigerant to replace HFC refrigerants such as R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A.

Chemours & Opteon

First up is Chemours and their Opteon brand name. For those of you who do not know Chemours is a split off from the original company known as DuPont. I’m sure you’ve all heard of DuPont. Well they separated their refrigerant side of the business into a completely new company called Chemours. Chemours does not report to DuPont. They are their own entity.

As far as HFO refrigerants they are pouring a ton of money into developing new products on top of building a new state of the art plant in Corpus Christi, Texas. They broke ground on this facility earlier this year. Once completed this new manufacturing facility will triple Chemours’ output of HFO refrigerants.

Opteon refrigerant’s official page can be found by clicking here. So far there are about six HFO refrigerants added to the Opteon line. They are as follows:

Honeywell & Solstice

Just like with Chemours the Honeywell Corporation has their own private branded HFO refrigerant line known as Solstice and just like Chemours they are pouring millions into research and development as well as manufacturing power. In fact, I would say that Honeywell is a bit ahead of the game on the manufacturing side of things. Their HFO manufacturing plant opened for business earlier this year and is producing refrigerant as we speak.

Solstice refrigerant’s official page can be found by clicking here. So far there are six HFO refrigerants added to the Solstice line. They are as follows:

Conclusion

Rather you like it or not HFO refrigerants are the refrigerant of the future. HFCs are going away and in fact are already seeing a shrinking marketplace both in the European Union and here in the United States. If you haven’t seen or heard of these Solstice and Opteon brand names before I guarantee you that you will shortly.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

It’s that time of year again folks. The Christmas trees are out and I’ve got all of my shopping done but what am I thinking about while the ground is frozen? Refrigerant. Yup, you got it. Refrigerant. It’s always on my mind. What will the prices do next year? Will it be as crazy as 2017 was? What can we expect?

I have taken the time to write a short piece on each of the popular refrigerants and what we can expect for 2018. Let’s dive in.

R-410A Pricing

R-410A. It’s the refrigerant that everyone loves and adores, right? Well, maybe not this year. Upon researching for this article I saw so many articles, posts, and gripes about the price of R-410A over the spring and summer of 2017. In some cases depending on where and when you bought you could have seen the price double from one month to the other.

This right here is why I take the time to write these articles each and every year. It’s a lot of fun to dig into the information and figure out why. Why did this price increase happen? What can we do to avoid this? Will it happen again in 2018? Well ladies and gentlemen let’s dive in and take a look at the facts:

Considerations

Like with any good analysis we have to look at the considerations and outside factors that will affect the price on R-410A in 2018 before we can make an attempt at an accurate price prediction for next summer. Let’s take a look:

  • There was a worldwide shortage of R-125 during the summer of 2017. For those of you who do not know R-410A is a blended refrigerant comprising of R-32 and R-125. The majority of R-125 is sourced from China and something happened over the spring and summer of 2017 that caused the shortage that we all felt in our pocket books. I spent some time researching why this happened. The most common explanation that I found is that the chemical Flurospar experienced a forty percent price increase towards the beginning of 2017. (Flurospar is a main ingredient in the R-125 refrigerant.) This price increase caused a direct effect on the price of R-125 raising it by one-hundred and thirty percent. The price increase on Flurospar was blamed on China’s strengthening of environmental laws that directly affect the mining industry. So, because China wanted to become more environmentally conscious we all paid the price.
  • A lot of people already know about the tariffs on R-134a Chinese imports. This was put in place by the International Trade Commission in the spring of 2017. What a lot of people don’t know is that there are tariffs also on imported Chinese HFC refrigerant blends, such as R-410A. These tariffs can range from 101.82% to 216.37%. (These variances depend on cost of the product at the time of import.) These tariffs were put in place in the summer of 2016 so a lot of us have already seen the affect over 2017’s summer.
  • As I write this article there is not a defined or clear low Global Warming Potential alternative to R-410A. That doesn’t mean that companies and governments aren’t actively looking for an alternative but at this point in time there just isn’t a suitable fit. What that means folks is that R-410A is here to stay for the foreseeable future. That means market stability.
  • I said above that R-410A is here to stay but that doesn’t mean that it’s not in the cross-hairs. 410A has a high GWP and is so widely used that it is definitely having an pact on the environment. So, it won’t be in 2018 but give it time, maybe even just a few years, and we will begin to see the inevitable phase out of 410A to a new, most likely HFO, refrigerant. This leads me into my next point.
  • While the 410A residential application has been untouched by the EPA other applications haven’t. While we all know that the majority of 410A usage comes from residential the discontinuation of these other applications can and will have ramifications. Remember, this is the beginning of a phase out. The EPA’s SNAP Rule 20 source can be found by clicking here or you can read the below excerpt:
    • New vending machines as of Jan. 1, 2019;
    • New stand-alone medium-temperature units with a compressor capacity below 2,200 Btuh and not containing a flooded evaporator as of Jan. 1, 2019;
    • New stand-alone medium-temperature units with a compressor capacity equal to or greater than 2,200 Btuh and stand-alone medium-temperature units containing a flooded evaporator as of Jan. 1, 2020;
    • New stand-alone low-temperature units as of Jan. 1, 2020; and
    • New chiller applications as of Jan. 1, 2024.

Pricing Predictions

I’ve been doing these price prediction articles for a few years now and it has given me a unique opportunity to see the trend in pricing of R-410A over the years. Before I get into my prediction let’s take a quick look to see how the pricing has climbed over the years. Keep in mind that these prices are based off the standard 410A twenty-five pound cylinder and purchasing one at a time. The prices are obviously lower if you are purchasing a pallet or more.

Now, obviously we can see that the price has died back down from what it was this summer. That’s a good thing, but it’s also winter. Let’s take a look at the past few years. From 2015-2016 we saw a ten percent increase in price. Nothing too major. The big change occurred from 2016-2017. There is a fifty percent increase in price here. This increase is in direct correlation to the time when the tariffs on Chinese imported 410A refrigerant were put into place. Those numbers just go to show you how much of an impact cheap Chinese imports were having on the marketplace.

Alright, so the big question on everyone’s mind is what will the pricing of 410A do in 2018? Well folks, I hate to say it but I think we’re going to have a repeat of 2017. Right now the price has leveled out more or less at around $150.00. This is due to the winter months and low demand. But, as the demand begins to pick up I fear that we will begin to see a shortage again on R-125. (A key ingredient to R-410A.) Fifty percent of the world’s global demand of R-125 comes from China and earlier this year they strengthened their environmental regulations on Flurospar mining. These new regulations are here to stay. So, what that means is that we could very well see another spike in pricing once the demand of a hot summer hits the United States again.

Here is my prediction. R-410A will stay level just as it is now at around $150.00 a cylinder. (Depending on where you buy you can go up or down about ten or twenty dollars.) If we have another shortage, which I think we will, I believe we could easily hit over $200.00 a cylinder. I do not think it will be as bad as it was in 2017 mainly because I hope that companies can learn from their mistakes and help fill the gaps when the 2018 season hits.

The last point I’ll mention here is that this pricing that I am putting forth is based on a one cylinder purchases. If you were to purchase 3, 5, or more cylinders at a time you will see a lower price. Just remember that when the summer hits and the demand skyrockets your price can as well.

Conclusion

The question a lot of you may be asking is how can I avoid this price gouging situation during next year’s summer? Well folks, the answer is pretty simple and it’s exactly what I used to do when I purchased R-134a. Buy in bulk and buy in the dead of winter. Prices aren’t going to go any lower then they are in December and January. It’s a simple supply and demand concept. Barely any one is buying at this time and the demand is all but stopped unless your are in Phoenix.

Distributors still have numbers to meet. Sure they have their curved budgets for the summer months but they will gladly take a large sale and will be more than willing to cut you a deal so that they can get the business. Yes, you will have to sit on your inventory for a bit but think about how comfortable you will be in the summer, and if the pricing does sky rocket again you can sit back and make a ton of profit off each pound you sell while your competitors are paying sky-high prices.

R-22 Pricing

R-22 Refrigerant 30 pound jug.

Even today R-22 refrigerant is still one of the most demanded and used refrigerant on the market. Sure, over the years the HFC R-410A has slowly been eroding R-22’s market share but there are still thousands of old R-22 machines out there from 2010 or even earlier. These machines have already started breaking and with each passing season the chance of breakage cranks up higher and higher. As you all know when a leak occurs, especially a large one, the system will need more refrigerant. Customers have to weigh the cost to replace their R-22 or to get a brand a new R-410A unit. We all know the guy who will want to ‘save’ a thousand dollars today by patching their old R-22 unit and have it limp along for another year or two. Because there are those guys out there rather they be homeowners or small business owners the demand for R-22 will still be there even as we go into the year of 2018.

The question now though is what will the new 2018 year bring to the price of R-22? Will it remain flat? Will it go up? Or, will it crash? I highly doubt it will crash but let’s dive in and take a look at what’s going to happen to the R-22 market.

Considerations

Like with any good analysis we have to look at the considerations and outside factors that will affect the price on R-22 before we can make an attempt at an accurate price prediction for next summer. Let’s take a look:

  • The Phase Out – As all of you know R-22 was phased out in 2010 but what some of you may not know is that the scheduled phase out was set to be staggered occurring every five years until it’s completion in the year 2030. The initial 2010 phase out caused the price of R-22 to jump and jump. We went through another reduction in the year 2015. This caused the price of R-22 to climb even higher. As we approach 2018 we are now only two years away from the big change. In 2020 there will be NO importing or producing of R-22 allowed in the United States. The only source for R-22 refrigerant will be through reclamation. Think about that for a second. The only way you can get R-22 is by sourcing it from a reclaimer. Can you imagine what will happen to the cost of this stuff when the year 2020 comes?
  • Companies Consolidating – I’ll touch this further on a much larger article but for now what I will say is that there are two companies out there who saw this 2020 deadline for R-22 imports as a godsend. These two companies, Hudson Technologies and A-Gas Americas, have been buying up all of the refrigerant reclaimers in the States in an effort to monopolize the market and the price of R-22 so that when the 2020 deadline comes they will control nearly all of the market and sale of R-22. In other words, they can raise their prices to whatever they want as long as the other company agrees. There won’t be room for any other competing reclaimers if there are any left by the time we get to 2020.
  • On the flip side of the two points that I made it is worth noting that R-22 machines are dying. No new machines could be produced in 2010. So, that means that the youngest R-22 units out there are at least eight years old. (There are some companies who have been producing ‘dry’ R-22 units that ship to the contractor without any refrigerant to get around the clause, but these are the exceptions.) Customers and companies alike are debating back and forth on rather to repair their R-22 or to get a new R-410A machine. As the years pass the demand for R-22 will began to lessen as 410A gets a solid foothold on the market. The companies I mentioned above are gambling that the demand in 2020 for R-22 will still be high enough to to fill their reclamation supply. If it is not and 410A takes over the market then they may regret all of those reclaimer acquisitions they made.
  • The last point I’ll make here isn’t really a point at all. In fact it’s a table of the R-22 phase out schedule. This will give you an idea of what has happened to R-22 and what will happen in the future.
Year to Be Implemented Implementation of HCFC Phaseout through Clean Air Act Regulations Year to Be Implemented Percent Reduction in HCFC Consumption and Production from Baseline
2003 No production or import of HCFC-141b 2004 35.0%
2010 No production or import of HCFC-142b and HCFC-22, except for use in equipment manufactured before January 1, 2010 2010 75.0%
2015 No production or import of any other HCFCs, except as refrigerants in equipment manufactured before January 1, 2020 2015 90.0%
2020 No production or import of HCFC-142b and HCFC-22 2020 99.5%
2030 No production or import of any HCFCs 2030 100.0%

The Prediction

I’ve been doing this price prediction articles for a few years now and it has given me a unique opportunity to see the trend in pricing of R-22 over the years. Before I get into my prediction let’s take a quick look to see how the pricing has climbed over the years. Keep in mind that these prices are based off the standard R-22 thirty pound cylinder.

  • 2015 – $300.00
  • 2016 – $450.00
  • 2017 – $500.00

That is a fifty percent increase from the year 2015 to 2016. Then from 2016 to 2017 we have about a ten percent increase. As you can see we had a rather big jump in price the moment the tighter phase out restriction hit in 2015. I would say that we will experience the same effect if not more in 2020. It could go upwards to $800-$900 a cylinder when 2020 hits.

As for what will happen in 2018 for R-22 pricing I would say that we are going to experience a year very similar to 2017. The price will go up, albeit it slightly. If I was to put a number to it I would refer to this year and call it a ten percent increase. So, if we’re looking at a price of around $500 expect to see a price next year of around $550-$575 for a thirty pound cylinder. Keep in mind that this is for individual cylinders. If you were to purchase a few at a time or even a pallet at a time you’ll be able save some money and maybe even get into the $400 range for a cylinder.

Conclusion

So there you have it folks. Next year’s predicted price for a thirty pound cylinder of R-22 is set at $550-$575. If you are looking to buy some I would suggest to buy it now before the price climbs any higher. However, if you are on the other side of the coin and you have some inventory that you are sitting on I would hold onto it and watch the value climb and climb. I’ve even heard of some people buying whole pallets a few years back and storing it away in their warehouse for a few years. Imagine the profit if you bought forty cylinders at $300 and then turned around and sold them at $900 a few years later once the 2020 phase out laws have been put in place.

$500* 40 = $20,000 cost (40 cylinders is a pallet of refrigerant.)

$900 * 40 = $36,000 cost. (40 cylinders is a pallet of refrigerant.)

Profit of:      $16,000

Not too bad of a deal if you ask me! If you are interested in purchasing R-22 please visit our product page. Also, if you are interested in purchasing pallet quantities please visit our bulk purchasing page. Lastly, please be aware that you need to be certified with the EPA in order to purchase or handle R-22.

R-134a Pricing

R-134A 30 pound cylinder jug.
R-134A 30 pound cylinder jug.

There’s a soft place in my heart for R-134a refrigerant. Yes, I realize how strange that sounds but this is THE refrigerant that started it all for me. This was the refrigerant that introduced me to the industry. About eleven years ago I was in charge of purchasing R-134a refrigerant for a dealership group headquartered out of the Kansas City area. I would research the refrigerant, I would find the best price, I would negotiate between vendors, I would co-ordinate twenty pallet trailer loads. I could go on and on about it.

Most of you know that I came from the automotive side of the industry and on the auto side R-134a is king. A little over twenty years or so ago R-12 was the auto king but ever since then the reign of 134a has been pretty good. This may all be changing over the next few years though with the introduction of the HFO-1234yf and planned phase outs of HFC refrigerants like 134a.

The question on everybody’s mind though is what will the price of 134a do in 2018? How are the anti-dumping tariffs affecting it? Phase outs? YF? Will the price stay flat, jump, or sink dramatically? Let’s dive in and find out!

Considerations

Like with any good analysis we have to look at the considerations and outside factors that will affect the price on R-134a in 2018 before we can make an attempt at an accurate price prediction for next summer. Let’s take a look:

  • Most of you within the industry have heard about or have even been following the drama on anti-dumping duties or tariffs on Chinese imported HFC refrigerants. This battle has been going back and forth between companies and the International Trade Commission for years. The basis of the complaint is that China is dumping dirty cheap HFC product, like R-134a, into the United States marketplace. This Chinese government subsidized refrigerant allows China to bring this stuff into the States at dirt cheap prices. The US companies, and other EU companies, just can’t compete and end up either making little or nothing on their 134a sales. The case had been rejected or ruled against quite a few times but in March of this year the Trade Commission ruled in favor of the American HFC Coalition. (The coalition was a banded group of refrigerant manufacturers and distributors.) The duty levied against Chinese imported R-134a was set between 148.79% to 167.02%. What that means is if you bring in a Chinese cylinder at $45.00 that your cost would be $66.96 after the tariffs have been applied. ($45.00 * 1.4879 = $66.955) That price of $66.96 puts the Chinese product right in line with the US and other products in the marketplace.
  • With each passing year more and more automobiles are using 1234yf. This trend started in the European Union and now any new models in the EU are banned from using R-134a. This same type of change is coming here to the United States. The first major manufacturers to start using YF in the states started in 2013-2014. After that each year brings more models and manufacturers into the fold. Don’t believe me? Go and look under the hood of a 2018 Toyota Tundra. You’ll find a YF system in there. No more R-134a. While this slow transition won’t have much of an impact for 2018 we will begin to see the market erode out from under 134a as the time goes on.
  • One point that I want to bring up is raw materials increase on R-134a. I received an e-mail from a reader the other day. This reader showed me a notification that he received from Mexichem. This letter informed him that he would be receiving a $00.75 increase per pound on R-134a for the 2018 year. That’s $22.50 a cylinder! While this is the only notification that I have seen of this so far it very well may be across the industry. This also may be companies capitalizing on the tariff and the extra profits they can get without the Chinese imports being around.
  • Remember how I mentioned that the EU had banned R-134a to be used in newer car models? Well, the same thing is coming here folks. The EPA announced their phase out in the summer of 2015 under their ‘SNAP Rule 20,’ program. It basically said that R-134a would be unacceptable for use in new vehicles starting at the 2021 model year.  While this Rule 20 from the EPA is contested in the courts right now the rest of the world is treating these phase outs as still active and ongoing. I am going to write my prediction here assuming that the EPA’s planned phase out stands. For more information on the EPA’s phase out of R-134a click here or you can read the excerpt from their site in the bulleted points below:
    • Unacceptable as of Model Year (MY) 2021, except where allowed under a narrowed use limit through MY 2025.
    • Acceptable, subject to narrowed use limits, for vehicles exported to countries with insufficient servicing infrastructure to support other alternatives, for MY 2021 through MY 2025.
    • Unacceptable for all newly manufactured vehicles as of MY 2026.

Pricing Prediction

I’ve been doing these price prediction articles for a few years now and it has given me a unique opportunity to see the trend in pricing of R-134a over the years. Before I get into my prediction let’s take a quick look to see how the pricing has climbed over the years. Keep in mind that these prices are based off the standard 134a thirty pound cylinder and purchasing one at a time. The prices are obviously lower if you are purchasing a pallet or more.

As you can see folks the tariffs that went into effect this Spring had a huge impact on the price stability of 134a refrigerant. From 2015 to 2016 we had a little over a ten percent increase but then when we look at 2017 we see a huge fifty percent increase in end user pricing. That right there folks is that Chinese product being brought up to par with the rest of the market place. Sure, it sucks that we all end up having to pay more but the good side of this is that we now have American companies making money and a whole lot less of the Chinese product floating around here.

The good news here is that for 2018 I don’t see much of anything changing as far as price wise. The damage has already been done as you can see from the above numbers. Everyone is already feeling the impact of this new tariff but we are still too far away to feel the impact of 1234yf or the planned phase out of 134a. While there is speak of raw materials going up on 134a I don’t predict that an increase will last mainly due to the amount of competitors in the market today. So, for the 2018 marketplace on 134a I predict it to be rather stable and stay right around that $150.00 price that we can find on Amazon.com right now. Just remember that this $150 price is for individual cylinders. If you are buying in a pallet load you should be able to get twenty to thirty percent off of the basic cylinder price.

As we get closer to the 2020/2021 deadline things will begin to get interesting. I can’t wait to write this article again this time next year and to glance into the future of 2019 to see what will happen. Thanks for reading and if you haven’t already please take the time to subscribe to my mailing list in the top right corner of my pages.

R-404A Pricing

R-404A 24 pound jug cylinder
R-404A 24 pound jug cylinder

So did everyone pay a fair price on R-404A this spring and summer? Hah… I thought so. If you are like me and the rest of the world then I can guarantee that you saw a steep price rise occur on 404A towards the beginning of 2017’s season. That isn’t even mentioning the price increase that we saw in 2016 either. Well, folks I wish I had some good news for you but I think we may be in the same boat again for 2018.

This right here is why I take the time to write these articles each and every year. It’s a lot of fun to dig into the information and figure out why. Why did this price increase happen? What can we do to avoid this? Will it happen again in 2018? Let’s dive in and take a look at the facts:

Considerations

Like with any good analysis we have to look at the considerations and outside factors that will affect the price on R-404A in 2018 before we can make an attempt at an accurate price prediction for next summer. Let’s take a look:

  • There was a worldwide shortage of R-125 during the summer of 2017. For those of you who do not know R-404A is a blended refrigerant comprising of 44 percent R-125. The majority of R-125 is sourced from China and something happened over the spring and summer of 2017 that caused the shortage that we all felt in our pocket books. I spent some time researching why this happened. The most common explanation that I found is that the chemical Flurospar experienced a forty percent price increase towards the beginning of 2017. (Flurospar is a main ingredient in the R-125 refrigerant.) This price increase caused a direct effect on the price of R-125 raising it by one-hundred and thirty percent. The price increase on Flurospar was blamed on China’s strengthening of environmental laws that directly affect the mining industry. So, because China wanted to become more environmentally conscious we all paid the price.
  • A lot of people already know about the tariffs on R-134a Chinese imports. This was put in place by the International Trade Commission in the spring of 2017. What a lot of people don’t know is that there are tariffs also on imported Chinese HFC refrigerant blends, such as R-404A. R-404A is a blended refrigerant. It consists of R-125 (44 Percent), R-143a (52 percent), and R-134a. (4 percent.) These tariffs on blended refrigerants can range from 101.82% to 216.37%. (These variances depend on cost of the product at the time of import.) These tariffs were put in place in the summer of 2016 so a lot of us have already seen the affect over 2017’s summer.
  • Most of us know by now that R-404A is on it’s way out. I’ll get into the EPA’s new rules further down this list but for now let’s take a look at the viable alternatives to 404A. Because if there are alternatives then their is a path to phase out. The two main contenders that I see are:
    • The first one is R-744 or Carbon Dioxide. R-744 is widely used in the Asian markets and has been seen making an aggressive push here in the United States due to it’s baseline GWP number and the fact that the technology is already here and available to use. A lot of vending machines, ice machines, and other smaller units are beginning to come with R-744 now.
    • The big change that I see coming is the new Opteon HFO refrigerant known as XP44 or R-452A. This refrigerant is designed for commercial refrigeration and chillers. A prime example and a huge market that will be transitioning over is trucking. Earlier this year the Carrier Transicold corporation announced that they will be offering their trucks with R-452A refrigerant as well as 404A. Thermoking isn’t too far behind either.
  • Honeywell announced that they will stop selling R-404A refrigerant in the European Union next year. While this is mainly due to the EU’s F-Gas regulation it is also a huge step in showing the world that 404A is not going to be around for much longer.
  • In the summer of 2015 the EPA came out with their new SNAP Rule 20. This new rule specifically targeted HFC refrigerants and the first major HFC refrigerant targeted was R-404A. While the courts did overturn this new rule in the summer of 2017 there is now an appeal on file to reinstate the restrictions. At this time the world and I will be treating R-404A like it is being phased out. To read more about the EPA’s SNAP Rule 20 program click here or read the excerpts below. Note that R-404A will no longer be acceptable in the below applications:
    • Retrofitted supermarket systems as of July 20, 2016;
    • New supermarket systems as of Jan. 1, 2017;
    • Retrofitted remote condensing units as of July 20, 2016;
    • New remote condensing units as of Jan. 1, 2018;
    • Retrofitted vending machines as of July 20, 2016;
    • New vending machines as of Jan. 1, 2019;
    • Retrofitted stand-alone retail food refrigeration equipment as of July 20, 2016;
    • New stand-alone medium-temperature units with a compressor capacity below 2,200 Btuh and not containing a flooded evaporator as of Jan. 1, 2019;
    • New stand-alone medium-temperature units with a compressor capacity equal to or greater than 2,200 Btuh and stand-alone medium-temperature units containing a flooded evaporator as of Jan. 1, 2020; and
    • New stand-alone low-temperature units as of Jan. 1, 2020.
  • The last point that I’m going to make here before moving on is that while the approved applications for 404A are shrinking and shrinking it should be noted that the actual supply and production 404A is not being forcibly shrunk. What that means is that the government isn’t stepping in like they did with R-22 and saying that you can only produce/import X much per year. It is up to the manufacturers to balance the supply and demand with the shrinking marketplace and not the government.

Price Predictions

I’ve been doing these price prediction articles for a few years now and it has given me a unique opportunity to see the trend in pricing of R-404A over the years. Before I get into my prediction let’s take a quick look to see how the pricing has climbed over the years. Keep in mind that these prices are based off the standard 404A twenty-four pound cylinder and purchasing one at a time. The prices are obviously lower if you are purchasing a pallet or more. (Pallet pricing is about $140 a cylinder as of today.)

Those numbers are crazy. I’m not even sure where to begin. So between 2015-2016 we had a twenty percent jump. Then from 2016 to 2017 we jumped up like crazy. Eight percent price increase. This happened because of the new tariffs we discussed and also the shortage of R-125. Since the summer of 2017 prices have started to taper back down but they are still high at around $175 for a cylinder.

Here’s where I give you the bad news folks. I think we’re going to experience the same thing again next year. Once the season gets going we are still going to have to contend with all of the factors that I mentioned above. The only bright side that I can find is that Honeywell won’t be providing 404A to Europe anymore so they may have a bit of a backlog of inventory that will help keep prices from spiking too high.

My pricing prediction for the summer of 2018 R-404A is around $210.00 a cylinder. If you were to purchase a pallet of forty cylinders next summer expect to see a price in the $160s per cylinder. I wish I had better news for you folks but these numbers are what the facts all point too.

Conclusion

The question a lot of you may be asking is how can I avoid this price gouging situation during next year’s summer? Well folks, the answer is pretty simple and it’s exactly what I used to do when I purchased R-134a. Buy in bulk and buy in the dead of winter. Prices aren’t going to go any lower then they are in December and January. It’s a simple supply and demand concept. Barely any one is buying at this time and the demand is all but stopped unless your are in Phoenix.

Distributors still have numbers to meet. Sure they have their curved budgets for the summer months but they will gladly take a large sale and will be more than willing to cut you a deal so that they can get the business. Yes, you will have to sit on your inventory for a bit but think about how comfortable you will be in the summer, and if the pricing does sky rocket again you can sit back and make a ton of profit off each pound you sell while your competitors are paying sky-high prices.

R-1234YF Pricing

If you haven’t heard of 1234yf yet then I can assure you that you will soon. Especially if you have a newer car that’s out of warranty. You’ll really hear about it then when you get a leak in your system and you get that nice recharge bill.

1234yf is the latest and greatest when it comes to automotive refrigerant. This new refrigerant is designed to take the place of the HFC R-134a. 134a has been used since the early 1990’s but has since fallen out of favor with companies and governments due to it’s high Global Warming Potential. While R-134a has already been phased out in the European Union it has not quite taken hold yet in the United States. Don’t get me wrong though folks it’s coming and it has been coming since 2013-2014. The first few models to start using YF in the United States were Fiat, then Chrysler, then Ford, then Toyota, and so on and so on. Heck, the truck I want to get next year (Toyota Tundra) is using 1234yf.

My point is folks that it’s everywhere and it’s growing fast. Give it a few years and R-134a will go the way of R-12. The only people using it will be clunkers or ‘antique’ car restorers. 1234yf with it’s expensive price tag will be the only real option for automotive applications at least until Daimler perfects their R-744 systems. So, the question is what will the pricing of 1234yf do next year in 2018? Will it remain the same, climb drastically, or start to decline? Let’s dive in and find out.

Considerations

Like with any good analysis we have to look at the considerations and outside factors that will affect the price on 1234yf in 2018 before we can make an attempt at an accurate price prediction for next summer. Let’s take a look:

  • I looked around online for a recent list from this year that would display all of the cars that were using 1234yf. I couldn’t find one but I did find one from 2015 and I have to say that even back then, nearly three years ago, there were a whole host of cars and manufacturers that had begun using 1234yf. With each passing year the amount of models using 1234yf will go up and with that more and more cars on the road will be using YF refrigerant. All of this is only going to increase demand for the new HFO refrigerant.
  • While we will have that increased demand from the point I mentioned above the second point to bring up is that the two companies that make 1234yf, Honeywell and Chemours, have either opened or have broke ground on gigantic production plants here in the United States. Honeywell started building their plant a few years ago and has actually already opened their plant for business in May of this year. Their plant out of Geismar, Louisiana has now become the world’s largest site for producing 1234yf. Chemours isn’t as fast as Honeywell. They broke ground on their plant in February of this year and once their plant is finished it will triple their output potential on HFOs. Talk about an increase in supply.
  • The last point that I’m going to make before I get onto my prediction is the planned EPA phase out of the HFC R-134a. The EPA announced this phase out under their ‘SNAP Rule 20,’ program. It basically said that R-134a would be unacceptable for use in new vehicles starting at the 2021 model year.  While this Rule 20 from the EPA is contested in the courts right now the rest of the world is treating these phase outs as still active and ongoing. I am going to write my prediction here assuming that the EPA’s planned phase out stands. For more information on the EPA’s phase out of R-134a click here or you can read the excerpt from their site in the bulleted points below:
    • Unacceptable as of Model Year (MY) 2021, except where allowed under a narrowed use limit through MY 2025.
    • Acceptable, subject to narrowed use limits, for vehicles exported to countries with insufficient servicing infrastructure to support other alternatives, for MY 2021 through MY 2025.
    • Unacceptable for all newly manufactured vehicles as of MY 2026.

Pricing Predictions

I’ve been doing this price prediction articles for a few years now and it has given me a unique opportunity to see the trend in pricing of 1234yf over the years. Before I get into my prediction let’s take a quick look to see how the pricing has climbed over the years. Keep in mind that these prices are based off the standard 1234yf ten pound cylinder.

As you can see above folks the pricing on 1234yf has stayed pretty stable over the past few years. The only real increase I saw was this year and it was a very slight one at that. The price went up about ten dollars, or just over one percent. The thing to keep in mind here too is that this is the price of purchasing one ten pound cylinder. If you were to buy three, four, or even more you could easily get a price under that seven-hundred dollar mark.

Weighing the considerations I discussed above it basically boils down to will the new production facilities outweigh the demand for all of the new 1234yf vehicles on the road today? My thoughts are… yes. I believe that these new production facilities, especially Honeywell’s which has already opened, are going to increase the supply of YF refrigerant substantially and we could be looking at a lower price for 2018.

As time goes on and we get closer and closer to that 2020 (2021 Model Year) date for R-134a to go away we will definitely begin to see the price of 1234yf climb. More and more manufacturers will be using the new refrigerant the demand will be climbing and climbing.

As far as my prediction for 2018 I think we’ll see a slight decrease in pricing from where it’s at today for individual cylinders. With the new plant operating here in the states and another one set to open soon I think we’ll see prices go down about two to three percent in 2018. My predicted price is $690.00 for a ten pound cylinder of 1234yf.

Conclusion

Well folks that about covers it. I feel like this covers the most popular refrigerants on the market today but if you feel that I missed something or got something wrong then please do not hesitate to reach out to me with your feedback.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ