R-22

About a month ago I wrote an article about the falling price of R-22 refrigerant. This time of year it is very unusual to see the price of refrigerant falling, especially with how drastic R-22 has gone down over the past year. If we rewind to this time last year we were seeing prices around five-hundred to even six-hundred dollars a cylinder. In June of this year the price was around three-hundred and thirty dollars for a thirty pound cylinder and as I write this article in early August the price has remained right about the same.

While this price decrease is great for end users and consumers it has also hurt a lot of distributors and HVAC contractors out there. Refrigerant has always been a speculation game and while it is not as volatile as the oil market the price can change just as fast. In 2017 when the prices were sky high nearly everyone was thinking that the price would only go higher as we got closer and closer to the year 2020. You see, in 2020 the production and import of R-22 will be banned across the United States. This is in accordance to the Montreal Protocol to phase out CFC and HCFC refrigerants.

Most everyone’s thinking was that with 2020 only a few years away and the price on R-22 getting higher that the time to buy was now. Might as well get in early before the price gets so high it’s no longer reachable. So, a lot of folks bought up on R-22 during that 2017 season. In fact, this buy-up across the country contributed to the drastic price increase that we saw. Because of everyone was buying up the price jumped, but only temporarily. With refrigerants we always see the price jump in summer and then start to taper off and lower during the fall and winter season. (I always like to buy in December or January when the price is at it’s lowest.)

Well, what happened in the 2017/2018 winter is that the price dropped and dropped. More so then usual. All of the distributors and contractors now had a surplus of R-22. No one had a need to purchase any. This lack of demand continued towards spring and now into summer. The market had been flooded due to the ‘panicked’ buying of 2017. The usual slow uptick in price that we normally saw start in spring and into summer was gone and everyone was now stuck with the low three to four-hundred priced cylinders.

The Gamble

During the high priced 2017 year a lot of companies and individuals decided to gamble on the future pricing of R-22. It was a tough call and no one really knew what was going to happen, but if you succeeded then the rewards would be amazing. Imagine, buying a cylinder for five-hundred dollars in 2017 and then turning around and selling that same cylinder for eight or nine-hundred dollars just a year or two later. Now, times that cylinder by forty for a pallet of R-22. Then, times that pallet by twenty for a container shipment. That’s one-hundred and twenty-thousand in profit selling at eight-hundred a cylinder. At nine-hundred a cylinder you’re looking at one-hundred and sixty-thousand profit.

Hudson Stock Price
Hudson Stock Price

I can definitely see how that profit lured some people into purchasing large quantities of R-22, but there was a reason this was a gamble folks. The price bombed and now these companies are having to make the tough decision on rather to unload their R-22 inventory at a loss or to hold onto their stockpiles and hope for the best. Will the price go up by the time we hit 2020? Will they be able to make a profit, or at least break even?

One such company, Hudson Technologies, made this gamble and are now paying for it this summer. Now, I don’t know exactly how much they purchased but I do know they have a large surplus of R-22 just waiting for the price to climb back up. Their second quarter earnings report came out today and within those earnings I found something astonishing. Last quarter Hudson wrote off fourteen million dollars worth of inventory due to the decline in refrigerant pricing. Fourteen million! Remember, that is just a cost adjustment and not the ACTUAL value of their refrigerant inventory. Imagine the position they would be in if the price had climbed. That’s why they call it a gamble though folks.

Because of these inventory write offs, among other factors, the Hudson stock has gone down and down since the past year. As you can see in the picture to the right this time last year the stock was around nine dollars and now this year we’re under two dollars.

Investing into Hudson has been a hot topic lately in the refrigerant world and many people are buying it up due to the very low cost of the stock. The hope is that the R-22 price will begin to climb again and Hudson’s stock along with it. The good news is that even though Hudson had that inventory write off they still ended up breaking even for the second quarter. So, while the company itself isn’t in trouble, their R-22 inventory definitely is.

Hudson Tech shares have lost about 69.7% since the beginning of the year versus the S&P 500’s gain of 6.9%. – Source

Conclusion

The future of R-22 is anything but certain. As the summer moves on and we inch closer to fall the price of R-22 still remains stagnant. If I was to guess I would say that the price is going to go down even further as we approach winter. We may even end up seeing a flat three-hundred dollar price per cylinder around December and January. As for 2019 it is anybody’s guess. By then, many distributors surpluses may have run out and the price could start creeping up again.

Another factor to consider is that 2019 is the LAST summer season for R-22 before the ban takes hold. After January 1st, 2020 no more imports or production. We will only be left with reclaimed R-22 or alternatives. While 2019 may see an increase I do not foresee us reaching the levels we saw in 2017. Perhaps four to five-hundred a cylinder. The year 2020 will be a totally different story as the companies who do have their surplus refrigerant in reserve will began to release it in waves to offset the lack of production or imports. If done correctly, it will keep the market stable at a certain price. If done incorrectly, the market will be flooded just like it was back in 2017. Only time will tell what happens next.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

This time last year folks we were seeing the price for a thirty pound cylinder of R-22 hover around six-hundred dollars a cylinder. This price increase didn’t come to a surprise to a lot of people within the industry. We all knew that R-22 was being phased out and a price increase was inevitable. The only people who were shocked by this were the customers and end users!

The price climbed so high so fast that a lot of folks ended up buying up on R-22 just in case the price rose even further. It was an investment and a matter or protecting their profit margins. They figured if they could purchase at five or six-hundred dollars a cylinder before it climbed to seven or even eight-hundred dollars they would save themselves the extra cost and also allow themselves to make a bit more margin on their R-22 recharges. After all, if it was this bad in 2017, it could only get worse in 2018… right?

Wrong, unfortunately. Since late 2017 and all of 2018 the price of R-22 has come down and down. While this time last year we were at that six-hundred dollar price by the time the new year rolled around we were hovering between three-hundred and fifty to four-hundred dollars a cylinder. Initially, this price decrease wasn’t too concerning as we were in Winter and the price of refrigerant usually crashes during the cold season. Most people predicted that R-22 would ratchet back up in price as we headed closer towards Spring and Summer.

In fact, yet again, the opposite happened. Instead of seeing the price climb from the four-hundred price point we are now seeing prices hovering between three-hundred and three-hundred and twenty-five dollars per thirty pound cylinder. So, we are HALF the price on R-22 then what we saw this time last year. Those purchases that everyone made back in 2017 are looking pretty poor nowadays. Imagine trying to sell R-22 to a customer when you purchasing it back at the six-hundred dollar price. You’re either going to take a loss or take the criticism from your customer for gouging.

The question now on everyone’s mind is what is causing this decrease? Especially when R-22 is on the way out. Remember, there are only about eighteen months left before that looming 2020 deadline hits and no more imports or production on R-22 is allowed within the United States.

Alternatives

The main reason why R-22 pricing has begun to decrease this year is the large available options for R-22 alternatives. In the beginning back in 2010 when the R-22 phase down began there weren’t that many alternatives on the market. Now, over the years since the phase out occurred there are now numerous alternatives out there for R-22 machines. I won’t get into every one out there in this article but I will say that the R-22 market is hungry for low priced cheaper alternatives that require little retrofitting. A few of these are:

Now, most of these alternative refrigerants can be easily retrofitted to work in an existing R-22 machine. What that means is that your customers who want to hang onto their ‘dinosaur,’ R-22 units can get a cheaper refrigerant alternative for a small retrofit fee. Last year, when we were at that six-hundred dollar price per cylinder these alternatives looked pretty good. This year the alternatives have taken more of the market-share and the demand from existing R-22 units along with it. Because of this the demand for virgin R-22 has begun to shrink. Now, some of this shrink may just be due to older R-22 machines retiring and being replaced but another good portion of it is due to these alternative refrigerants.

Reclamation

Some people within the industry may say that reclamation industry on R-22 has caused a decrease in price this year, but I would have to take issue with that. For whatever reason, there is a stigma attached to reclaimed refrigerants. A lot of technicians and contractors just do not want to use them. They are seen as ‘dirty’ or unreliable. This attitude will need to be combated. I used to work in the auto industry and we saw the exact same mentality when it comes to remanufactured parts. Sure, the transmission is remanufactured, but I can assure you mister customer that it is still a quality product. Unfortunately, when it comes to reclaimed refrigerants I fear that we will have to sell each tech or contractor. A lot of times this can be done just by touring a reclaiming facility and seeing all of the processes and work that goes into cleaning a used refrigerant. This isn’t half-cocked product. It is done right and regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

While reclamation hasn’t caused a decrease in price on R-22 it is still a great source to get a bargain price on R-22. Most of the time you can get reclaimed refrigerants for ten to twenty percent lower then the standard price on an virgin R-22 cylinder. This may not mean much right now, but I can assure you folks that if the price rises again that ten percent may look pretty inviting.

Conclusion

What will the next eighteen months bring when it comes to R-22? As most of you know on January 1st, 2020 R-22 can no longer be imported or manufactured within the United States. That means that there are three solutions for a customer looking to repair their R-22 machine.

  1. Repair and recharge with virgin or reclaimed R-22
  2. Repair and retrofit an existing R-22 machine to accept an alternative R-22 product such as MO99.
  3. Replace the aging R-22 machine with a newer R-410A application.

What will this 2020 deadline do to R-22’s price? At this point folks it is very hard to tell or predict. We could see this three-hundred to four-hundred price last this year and throughout most of next year’s summer season. However, as we creep closer to Fall in 2019 I could see the price slowly starting to rise. When 2020 hits and the production is cut off we’re either going to have a panic that causes the price to sky-rocket back up to six-hundred or more dollars per cylinder or we’re going to see the price slowly creep up and level off around four or five-hundred dollars a cylinder. It is all a matter of how many people are using alternatives, reclaimed R-22, or who are just sick of their old unit and are replacing with a 410A model. Regardless of what happens remember that R-22 is dying and will soon be extinct. While the price may go high in 2020 it will not be sustainable as the demand for R-22 will decline with each passing year.

Also, if you’re interested in purchasing R-22 please visit our Bulk Purchasing page to receive a quote!

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

R-22 was one of the most popular refrigerants and longest used refrigerants in the world. In 2020 it will be phased out entirely across the United States but there are still so many people who have an R-22 unit for their home, office, or grocery store. Here are some of the most common questions that I see when it comes to R-22:

  • How Do I Know If My Unit Takes R-22 Refrigerant?
    • On the outside of your home air conditioner (The unit that sits outside) you should see a white tag with a bunch of information on it. Here is where you will find exactly what type of refrigerant your unit takes. Chances are though folks if your unit is from before 2010 that it is taking R-22 and if it is after 2010 then it is an R-410A unit.
  • Can I buy R-22 today without an Environmental Protection Agency license?
    • No, in order to purchase ANY quantity of R-22 you need to be 608 certified with the EPA. The only other way around this is by providing an intent to resale certificate. This certificate states that you will not actually use the product but that you are instead selling it to another end user. It will then be on you to collect the 608 certification of the person or business that you will be selling to.
  • Why is R-22 so expensive?
    • R-22’s extreme cost can be tied to the global phase-down and phase-out. It is already banned from being manufactured or imported in the European Union and here in the United States we only have until 2020 before it is also banned here. This upcoming ban has caused a shortage across the industry which has raised price. I do not see the price going down anytime soon.
  • When did the R-22 Phase-Down Begin?
    • The official phase-down began back in 2010. The phase-down was a tiered process and with each passing the year the belt tightens until we hit that 2020 deadline where no more imports or production can occur. Please refer to the phase out table that we provided in our ‘Points of Note’ section of this article.
  • Why was R-22 Phased Out?
    • R-22 was phased out due to the Chlorine that it contained. It was found that when R-22 was vented into the air either through a leak or venting that the Chlorine would float up and into the Ozone layer where it would not break down. The Chlorine then caused damage to the Ozone layer that alerted scientists.
  • Where Can I Get R-22 After 2020?
    • As I said above, R-22 will no longer be able to be imported or manufactured in the United States. Once this law is in effect there will be only two ways for you to obtain a cylinder:
      1. Purchase a ‘virgin,’ cylinder from someone who still has excess R-22 inventory in stock.
      2. Purchase ‘reclaimed’ R-22 refrigerant from a certified reclaimer. Reclaimed R-22 is refrigerant that was used previously and has since gone through a cleaning process so that it can be used again in a different machine.
  • What is the Alternative to R-22?
    • There are many alternative options to R-22. Some of these require you to retrofit your entire system in order to take the new refrigerant. While others, like DuPont’s MO99, require little action. I won’t get into too much detail here but I have written a couple articles on this topic which can be found by clicking below:
  • What Took R-22’s Place?
    • The HFC refrigerant known as R-410A was the selected R-22 replacement. As I write this article in 2018, R-410A is by far the fastest growing refrigerant market out there. While 410A does not harm the O-zone layer it does have a very high Global Warming Potential, or GWP. Because of this high GWP I do not see R-410A lasting more then ten or fifteen years. After that, a new, more climate friendly, alternative will appear in the marketplace.
  • If I Have An R-22 Unit Do I Need To Switch To An R-410A Machine?
    • You are not obligated to switch by any means. If you want to be more environmentally conscious, then by all means switch to a R-410A unit. If it was me I would hang onto my R-22 unit until something major breaks and you have a costly repair on your hands.
  • Should I Repair My R-22 Machine?
    • This is a tough decision. As the years go by and we get further and further away from 2010 the machines that are out there get older and older. So, if you repair your unit today and recharge with R-22 you could be facing the very same problem six months or a year down the road. Older machines tend to break more often and you could be upside down on your machine after only a couple of repairs. It may make sense to switch to a newer R-410A unit.
  • Can I Convert My R-22 Unit To Take R-410A?
    • No! R-410A, or Puron, operates at a MUCH higher pressure then R-22. If you were to put 410A into your existing R-22 system you could cause permanent damage.
  • Can I put R-22 Into My R-410A Machine?
    • No! Same thing goes. Your 410A machine is meant for just that, 410A. It is not meant for anything else.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

R-22 refrigerant, or Freon, was and still is one of the most popular refrigerants used in the world. R-22 is an HCFC refrigerant and can harm the Ozone layer. It was originally invented by a partnership with General Motors and the DuPont company all the way back in the 1930’s. These new CFC and HCFC refrigerants were known under the DuPont brand name Freon.

R-22, along with it’s sister product R-12, were one of the first mainstream refrigerants to be used across the country and the globe. It was found in varying applications including your home air conditioner, your supermarket freezers, all the way to your local hockey team’s ice rink. R-22’s efficiency, safety, and overall low cost caused an explosion of growth in the refrigeration and cooling industry.

It wasn’t until the late 1970’s and 1980’s when we found that all of this excessive  R-22 and R-12 usage was causing damage to the Ozone layer. The world reacted by having over one-hundred countries sign the Montreal Protocol treaty. Since then, we have all been working towards phasing out CFC and HCFC refrigerants entirely. As I write this article, in the Summer of 2018, we are quickly approaching the end of R-22.

The Facts

Name:R-22
Name - Scientific:Chlorodifluoromethane
Name (2):Difluoromonochloromethane
Name (3):HCFC-22
Name (4):Freon-22
Name (5):Genetron 22
Classification:HCFC Refrigerant
Chemistry:
Status:Phasing Down
Future:Phased Out Across US By 2020 Year.
Application:Residential & Commercial Air-Conditioning.
Application (2):Industrial Refrigeration, Chillers, and Centrifugal Compressors
Application (3):Commercial Refrigeration (Supermarkets), and Transport Refrigeration.
Replacement For:CFC R-12 Freon
Ozone Depletion Potential:0.055
Global Warming Potential:1,810
Toxicity Levels:A (No Toxicity Identified.)
Flammability Levels:Class 1 -No Flame Propagation.
Lubricant Required:Mineral Oil, also known as Alkyl Benzene.
Boiling Point:-40.7° Celsius or -41.3° Fahrenheit
Critical Temperature:96.14° Celsius or 205.05° Fahrenheit
Critical Pressure (Absolute):4,990 kPa
Manufacturers:Various Including: Honeywell, Chemours, Arkema, Mexichem, Chinese, etc.
Manufacturing Facilities:All Over Including: USA, Mexico, EU, China, and others.
Manufacturers (2):After 2020 No Imports or Manufacturing Allowed on R-22.
Form:Gas
Color:Colorless Liquid & Vapor
Odor:Sweetish
EPA Certification Required:Yes, 608 certification required.
Require Certification to Purchase?Yes, 608 certification required.
Cylinder Color:Light Green
Cylinder Design:
R-22 30 Pound Refrigerant Cylinder
R-22 30 Pound Refrigerant Cylinder
Cylinder Design (2):Thirty Pound Tank
Price Point:HIGH - $450-$550 Per Cylinder
Future Price Prediction:Very High -$600 And Up Per Cylinder
Where to Buy Can or Cylinder?Individual Cylinders Limited Due to EPA's 608 Certification.
Bulk Purchasing:CLICK FOR A QUOTE!

Points of Note

Alright folks so we’ve gone over some of the basic facts about R-22 but now let’s take a look at some of the more interesting points about this refrigerant:

  • R-22 along with R-12 were one of the fathers of the modern refrigeration industry. Sure, there were other refrigerants used before them, but these CFC and HCFC refrigerants were the true pioneers. Before they came we were either using Ammonia (R-717) or Carbon Dioxide (R-744) for most of our refrigeration needs. While these refrigerants did cool there were fundamental problems with them. Ammonia was toxic and very deadly if exposed to. So, you did not want to have an Ammonia refrigerator or an Ammonia home air conditioner. If a leak was to occur you could be putting your whole family in danger. While Carbon Dioxide is perfectly safe there was another problem that early engineers ran into. R-744 operated at a VERY high pressure. This high pressure caused components such as compressors, evaporators, and condensers to fail and fail again and again. That’s not even mentioning the hoses, seals, and o-rings constantly failing due to the high pressure. R-12 and R-22 provided a safe, cheap, low-pressure, and a cheap alternative to current refrigerants on the marketplace.
  • R-22 is a very diverse refrigerant and it can be found in numerous applications. During it’s peak time it could be found in your home air conditioner, your office air conditioner, your super market refrigerator and freezers, your local ice rink, even your local industrial plant. It’s versatility was amazing but the cost to the environment and the climate were too much.
  • I mentioned it briefly above but R-22 is being phased down and being phased out across the world. In fact, the United States is somewhat behind the ball when you compare us to other countries like the European Union. (They’ve had R-22 phased out for years.) R-22 contains Chlorine and Chlorine was found to damage the Ozone layer. Basically, what happens is an R-22 unit develops a leak in the system. This leak allows refrigerant to be vented out and into the environment where it slowly drifts upwards to the atmosphere and the Ozone layer. The Chlorine in these refrigerants do not break down and begin to corrode the Ozone layer. Venting can occur either through a natural system leak, or by accidentally venting of a refrigerant cylinder. This is why you have to be 608 certified in order to purchase and handle refrigerant. The EPA figures if you are 608 certified you at least know what you are doing and you have gone through the training to prevent venting. Regardless if you are certified or not there are very harsh consequences if you are found to be intentionally venting R-22 refrigerant into the environment.
  • R-22 is one of the longest serving refrigerants. It began to see use in the 1930’s and we still use it today. While the numbers are dwindling due to the phase out there are still millions of units out there as I write this article.
  • Please see below table for the R-22 United States’ Phase Out Schedule. (All credit goes to the EPA.gov website for the below table, Click here for the official source.)
    • 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%
    • As you can see folks by the above chart we are quickly approaching the end of R-22 here in the United States. I’m writing this article in the summer of 2018 and that means we only have about eighteen months before all imports and production of R-22 ceases.
  • Please be aware that due to these phase outs the cost of R-22 has gone up and up. The highest I’ve seen it was around seven-hundred dollars for a thirty pound cylinder. In the summer of 2018 the price has begun to fall again and is hovering around three-hundred and fifty to four-hundred dollars a cylinder. No one knows for sure what the market will do next year though. It could stay flat at this three-hundred and fifty price or it could jump on up to seven-hundred again.
  • While after 2020 you won’t be able to purchase ‘new’ virgin R-22 cylinders you will have a couple of options. A lot of vendors and distributors right now are going through the ‘R-22 Gamble.’ What I mean by that is there are businesses buying up R-22 by the pallet(s), or trailer loads, and then having the product sit in their warehouses. The hope here is that when 2020 rolls around the price of R-22 skyrockets and these companies can make a hell of a profit on their aged inventory. So, when 2020 hits you will have the option to buy virgin R-22 cylinders but you’ll be paying a pretty penny for them.
  • The other option for finding R-22 in post 2020 is what’s called refrigerant reclamation. Refrigerant Reclaimers are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency to clean used R-22 refrigerant so that it can be used again in a new machine. I’m hesitating to use the word ‘recycle,’ here as it means something different in the refrigerant world, but in essence that is what they are doing. They are recycling older used refrigerant that a technician recovered from an aging unit. The tech then takes this recovered refrigerant back to his office, dumps it in a tank, and then the bulk tank is sent to a refrigerant reclaimer to be cleaned and be made ready to use again. The good news here is that reclaimed R-22 will be cheaper then virgin bottles. The bad news is that to some people reclaimed refrigerant has a stigma attached to it. Two of the biggest reclaimers in the country are Hudson Technologies and A-Gas Americas.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Do I Know If My Unit Takes R-22 Refrigerant?
    • On the outside of your home air conditioner (The unit that sits outside) you should see a white tag with a bunch of information on it. Here is where you will find exactly what type of refrigerant your unit takes. Chances are though folks if your unit is from before 2010 that it is taking R-22 and if it is after 2010 then it is an R-410A unit.
  • Can I buy R-22 today without an Environmental Protection Agency license?
    • No, in order to purchase ANY quantity of R-22 you need to be 608 certified with the EPA. The only other way around this is by providing an intent to resale certificate. This certificate states that you will not actually use the product but that you are instead selling it to another end user. It will then be on you to collect the 608 certification of the person or business that you will be selling to.
  • Why is R-22 so expensive?
    • R-22’s extreme cost can be tied to the global phase-down and phase-out. It is already banned from being manufactured or imported in the European Union and here in the United States we only have until 2020 before it is also banned here. This upcoming ban has caused a shortage across the industry which has raised price. I do not see the price going down anytime soon.
  • When did the R-22 Phase-Down Begin?
    • The official phase-down began back in 2010. The phase-down was a tiered process and with each passing the year the belt tightens until we hit that 2020 deadline where no more imports or production can occur. Please refer to the phase out table that we provided in our ‘Points of Note’ section of this article.
  • Why was R-22 Phased Out?
    • R-22 was phased out due to the Chlorine that it contained. It was found that when R-22 was vented into the air either through a leak or venting that the Chlorine would float up and into the Ozone layer where it would not break down. The Chlorine then caused damage to the Ozone layer that alerted scientists.
  • Where Can I Get R-22 After 2020?
    • As I said above, R-22 will no longer be able to be imported or manufactured in the United States. Once this law is in effect there will be only two ways for you to obtain a cylinder:
      1. Purchase a ‘virgin,’ cylinder from someone who still has excess R-22 inventory in stock.
      2. Purchase ‘reclaimed’ R-22 refrigerant from a certified reclaimer. Reclaimed R-22 is refrigerant that was used previously and has since gone through a cleaning process so that it can be used again in a different machine.
  • What is the Alternative to R-22?
    • There are many alternative options to R-22. Some of these require you to retrofit your entire system in order to take the new refrigerant. While others, like DuPont’s MO99, require little action. I won’t get into too much detail here but I have written a couple articles on this topic which can be found by clicking below:
  • What Took R-22’s Place?
    • The HFC refrigerant known as R-410A was the selected R-22 replacement. As I write this article in 2018, R-410A is by far the fastest growing refrigerant market out there. While 410A does not harm the O-zone layer it does have a very high Global Warming Potential, or GWP. Because of this high GWP I do not see R-410A lasting more then ten or fifteen years. After that, a new, more climate friendly, alternative will appear in the marketplace.
  • If I Have An R-22 Unit Do I Need To Switch To An R-410A Machine?
    • You are not obligated to switch by any means. If you want to be more environmentally conscious, then by all means switch to a R-410A unit. If it was me I would hang onto my R-22 unit until something major breaks and you have a costly repair on your hands.
  • Should I Repair My R-22 Machine?
    • This is a tough decision. As the years go by and we get further and further away from 2010 the machines that are out there get older and older. So, if you repair your unit today and recharge with R-22 you could be facing the very same problem six months or a year down the road. Older machines tend to break more often and you could be upside down on your machine after only a couple of repairs. It may make sense to switch to a newer R-410A unit.
  • Can I Convert My R-22 Unit To Take R-410A?
    • No! R-410A, or Puron, operates at a MUCH higher pressure then R-22. If you were to put 410A into your existing R-22 system you could cause permanent damage.
  • Can I put R-22 Into My R-410A Machine?
    • No! Same thing goes. Your 410A machine is meant for just that, 410A. It is not meant for anything else.

History of R-22

Most of you may not read this section of the article but I have always been fascinated by history rather it’s world history or if it’s just the history on a refrigerant like R-22. Everything has a story and it is always fun to learn something new.

The Beginning

R-22 can trace it’s roots back all the way to the 1920’s and 1930’s. It, along with R-12 and R-11, were one of the very first ‘modern’ refrigerants. These refrigerants known under the classifications CFC and HCFC were a first of their kind. They were non-flammable, non-toxic, and were efficient. They answered all of the requirements for the ‘perfect’ refrigerant. These new classes of refrigerants were registered under the now famous DuPont brand name known as Freon.

These refrigerants were originally invented by a joint partnership of General Motors and the DuPont corporation in the late 1920’s.  The mass production of R-22 began in the mid 1930’s and exploded from there. When the 1950’s and 1960’s R-22 was found in nearly every home, office, super-market, and industrial area. technicians started and end their whole careers just dealing with R-22 refrigerant. That’s nothing like it is in today’s world. Nowadays you have a new refrigerant coming out every few months.

The Ozone

All was not perfect with this explosive growth of CFC and HCFC usage across the world. As the decades wore on and the growth continued scientists began to notice a startling effect of these refrigerants. It was in the 1980’s that a team of scientists out of California realized that all of the Chlorine that was in CFC and HCFC refrigerants were causing damage to the Ozone layer. When vented or leaked the refrigerant would drift up and into the atmosphere. It is there where the Chlorine would do it’s damage. Eventually it got so bad that a thinning of the Ozone layer began to form over the Arctic. The scientists noticing this sounded the alarm and the world’s governments took action by creating the Montreal Protocol.

The Montreal Protocol is a treaty that was signed in the late 1980’s by more then one-hundred countries. It’s goal was to rid the world of using Ozone depleting substances like CFC and HCFC refrigerants. This treaty was enacted in countries all over the world. The first target was CFC refrigerants such as R-12. In 1992 R-12 was phased out of the automotive market in the United States and was replaced with the newer HFC refrigerant known as R-134a. R-134a had the benefit of not containing Chlorine so with its usage there would be no danger to the Ozone layer. The next refrigerant to go was the CFC refrigerant known as R-502 in the mid 1990’s. As time went by there were other CFC and HCFC refrigerants phased out but the big change didn’t happen until 2010.

In 2010 is when the phase out of the ever popular HCFC R-22 refrigerant was to begin. At that date no new machines could be manufactured that took R-22 as a refrigerant. This was the line in the sand saying that there would be no more Chlorine containing refrigerants used. While 2010 was the beginning there was a schedule of set dates every five years that would slowly phase out R-22 entirely from the United States. A picture of this phase out schedule can be found below.

R-22 Phase Out Schedule - Courtney of EPA.gov
All Credit for this picture goes to the EPA’s Official Website

Enter HFCs

It seemed that the end of R-22 was near. But, what would replace this so widely diverse refrigerant? In 1991 the new HFC refrigerant R-410A was invented by the Honeywell Corporation. (Back then they were known by Allied Signal.) After invention Honeywell licensed production and manufacturing rights of 410A to other companies but even today Honeywell still continues to lead production and sales of 410A.

410A saw it’s first use in a residential air conditioning system all the way back in the year 1996. (Hard to believe that was over twenty years ago!)  The Carrier Corporation was the first company to introduce 410A into the residential marketplace and during that time they trademarked 410A as their brand name known as Puron.

While 410A could be found at homes in the early 2000’s it was sporadic. It wasn’t until we got closer and closer to the announced phase out date of R-22 that things began to pick up. Even though we were only a few years away from the phase out date there were still companies who had their heads buried in the sand and hadn’t bothered to train themselves or their technicians on the new technology. You can’t blame them really it’s human nature. The change was down the road and they would worry about it then.

In 2010 when the change did come into play and no new R-22 machines could be manufactured things began to get real for people. R-410A was the new refrigerant and it wasn’t going away, at least for a while. A lot of the old-timers out there got fed up with it all and decided to retire right around 2010. The younger guys or mid-career guys stuck around and got through the turbulent years. Today, in October of 2017, R-410A is one of the most widely used refrigerants in the world. It is used in the United States, the European Union, Japan, and many other countries. But what is it’s future? How long will it be around?

Conclusion

As I am writing this we are only about eighteen months away before the 2020 deadline hits for R-22. I write this article knowing that in a few years this will be a historical post used only as reference. There will so very few R-22 units out on the marketplace that new technicians will rarely come across them.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to answer all of your questions and concerns.

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

I came across an article the other day referencing a refrigerant that I hadn’t heard much about. My curiosity was peaked so I began researching the product, what it was, and what possibilities existed. The refrigerant’s official name is R-458A but most of you may know of it as Bluon TDX 20. The TDX 20 is a relatively new refrigerant that has only been around for a few years now. It was designed as a replacement for R-22, R-404A, and R-507A.

If there’s anything the market needs right now it is a safe, cheap, and easy alternative refrigerant for the aging R-22 machines out there. R-22 isn’t coming down in price folks and if anything it is going to jump even higher as we inch closer to that 2020 total phase out. We’re going to be left with three choices fairly soon. The first is scrounging around for reclaimed R-22 refrigerant, second is talking your customer into purchasing a new R-410A unit, and the third is alternatives. But, are there good alternatives out there? And are they legal?

The Details

Now, I know that there are a lot R-22 replacements out there but a lot of them have not been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. In fact I know of a few stories of refrigerant manufacturers selling unapproved SNAP refrigerants. I can assure you that it never ends well for them. One company out of Wichita ended up paying a one-hundred thousand dollar fine for selling unapproved R-404A alternatives. (Link to the article here.) This is where things can get tricky. You do not want to be responsible for using an unapproved alternative. Before using ANY alternative to R-22 you have to make sure that it is approved by the EPA’s SNAP. There are so many people out there looking to make a quick buck during this R-22 phase out and a lot of them do not care about established laws.

The good news here is that Bluon’s R-458A is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency to be used in commercial air conditioning, industrial process refrigeration, retail food refrigeration, as well as residential air conditioning including heat pump applications. In fact it was approved just last year on July, 21st, 2017. The link to the EPA’s official approval can be found at the bottom of this article in my sources header.

The TDX 20, or R-458A, is non Ozone depleting which is already a markeable improvement when compared to R-22. R-458A has a Global Warming Potential of one-thousand six-hundred and fifty. While that number is still quite high it is lower than R-22’s one-thousand eight-hundred and ten. (Nine percent better.) This refrigerant is also non-flammable and non-toxic. It receives an A1 for it’s safety rating. All of these facts are pretty standard but there is a very unique feature to this refrigerant that you don’t see elsewhere. TDX 20 is a blended HFC refrigerant made up of FIVE varying refrigerants. Yes, you heard me correctly. Five different refrigerants are blended to make R-458A. Some of these refrigerants you may very well recognize form dealing with other blends.

Bluon’s TDX 20 consists of 20.5% of R-32 (Difluromethane), 4.0 percent R-125, (Pentafluroethane), 61.4% R-134a (Tetrafluroethane), 13.5% R-226ea (Heptafluropropane), and 0.6% R-236fa (Hexafluropropane). These five varying refrigerants actually results in a five to twenty-five percent energy savings when compared to a standard R-22 application.

Something else that I noticed during my research is that this refrigerant actually comes with a warranty. You don’t see that everyday in this industry. From what I have read the refrigerant comes with a one year warranty on new machines and a ninety day warranty on existing machines. Now like with most warranties, any claim is subject to Bluon’s approval. More on Bluon’s warranty policy can be found by clicking here.

Retrofitting

The thing that really caught my attention on this R-22 alternative is that it is a drop-in replacement. Now I’ve seen the words drop in and retrofit thrown around a lot over the past couple years. If there is any confusion on the difference let me explain. A drop-in is just that. You take out the old refrigerant and put in the new alternative. After that you are done. With a retrofit you will have change or replace key components of the machine in order for it to safely use your new alternative refrigerant. Retrofits are where things can get quite expensive for you and the customer.

The R-458A is a simple drop in. There are no equipment modifications required. In fact all there is to it is removing the old R-22, vacuuming out the system, and then recharging the unit with the TDX 20 replacement product. On a standard residential unit the job will take around three to four hours to complete. (Obviously, larger units will take more time.) Now, what I gave you above was a quick step process but please be aware that there are some more steps to a full conversion. If you are looking for a guide then I highly recommend watching the Bluon HVAC offical retrofitting video found below. They made it look easy!

Conclusion

So after writing this article about Bluon’s refrigerant I was only left with one question that I couldn’t get an answer for. What is the price on this product? Is it the same or even higher than R-22? If so, then why bother with it? To me the only thing this refrigerant is missing is a great price point and as I write this it very well may but I honestly couldn’t find much information about pricing. From the literature that I have read the product is marketed as significantly less expensive then R-22, but I am still wondering how much less expensive. Is it negligible, or is there a significant savings to the customer?

Lastly, before closing this article I wanted to reiterate that if you are converting a unit from R-22 over to R-458A to please please please re-label the machine once you are done with your work. There is nothing worse then coming to a site and beginning to work on a unit only to find that there is a completely different refrigerant in the machine then what the label says. Just like they teach us in elementary school, ‘Think of others!’

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson
RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Well folks I can’t say that I am surprised by this news. For some people out there the opportunity for immense profit outweighs all things, including ethics. I’ve seen this before in other countries. In fact three years ago I wrote an article on how Russia found twenty tons of R-22 refrigerant on the dock at their customs. In every instance that I have seen this I have found two consistencies. The first is that these R-22 refrigerants are disguised as R-134a cylinders. The second is that these smuggled cylinders always end up coming from China. I’m not saying Chinese refrigerant is bad product by any means, but I will say that there are definitely some bad apples over there who do not care about the law, ethics, or the environment.

What makes this latest case so interesting is that it happened here in America. An Orange County man, Mahmoud Alkabbani, pleaded guilty to federal charges of illegally importing and selling R-22 refrigerant. While importing R-22 isn’t illegal it is highly regulated and only so much per year can be manufactured or imported. Most of you already know why this refrigerant is regulated, so I won’t get into it. Suffice to say, it damages the Ozone layer and it began to phase down back in 2010. Ever since that date the price on R-22 has risen and risen.

To get around these regulations Mahmoud had the bright idea of disguising the R-22 as R-134a. On top of that he also had a fraudulent brand trademark of ‘Glacier,’ added to the cylinders. After an agreement was made with a Chinese refrigerant company back in 2013 Mahmoud then purchased four-thousand cylinders of disguised R-22. Once he had the product in hand Mahmoud began selling it online on channels such as E-Bay and Amazon as well as other avenues. He was selling these cylinders at ten times the value of what he had purchased, which is what I expected. Lots of profit to be made.

In that same year, 2013, Mahmoud was approached by an undercover government agent looking to purchase R-22. They negotiated a deal to sell four cylinders to the agent at three-hundred and thirty dollars a cylinder. During the meeting and exchanging of product Mahmoud stated that he could get as much R-22 as the buyer/agent needed. I hate to interrupt the story here but I am still slightly amazed that we have undercover government agents looking for fraudulent refrigerant. Obviously, it is necessary, but I just find myself shaking my head that the government has to do this.

In the summer of 2017 Mahmoud was arrested on returning to the country. (Most likely he was on his way back from another China visit.) Upon arrest he faced a nine count indictment that included conspiracy, five counts of passing fraudulent paperwork through customs, one count of making false statements, smuggling, and violating the Clean Air Act. Last week Mahmoud pleaded guilty. He will be sentenced on June 13th but he faces up to ten years in prison.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again the Environmental Protection Agency and other government agencies do not mess around when it comes to the Clean Air Act and Refrigerant Sales Restrictions. I say this but there are so many people flagrantly breaking the law by selling products on Craigslist or E-Bay without asking for any type of 608/609 licensing requirement. There are even companies out there marketing their ‘R-22 replacement refrigerant,’ as safe and SNAP approved.

I don’t care if it’s selling refrigerant without obtaining a license, selling non-approved refrigerants, or smuggling in R-22. The point is that if the government finds out, which they most likely will, then these people are going to soon realize that a short term profit is not going to outweigh a hefty fine or even jail time from the Federal Government.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

 

Hello ladies and gentlemen! As we begin to enter the 2018 spring and summer season I would like to remind everyone that here at RefrigerantHQ we offer very competitive bulk purchasing options. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for one pallet or twenty pallets, we can provide you with a quote and get the ball rolling to solidify your business. While we offer all of the traditional refrigerants such as R-22, R-404A, R-410A, and R-134a we also offer some of the less common refrigerants such as the new HFO 1234yf, R-290 Propane, R-744 CO2, and any other refrigerant that you find yourselves needing.

Remember now folks that the best time to purchase refrigerants is in the winter, but since the winter is nearly over and we are now in the month of March the second best time to buy is now! I remember back when I was a purchaser for a larger dealership chain. Our goal was to always, and I mean always, buy up our refrigerant in February and March. No one knows for sure what the summer season will bring but one thing is for certain: The price will most definitely go up. Why run out of product and pay that higher price in the summer when your customers are screaming for cold air? Buy up now and have the peace of mind that you are safe for the upcoming season.

Something else to keep in mind for this upcoming season is that with the new Environmental Protection Agency regulations you now have to be 608/609 certified with the EPA in order to purchase HFC refrigerants such as R-134a, R-410A, and R-404A. This new law is going to cause a lot of previous buyers to be out of luck. Their source of refrigerant is now cut off. Now some of these guys may take the time to get certified but I have a feeling a lot of them are going to turn towards contractors or distributors to get their refrigerant needs. That means more demand. Will you be ready?

If you are interested in purchasing a pallet or two of refrigerant please fill out our bulk purchasing form below and we will get you in contact with a quote at a competitive price.

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

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

 

Hello folks and welcome! Today on RerigerantHQ we will be comparing the main differences between the HCFC R-22 refrigerant to the newer HFC R-410A refrigerant. R-410A has been around for nearly ten years now but there are still so many questions asked about it. How is it different from R-22? What do I need to know? Can I use the same tools? Can I retrofit a R-22 over to a R-410A?

Rather than going over every single question that could be asked I am going to give a simple highlighted article  in an attempt to answer some of the more popular questions. If I missed something let me know.

The Differences

  • Unlike R-22 the new R-410A is a blended refrigerant mixed up of R-32 and R-125. In some instances blended refrigerants act differently then single refrigerants. We will get into that further on down this list.
  • R-410A is actually more efficient at absorbing heat then R-22. What that means is that your air conditioner won’t work as hard and your home will stay cooler all the while saving on your power bills.
  • 410A operates at a much higher pressure than R-22, between fifty to sixty percent higher. To accommodate this increased pressure the compressors and other components are built to withstand the greater stress. Some people describe these components as having a ‘thicker wall.’ If you were to use an R-22 compressor on a 410A application your compressor would blow it’s head! The extra toughness of these components come with the extra bonus of ensuring a longer life of your air conditioner.
  • Because of the higher pressure of Puron you will need to have special tools in order to service the unit. I will go into this further in the tools section but I wanted to point it out now. R-22 tools will NOT work on 410A!
  • Instead of the mineral oil lubricant you would use for R-22 you will be using a synthetic oil called Polyol Ester Oil, or POE. This oil is actually more soluble with R-410A which causes your compressor and your system to operate more efficiently. R-22 oil will not flow through a 410A system and will most likely end up accumulating in your evaporator.
  • The new synthetic oil, POE, mentioned above absorbs moisture at a much faster rate than mineral oil. Because of this the time allowed for the compressor to be exposed to the atmosphere is much much shorter than what you may be used to for R-22. Best practice is to ensure everything is set and ready before pulling the plugs on the compressor.
  • Because R-22 is a single refrigerant and not a blend there was never any risk of a temperature glide. But, with R-410a since it is a blended refrigerant of R-32 and R-125 there will be a glide during refrigerant state changes. This is because the two refrigerants have different state change points. While I say this, the actual glide temperature difference for 410A is rather minimal at <0.5° Fahrenheit.  For more information on glide temp differences please click here to read an instructional document from Chemours.
  • Also, Since R-410A is a blended refrigerant it is best to evacuate the refrigerant as a liquid.  This ensures optimum and consistent performance. This is recommended by Chemours and other leading manufacturers.
  • Some techs have asked if they can retrofit an R-22 system over to an R-410A. The answer is yes, and no. It can be done but it is not cost effective or recommended. Instead Chemours has provided an alternative drop-in replacement to be used as a substitute to R-22. This refrigerant is known as MO99. Chemours has provided an instructional video on how to retrofit your existing unit to take MO99. If you are interested in purchasing MO99 please click here to be taken to Amazon.com.
  • Lastly, it is VERY important that when replacing components on an R-410A unit rather they be reversing valves, expansion valves, driers, compressors, or whatever you have to make sure that the replacement you are installing is rated for R-410A usage. If they are not and they are exposed to the high pressure of R-410A you will have a failure, perhaps even a catastrophic failure.

Recommended 410A Tools

As we stated before the pressure rating on 410A is much higher then R-22. With this higher pressure from 410A comes a need for new tools. Let’s take a look:

  • Manifold Gauge Set – The high pressures encountered when working R-410A requires a manifold gauge set that has a low-side gauge that can read up to 500 PSIG and a high side gauge that can read up to 800 PSIG. This is significantly higher than a standard manifold set. There are many versions of gauges out there and by now I will imagine most of them meet 410A requirements. Here at RefrigerantHQ we recommend Yellow Jacket’s 49967 Manifold Gauge set. This is set is rated for both R-22 and R-410A along with a host of other refrigerants. Yellow Jacket’s official product flyer can be found by clicking here.
  • Hoses – Hoses used on 410A applications should be UL recognized and have a minimum of 800 PSI working pressure and a 4,000 PSI burst. This covers you by providing a five to one safety factor. I will refer to the recommended gauge set above as it comes with a set of four hoses as well. If you need to purchase additional hoses then again I would suggest the Yellow Jacket hose which can be bought on Amazon by clicking here.
  • Flaring Tools – Depending on the unit you are working on you may find that you need to flare some of the tubes in order to get everything to fit correctly. While your existing flaring tool may work there is a chance of leaks when working with R-410A due to the pressure. There are flaring tools specifically designed for R-410A that will allow for ease of use and minimize chance of leaks. Our pick at RefrigerantHQ is Yellow Jacket’s 60278 410A Flaring Tool. You can purchase one on Amazon.comand you can also find an instructional video by clicking here.
  • Refrigerant Leak detector – There are so many leak detectors out there on the market today it can be a little confusing. Most of them by now can detect R-410A along with other HFC refrigerants. To make things a little bit easier I put together a price point comparison table that can be found by clicking here. This will give you the option to pick a detector that will work for you as well as stay in your budget.
  • Recovery Cylinders – Recovery cylinders need to be rated to at least 400 DOT. A standard DOT 350 cylinder will not be able to safely handle the pressures of R-410A. Here at RefrigerantHQ we recommend that you purchase the Mastercool 62010 thirty pound recovery cylinder. This is a highly rated tank that can handle the high pressures of 410A refrigerant.
  • Recovery Machine – A recovery machine for 410A must be approved for Class V refrigerants including R-407C, R-404A, R-507, and R-410A per AHRI 740-98. The recovery machine should have the following features: over sized condenser, over sized fan, crankcase pressure regulator valve, and a high pressure cutout switch rated for at least 510 PSI. (Source from Yellowacket.com) Here at RefrigerantHQ we recommend that you purchase the Robinair RG3 Portable Recovery Machine. This is an overall great unit with tons of positive reviews and it can handle the pressures of 410A without a problem.

Conclusion

I know I may be a little behind the times here on getting this article out but I still wanted to publish and let anyone who still had some questions on their mind to get them answered.

Thanks for reading and as always if you see something that I missed or something that is incorrect please do not hesitate to contact me by clicking here.

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Since the phase-out of R-22 began in 2010 the cost has risen exponentially as each year passed by. In the year 2015 the price jumped even higher due to tougher import and production restrictions put in place by the Federal Government. That’s not the worst of it though folks, not by far. When the year 2020 hits, which it is quickly approaching, R-22 refrigerant will no longer be allowed to be imported or manufactured here in the United States. If you think the price is bad now at six-hundred dollars for a thirty-pound cylinder just wait until the year 2020. I would fully expect R-22 to go the route of R-12 and quickly reach over $1,000 a cylinder.

With the price jumping up like this and the scarcity of R-22 in the marketplace homeowners and business owners are left with a tough decision when their air conditioner begins to leak refrigerant. Sure, if they have a leak they can call a tech out and get the leak repaired but that isn’t the expensive part. If you have an older R-22 unit then you are in for a world of hurt when it comes to refilling your unit’s refrigerant. (Most units manufactured before 2010 are R-22 units, anything after 2010 is most likely going to be an R-410A HFC unit.)

Remember that six-hundred dollar price for thirty pounds of refrigerant? Well, that’s pretty close to a wholesale cost. Your contractor or tech needs to make money on the deal as well so there is going to be markup. You may end up getting quoted close to one-hundred dollars a pound to refill your unit. If you have a standard three or four ton unit you then you are possibly looking at ten to twelve pounds, or twelve-hundred dollars just to refill. That’s not even counting the other repairs needed. At this point most homeowners are faced with the tough decision to either pay the steep cost and hope that their unit doesn’t form another leak, or they purchase a newer HFC R-410A unit.

The Third Option

There is a third option for homeowners or business owners who are faced with this decision. When all of this phase-out began there was a rush of imported and locally manufactured R-22 replacements. Most of the time these replacements weren’t replacements at all. They either required an extreme amount of retrofitting just to get your unit to accept the new refrigerant, they were just as expensive as R-22, or they weren’t approved by the EPA and could cause extreme safety risks like fires or explosions.

In fact there was one company here in the United States, Enviro-Safe Refrigerants, out of Illinois that got fined by the EPA for the amount of $300,000. What did they do wrong? What did they do to get the wrath of the EPA on them? They were selling R-22a refrigerants. I wrote about this at the time, my article can be found by clicking here. Now according to the EPA R-22a refrigerants are a hydrocarbon blend usually consisting of high concentrations of Propane and Butane. After reading that you can guess why the EPA isn’t a fan of these refrigerants. The ANSI/ASHRAE rates these refrigerants as a class 3 in flammability. There is a huge chance of explosion especially if you get Jo-Smo homeowner who is trying to do his own repair. The EPA has a full article on the dangers of R-22a and the actions they have taken against companies trying to sell this refrigerant. It can be found by clicking here.

The EPA can’t catch everything and everyone trying to sell this dangerous refrigerant replacement marketed towards R-22. I’m sure if you scoured the net today and searched for R-22a you could find some. It may even be under a different name or hell they may be as bold as to just market it as R-290 Propane and say that it’s a drop in for R-22.

DuPont/Chemour’s MO99 Alternative

In my opinion there is only one safe and trustworthy R-22 alternative refrigerant on the market today and that is Chemour’s MO99 refrigerant. (For those of you who don’t know DuPont split into two companies a few years back and they moved all of their refrigerant manufacturing over to the Chemours company.) This MO99 refrigerant is designed to be a drop in R-22 replacement. The thing about this type of refrigerant and the reason you hear it brought up all the time when looking for R-22 replacement is that it is the closest alternative refrigerant when it comes to capacity and efficiency. On top of that it is compatible with all of your standard lubricants as well as newer lubricants on the market. The best part about this alternative R-22 is that it is safe! There are no hydrocarbons here instead MO99 is an HFC refrigerant. You know… the refrigerants we deal with on a daily basis such as R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A.

MO99 offers the consumer and HVAC tech a lower cost alternative. Right now MO99 is going for about $300.00 per cylinder on Amazon.com. You will end up paying half the cost for a cylinder of MO99 then you would for R-22. Hell, the way prices are going you may even end up paying a quarter for MO99 over R-22. If you are the homeowner or business owner you just saved yourself a boat load of money and if you are a tech you can help your customer out while still making a decent markup.

Conclusion

The last big step when using an R-22 alternative like MO99 is retrofitting your unit. Remember now, I said that MO99 is a near drop in for R-22. There are still guidelines and rules that need to be followed to ensure everything is done correctly. Now folks, I am by no means an expert when it comes to retrofitting your old R-22 unit to accept the new MO99 replacement. Instead of me fumbling my way through trying to guide you through the process I will instead link to Chemour’s official website where they have step by step instructions on how to retrofit your old unit.

Last but not least, if you are looking to purchase a cylinder or two of MO99 I highly recommend you check out our Amazon partner by clicking here. However, if you are looking to buy a pallet or even more then please visit our bulk purchasing page and fill out quote request form.

Thanks for visiting and happy shopping!

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

THE CHEMOURS COMPANY R-438AX25 Isceon Mo99 Refrigerant 25 lb Disposable Cylinder (Tools & Home Improvement)

Isceon Mo99 refrigerant (r-438a), 25 lb. Disposable cylinder.

List Price: $259.95 USD
New From: $259.95 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

Isceon MO99

MO99 ISCEON Refrigerant R22 Drop-In Replacement

List Price: $256.00 USD
New From: $256.00 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

Hello ladies and gentlemen! I hope everyone had a fun Christmas. I spent all day yesterday putting together a gigantic dollhouse for my girls and today it is back to the grind.

Earlier this month I wrote a few articles on what the pricing of R-22 is right now and what it will be in 2017. As expected the cost of R-22 is only going up and up. About twelve months ago the price was about $300 per thirty pound cylinder. As I write this the current price is about $700 for a thirty pound cylinder. That is a one-hundred and thirty-three percent increase. That is huge!

But wait, there’s more! Next year the price is expected to rise again. My prediction on the price this time next year is close to $900 per thirty pound cylinder. By the year 2020 ninety-nine percent of R-22 will be gone by federal law. (The federal government is slowly phasing out R-22 across the country.)

Question

If you still have an old R-22 unit then the question that I have for you is what are you waiting for? Now is the time to replace your old system with the newer more efficient R-410A. Just in case you’re not convinced to do it here are a few reasons why:

  • If your old R-22 system has a leak in it you are responsible for repairing the leak and for refilling the refrigerant that leaked out. In some cases this could be as much as twelve pounds of refrigerant needed. This where the before mentioned price of $700 per thirty pound cylinder comes into play. That’s $23.33 a pound of refrigerant. $23.33 times twelve pounds equals out to $280.00. That $280 is without any markup on it and most of the time contractors mark up refrigerant awfully high. (It is one of their money makers.) Let’s say their is sixty percent mark up on that R-22 that you need. You’re looking at $466.67 just to refill your unit with refrigerant. If you had a R-410A machine you would be looking at $84 WITH the same sixty percent mark up. That is a substantial savings between the two refrigerants. Each year you wait the cost to refill will get greater and greater.
  • Along with the cost of refilling your older unit you will also see a cost savings per month on the overall efficiency of a 410A unit.  This is due to the system using a synthetic oil rather than a mineral oil. The synthetic oil more soluble with 410A than R-22. This means that the 410A system operates more efficiently saving you money and reducing overall wear on the machine.
  • Along with the oils 410A is just overall more efficient than it’s R-22 counterpart. The 410A is more efficient because it absorbs and release more heat than R-22. Because it can release more heat than R-22 the 410A’s compressor runs cooler reducing the risk of burnout or failure due to overheating which translates into saving you money.
  • First quarter of 2017 is the time to make the switch. If you are like me than first quarter is when you get your tax return. My wife and I have two children dependents and when tax time comes around we are handed five-thousand dollars from the government. (Yes, I know this was my money anyways.) We use this money to make large purchases either for the house or on a new car. Last year we used it to purchase a new 410A unit. What motivated me to buy was that there were companies advertising buy a new air conditioner and get the furnace free. The furnace and the air conditioner both came with a ten year parts and labor warranty as well. The deal seemed to good to pass up. I am absolutely positive that if you shop around in 2017’s first quarter you will see similar deals in your area.

Conclusion

If you get one thing from this article than it is: Make the switch to 410A NOW! The initial expense will hurt a bit in the beginning but once you bite the bullet and do it you’ll find that you’ll have a more comfortable climate, more efficient machine, savings per month, and savings on repairs if the worst happens and your unit breaks down.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

Owner.

2017 Price Per Pound Refrigerant

Hello ladies and gentlemen! It looks like another year is passing us by again and with another year comes a whole other set of possibilities. As I write this article it is twenty odd something degrees outside and we’re expecting some snow in Kansas City tomorrow. Some may say it’s a funny time to write an article on refrigerants but I say what better time is there than this? When the cold wind is blowing and the snow is falling I find that my mind is thinking on what the price of refrigerant is going to do next year. Maybe that says more about me than it should.

Anyways, over the past few years I have written multiple articles detailing the exact price per pound on refrigerant. Each article has been met with astounding success and I feel that it is my duty to write another article for the upcoming 2017 year. This may be a long winded post and if you are in a hurry with the contractor standing over you shoulder I suggest you scroll down and look for for the bold text. That will give you the breakdown that you need. If you’re here to read the article in full than by all means read on my friend.

Know This Before Purchasing

You’re Paying for Knowledge

The information that I am going to give you in this article is the exact price per pound that your contractor or your mechanic is paying. Now, we may be off by a few dollars here and there depending on when they bought their product but we are more or less right in line with their cost. There is a fine line to walk here as you are paying your contractor or mechanic for not only their labor but also for their expertise. Do you know how to flush the system? Do you know what refrigerants can be vented and which cannot? In some instances you may not even legally be able to buy the type of refrigerant that you need. (R-22 comes to mind.) While you may have their cost you also need to use the consideration and the common decency to accept their mark up. They need to make a living just as much as you do. The balancing act here is determining what is a fair mark up and what is price gouging. It is up to you to walk that line and negotiate the best price. All I’m here for is to give you the information.

Your AC Unit is a Closed System

Before your purchase any refrigerant either for yourself or from a contractor you need to realize that the refrigerant in your air conditioning unit is in a closed system. What that means is that the refrigerant is an endless cycle from gas to liquid from gas to liquid. This cycle repeats forever as shown in the below picture.

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

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

Old R-22 Machines

For those of you who do not know the old HCFC R-22 refrigerant was phased out in 2010. What this means is that no new air conditioning machines can be manufactured with R-22 as of 2010 or greater. This was done in accordance to the Montreal Protocol due to the Chlorine that the R-22 Freon contained. The Chlorine was found to be burning a hole in the O-Zone layer. (Come to find out that is a bad thing.) The phase out was staggered over many years and with each year that passes the price on R-22 climbs and climbs. I remember a few years ago where it was going for two-hundred for a full cylinder and now you can’t buy a cylinder for less than six-hundred dollars. It has gotten to the point now that if your unit is completely out of R-22 refrigerant due to a leak it may make more sense for you to just buy a new machine entirely and make the leap over to the 410A HFC.

Alright, so now that is out of the way let’s dive into the numbers:

R-22 Refrigerant Price Per Pound 2017

Ok, so you’ve got an R-22 unit that needs a refill. The rule of thumb that I like to use when checking prices is rather easy. I simply go to Amazon and E-Bay  and physically check the price of the refrigerant there. These prices are more or less in line with each other. There may be a few outliers here and there but for the most part they should average out to about the same price. As I write this article in mid December 2016 the price on Amazon and E-Bay on R-22 is between $500-$650 for a thirty pound cylinder. There were some upwards to $800 but in this example I am going to use the price of $700.00 for a thirty pound cylinder. You can do the math later and get your own numbers.

Alright, so let’s get to it:

$700 / 30 lbs of refrigerant per cylinder = $23.33 per pound.

The standard amount of refrigerant needed per unit is two to four pounds of refrigerant per ton of your air conditioning unit. (You should always check the exact specifications of your machine, but most of the time the two to four pound guideline will be sufficient.) Most home air conditioners are between one ton and five tons. (Anything over five tons is considered a commercial grade unit.)

So, let’s get on with our math problem. Let’s pretend that you have a middle of the road three ton air conditioning unit that is on the fritz with no refrigerant in it. In order to refill your unit entirely you will need the following:

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

12 pounds of refrigerant times the $23.33 per pound number we came up with earlier = $279.96 for a completely fill up of your unit.

As I stated before please note that this cost is at or will be very nearly at the cost of your contractor. You will need to account for his markup in this, otherwise why is he even there? (Please note that if you want to purchase a cylinder of R-22 refrigerant yourself you will need to be 608 certified with the Environmental Protection Agency before you are eligible to purchase.)

Thanks for reading and visiting,

Alec Johnson

Owner.

2017 Price Per Pound Refrigerant

Hello ladies and gentlemen! It looks like another year is passing us by again and with another year comes a whole other set of possibilities. As I write this article it is twenty odd something degrees outside and we’re expecting some snow in Kansas City tomorrow. Some may say it’s a funny time to write an article on refrigerants but I say what better time is there than this? When the cold wind is blowing and the snow is falling I find that my mind is thinking on what the price of refrigerant is going to do next year. Maybe that says more about me than it should.

Anyways, over the past few years I have written multiple articles detailing the exact price per pound on refrigerant. Each article has been met with astounding success and I feel that it is my duty to write another article for the upcoming 2017 year. Instead of writing multiple articles on the varying types of refrigerant I am instead going to focus on the three most common refrigerants in the market today in one large post. This may be a long winded post and if you are in a hurry with the contractor standing over you shoulder I suggest you scroll down to the refrigerant that you are looking for and look for the bold text. That will give you the breakdown that you need. If you’re here to read the article in full than by all means read on my friend.

Know This Before Purchasing

You’re Paying for Knowledge

The information that I am going to give you in this article is the exact price per pound that your contractor or your mechanic is paying. Now, we may be off by a few dollars here and there depending on when they bought their product but we are more or less right in line with their cost. There is a fine line to walk here as you are paying your contractor or mechanic for not only their labor but also for their expertise. Do you know how to flush the system? Do you know what refrigerants can be vented and which cannot? In some instances you may not even legally be able to buy the type of refrigerant that you need. (R-22 comes to mind.) While you may have their cost you also need to use the consideration and the common decency to accept their mark up. They need to make a living just as much as you do. The balancing act here is determining what is a fair mark up and what is price gouging. It is up to you to walk that line and negotiate the best price. All I’m here for is to give you the information.

Your AC Unit is a Closed System

Before your purchase any refrigerant either for yourself or from a contractor you need to realize that the refrigerant in your air conditioning unit is in a closed system. What that means is that the refrigerant is an endless cycle from gas to liquid from gas to liquid. This cycle repeats forever as shown in the below picture.

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

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

Old R-22 Machines

For those of you who do not know the old HCFC R-22 refrigerant was phased out in 2010. What this means is that no new air conditioning machines can be manufactured with R-22 as of 2010 or greater. This was done in accordance to the Montreal Protocol due to the Chlorine that the R-22 Freon contained. The Chlorine was found to be burning a hole in the O-Zone layer. (Come to find out that is a bad thing.) The phase out was staggered over many years and with each year that passes the price on R-22 climbs and climbs. I remember a few years ago where it was going for two-hundred for a full cylinder and now you can’t buy a cylinder for less than six-hundred dollars. It has gotten to the point now that if your unit is completely out of R-22 refrigerant due to a leak it may make more sense for you to just buy a new machine entirely and make the leap over to the 410A HFC.

Alright, so now that is out of the way let’s dive into the numbers:

R-22 Refrigerant Price Per Pound 2017

Ok, so you’ve got an R-22 unit that needs a refill. The rule of thumb that I like to use when checking prices is rather easy. I simply go to Amazon and E-Bay  and physically check the price of the refrigerant there. These prices are more or less in line with each other. There may be a few outliers here and there but for the most part they should average out to about the same price. As I write this article in mid December 2016 the price on Amazon and E-Bay on R-22 is between $500-$650 for a thirty pound cylinder. There were some upwards to $800 but in this example I am going to use the price of $700.00 for a thirty pound cylinder. You can do the math later and get your own numbers.

Alright, so let’s get to it:

$700 / 30 lbs of refrigerant per cylinder = $23.33 per pound.

The standard amount of refrigerant needed per unit is two to four pounds of refrigerant per ton of your air conditioning unit. (You should always check the exact specifications of your machine, but most of the time the two to four pound guideline will be sufficient.) Most home air conditioners are between one ton and five tons. (Anything over five tons is considered a commercial grade unit.)

So, let’s get on with our math problem. Let’s pretend that you have a middle of the road three ton air conditioning unit that is on the fritz with no refrigerant in it. In order to refill your unit entirely you will need the following:

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

12 pounds of refrigerant times the $23.33 per pound number we came up with earlier = $279.96 for a completely fill up of your unit.

As I stated before please note that this cost is at or will be very nearly at the cost of your contractor. You will need to account for his markup in this, otherwise why is he even there? (Please note that if you want to purchase a cylinder of R-22 refrigerant yourself you will need to be 608 certified with the Environmental Protection Agency before you are eligible to purchase.)

R-410A Refrigerant Price Per Pound 2017

Well folks, here’s the good news. If you’ve got a 410A unit you are in much better shape than those poor souls who still have their old R-22 unit cranking away. 410A is much cheaper than R-22 and over the years since it’s major debut the price has remained relatively stable. 410A is overall more efficient, costs less, and best of all it can be bought by you, me, or anyone else. There are no certifications required to purchase 410A. (Click here to view the EPA’s website stating just that.) It is worth noting that as of January 1st, 2018 you will need to be certified to buy HFCs but for 2017 you can still purchase yourself.

Let’s get down to business. Much like I did for the R-22 section above I am going to defer to Amazon and E-Bay to get my price average on a twenty-five pound cylinder of R-410A/Puron refrigerant. As I write this in mid-December 2016 the price looks to be between $120-$150 per twenty-five pound cylinder. For argument’s sake I’m going to use the highest cost, $150. Let’s do the math together:

$150 / 25 lbs of refrigerant per cylinder = $6.00 per pound of refrigerant.

Now that we have the price per pound let’s factor in how much refrigerant the typical residential machine needs. The standard amount of refrigerant needed per unit is two to four pounds of refrigerant per ton of your air conditioning unit. (You should always check the exact specifications of your machine, but most of the time the two to four pound guideline will be sufficient.) Most home air conditioners are between one ton and five tons. (Anything over five tons is considered a commercial grade unit.)

Again, let’s use the medium sized three ton air conditioner example. Ready? Let’s do some more math:

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

12 pounds of refrigerant times the $6.00 per pound number we came up with earlier = $72.00 for a complete fill up of your 410A machine.

As I stated before please note that this cost is at or will be very nearly at the cost of your contractor. You will need to account for his markup in this, otherwise why is he even there? Also, as I said above in 2017 you can still buy 410A without being certified with the EPA. This rule is supposed to change in January 1st of 2018. If you were so inclined you may stock up by buying on Amazon and E-Bay .

R-134a Refrigerant Price Per Pound 2017

For those of you who don’t follow refrigerant news too closely there has been a lot of drama on R-134a in 2016. There has been talk about phasing out the HFC refrigerant entirely by 2020/2021. On top of that there has been an ongoing battle between Chinese companies and USA manufacturers on the dumping of low priced Chinese product. Just recently the United States Trade Commission board ruled in favor of adding tariffs to 134a imports. This caused the price of 134a to skyrocket from about $70 a jug upwards to $110-$140 a jug.

I’m writing this article in mid December of 2016 I have no idea what the price of 134a will be in the future but the formula that we will use will be the same. If the price changes you can use the same math and be assured that it is correct. Like before I am going to check Amazon and E-Bay for the most accurate price of 134a at the time. I am assuming that most of you will be buying the singular cans of 134a rather than the full thirty pound cylinder. (You don’t need to be EPA certified to buy cans, but you do for cylinders.) Looking at Amazon today I see that it’s $20.00 for a pack of three cans. Let’s do some math:

$20.00 / 3 pounds of refrigerant = $6.66 per pound. (No devil jokes, promise.)

Now that we have the price per pound the question is how much refrigerant does your car take? Well, there is no easy answer for that. Most cars take between two to three pounds of refrigerant but there are some applications that take upwards of nine pounds. It is best to check your specific car to see exactly how much 134a you need.

For argument’s sake let’s use a three pound car for our math:

$6.66 per pound of refrigerant * 3 pounds = $19.98 for a fill up of your car’s 134a refrigerant.

As I stated before please note that this cost is at or will be very nearly at the cost of your mechanic. You will need to account for his markup in this, otherwise why is he even there?

Conclusion

Well, ladies and gentlemen that’s about it. I hope that this article was able to save you money during the upcoming summer months. For now, I am going to grab a hot cup of coffee and watch the snow fall.

Thanks for reading,

Alec John Johnson

Owner.

Refrigerant the key to finding intelligent life?

I saw an article pop up on my newsfeed this morning from the Atlantic. (Link is here.) The premise of the article is the on-going search for intelligent life outside of our planet. Is there life out there, if so is it intelligent, or is it a basic primal type of life? It’s a question humanity has been asking for hundreds of years.

Since we can’t travel too well in space, yet, scientists have been brainstorming on how to detect life in other planets from afar. During the brainstorm session one astronomer, Lisa Kaltenegger, suggested that when looking for intelligent life on a planet we should look for excessive amounts of refrigerants (CFC/HCFC refrigerant.) in that planet’s atmosphere. If that planet’s atmosphere is as damaged as ours is from our constant use of refrigerants than it very well may be a telltale sign that there is intelligent life on the planet… and that they like their food and drinks chilled.

It’s a genius idea when you think about it. IF there is intelligent life out there it only makes sense that they would be using forms of refrigerant as well to keep their products cold. Yes, I know this isn’t necessarily about the refrigerant industry or trends but I had to write something on it after reading it. I’ve always been amazed at the possibilities of outer space and what better way to tie two hobbies together than the search for alien life?

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

Owner.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you or your commercial customers are still using R-22 it is time to switch. If there was ever a bigger reason to switch it’s the United State’s Government sniffing around your business and looking for anything that they can to fine your company. This happened to the grocery chain Trader Joes this year. It was announced yesterday that Trader Joes will be settling a suit in court with the Environmental Protection Agency.

The suit declared that Trader Joes failed to track the service records of it’s refrigerant equipment and failed to provide data on their compliance records to the EPA. Even though this just boils down to paperwork and tracking it resulted in Trader Joes violating the federal Clean Air Act. Instead of fighting the lawsuit from the EPA Trader Joes agreed to settle for $500,000. Think about that for a second, $500,000 for not tracking and filing paperwork correctly.

Did I mention that there’s more? On top of the $500,000 fine paid to the United States Government Trader Joes also has agreed to spend two million dollars over the next three years in an effort to reduce leaks and Greenhouse Gases emissions across all of their grocery stores. On top of that Trader Joes is forming a new corporate department specifically for management of refrigerant regulations by the Federal Government. This department will monitor leak rates of their refrigerant units and ensure that they do not exceed over an average leak rate of 12.1%. (The current average for grocery stories is 25%)

In addition Trader Joes agreed to use non O-Zone depleting refrigerants in all of it’s new stores. They could get away with using common HFC refrigerants for their new stores but they also agreed that fifteen of their new stories will use refrigerants with a low global warming potential. (Low GWP refrigerants could be CO2, Opteon Refrigerants, or Solstice refrigerants.) Trader Joe’s compliance and willingness to make these changes shows just how fearful they are of the Federal Government’s EPA.

Similar lawsuits have been filed by the Environmental Protection Agency against other grocery store chains such as Costco and Safeway. If you are a grocery chain manager, or you have customers that are, I would highly recommend they review their refrigerant record keeping, what type of refrigerants they are using, and what plans they have in the future.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

Owner.

Sources:

 

Well ladies and gentlemen it’s another year and we are only a few weeks away from air conditioning season. (Some people call this time of year summer.) Around this time last year I did a post describing exactly how much R-22 Refrigerantcosts by the cylinder and by the pound. My goal with that post was to provide the information to you, the reader, on exactly what the cost on R-22 was and what to expect from a contractor or if you are looking to purchase it yourself.

The post was  great success and to this day is still one of my most visited pages. Not too much has changed over the past year but it only seems appropriate to do an updated post with current 2016 information.

Know This Before You Purchase

First thing’s first. Before we get into the actual cost of R-22 I want to bring to your attention that R-22 was phased out in 2010. Now, when I say phased out I mean that no new machines manufactured in 2010 or newer could use R-22 refrigerant. Instead, they were switched over to the newer HFC refrigerant known as R-410A, our Puron.

If you still have an active R-22 unit I would highly recommend getting it either converted over to 410A or replacing it entirely. At a minimum your unit is over six years old, potentially even older. As the years go by R-22 is going to be harder and harder to find while 410A is plentiful in the market place. On top of that 410A is actually more efficient than it’s R-22 counterpart. (You’ll save money per month.)

Ok, with that out of the way I have one more thing to say before we get into price. If you are purchasing refrigerant or having someone else purchase it for you than you need to be aware that your air conditioning unit is a closed system. What that means is that the refrigerant that was already in your system endlessly recycles back and forth through the various steps. So, in theory you should never run out of refrigerant.

If your unit is low on refrigerant, or out of refrigerant, something is wrong! Do not just fill the machine back up with refrigerant and hope for the best. You have a leak, or a hole, somewhere in your air conditioning unit. If you dump more expensive refrigerant in there it is all going to leak back out if you have not fixed the initial problem. Not to mention damaging the environment. If you are paying a contractor and they say they need to add refrigerant ask them if the leak was fixed. This can save you time and money from shady contractors.

The Price

Alright, now for the reason you came to this article. As I stated above R-22 machines were phased out in 2010 and with each few years that passes the amount of R-22 refrigerant in the marketplace shrinks and shrinks. Companies are limited in how much they can produce and how much they can import into the United States.

I like to use Amazon and E-Bay as a gauge on the marketplace. Both of these sites offer numerous brands and types of R-22 refrigerant and it will allow you to gather an average price between all sources. For example, if we look at Amazon.com as of today the going rate for a thirty pound cylinder of refrigerant is about $480. If we divided the $480 up by the thirty pounds in a cylinder we get a price per pound of $16.00. (Please note that if you want to purchase a cylinder of R-22 refrigerant yourself you will need to be 608 certified with the Environmental Protection Agency before you are eligible to purchase.)

The typical rule of thumb within the industry is two to four pounds of refrigerant per ton of your air conditioning unit. You should always check the exact specifications of your machine, but most of the time the two to four pound guideline will be sufficient. Most home air conditioners are between one ton and five tons. (Anything over five tons is considered a commercial grade unit.)

Ok, so with the $16.00 per pound in mind and the average pounds per ton of refrigerant of two to four we can now do the math for a full refrigerant fill up of your machine. Let’s say you have a middle of the road 3 ton unit. We’ll highball this estimate so let’s go with four pounds of refrigerant per ton of your machine. 4 pounds of refrigerant times the 3 tons of a unit equals out to 12 pounds of refrigerant needed for a complete fill up.

Twelve pounds of refrigerant times the $16.00 dollar per pound we found earlier equals out to $192.00 for a complete refrigerant fill up on your R-22 machine.

Closing

Ok, now that we have the cost per pound on refrigerant and the total cost for a fill up I want you, the reader, to keep one thing mind. If you have a contractor come out and quote you on a refrigerant fill up be mindful that they are experts in their field, they know your system, they know how to handle refrigerants, and they are certified to handle the refrigerant.

They will markup the R-22 refrigerant above and beyond the $16.00 that you can buy on Amazon or E-Bay. But, you are paying for their expertise. It is up to you and your contractor to decide on what is fair. If you want to buy a cylinder yourself feel free to visit the links above that I provided, just remember that you need to be EPA certified to purchase R-22.

Thanks for reading,

Alec John Johnson
Owner.

I watch the online market for any mention of the words refrigerant, R-22, R-12, R-134a, R-410A, etc. It helps me keep a pulse on the industry and also alerts to me any possible stories that could be written. Something that I’ve noticed over the past few months is that there has been a rash of people selling R-22 refrigerant on Craigslist throughout various cities and states across the United States. It could be one cylinder here and there or maybe someone is selling three to four cylinders at a time.

While there may be ample opportunity to sell your product on Craigslist I fear that these sellers are not following Environmental Protection Agency standard when selling CFC and HCFC refrigerants. I checked a few of these postings and there was no mention of providing a 608 license number or a signed letter of intent to sell. If you sell these refrigerants without following the proper steps you can wind up with massive fines or potentially even jail time. Trust me, you do not want to be on the EPA’s bad side.

The EPA’s refrigerant sales restriction can be found by clicking this link. The basic summary is that you, the seller, are responsible for all record keeping and tracking all companies that you sell refrigerant too. This DOES apply to any and all online sales as well. Below is an excerpt from the EPA’s site:

Under the regulations, wholesalers “may sell refrigerant to the purchaser or his authorized representative” if the purchaser provides evidence that he employs at least one certified technician. It is the wholesaler’s responsibility to determine whether persons who claim to represent a refrigerant purchaser are indeed authorized representatives; EPA recommends, but does not require, that wholesalers keep lists of authorized representatives to help with this determination. Thus, if a wholesaler knows that a certain person is an authorized representative of a purchaser, then the wholesaler may sell that person refrigerant as the representative, even if the person does not appear on the list of representatives.

I would recommend keeping a spreadsheet of all customers that you have sold to. It would be best to include their name, phone number, address, license number rather it is 608 or 609, their company name, types of refrigerants sold, and lastly how many of each type of refrigerant sold. By keeping this log you will be in compliance with the EPA standard and you will be protected if the EPA comes calling.  For more information on record keeping requirements click here to be transferred to the EPA’s website.

In summary, it’s fine to sell refrigerant on Craigslist or other online avenues just ensure that you are keeping compliant with EPA regulation and that you are keeping a log of everything that has been sold.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

Owner.

 

 

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Environmental Protection Act does not play around when it comes to venting CFCs and HCFCs into the environment. On July, 23rd, 2015 BPC District General Energy Partner Incorporated pleaded guilty to one count of venting R-22 into the atmosphere. (R-22 is a Class 2 O-Zone depleting substance.)

R-22 is an HCFC, and like other similar other refrigerants venting was banned in the 1990s due to the Chlorine that they contained. It was found that when Chlorine was released into the atmosphere it would actively degrade the O-Zone layer. After many years with venting unchecked a hole began to form in the O-Zone layer above Antarctica. In order to stop the hole from expanding and things from getting worse the Montreal Protocol treaty was formed and the phase out of CFCs and HCFCs began.

The thing to note that here is that with BPC District Energy they did not go out back and open a cylinder of R-22 and let it all out. They got fined for leaking refrigerant units. Their machines were leaking over the course of many years and instead of fixing the problem they just kept adding more R-22 refrigerant to the unit. Rinse and repeat over the course of a couple years.

Even though this happened in Canada, I would still like to point out that the EPA specifically says on their website when to intervene when your system is leaking. As a general rule if your unit takes more than fifty pounds of refrigerant and it is leaking at a rate of thirty-five percent of it’s refrigerant over the course of a year than you HAVE to repair the leak or scrap the unit within thirty days. You can read more about the EPA’s guidelines by clicking here.

Also, another interesting link I found was the Environmental Protection Agency’s refrigerant leak flow chart. If you have a leak you follow these steps for resolution. You can find this by clicking here.

Altogether BPC District Energy were fined $80,000 for venting R-22 into the environment and were fined an additional $20,000 as a ‘victim fine.’ Payment has to be made to in ninety days. Could you company absorb this? Even if it could, who would want to pay this? Check your units for leaks. If they are leaking, fix them!

Sources

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

Owner.

 

 

How much is R-22 Refrigerant per pound in 2015?

Refrigerant is a commodity and prices can change wildly from week to week. It all depends on demand and any market surprises. Think of refrigerant as oil. You always hear about how much a barrel of oil is in the news and see how fast it can change. Refrigerant is very similar and fluctuates accordingly… especially in very hot summers.

That being said as of today (June, 2015) R-22 is averaging about $300.00 per thirty pound cylinder. The $300 per cylinder comes from purchasing it one cylinder at a time. You can typically do this via Amazon or E-Bay as well as other online sites. So, going off of the $300 price for thirty pound cylinder we are looking at $300/30 equaling out to $10.00 per pound of refrigerant. (Please note that if you are trying to purchase R-22 for personal use that you will need to be 608 certified with the Environmental Protection Agency. Click here for more details.)

The rule of thumb is two to four pounds of refrigerant per one ton of your unit. You should always check the specifications of your machine, but for the most part the two to four pound guideline will give you a good estimate. Most home air conditioning units are between one ton and five tons. Anything over five tons is considered a commercial grade unit.

 

So, with that in mind if you have a two ton system than you would need eight pounds of refrigerant to completely refill your unit. (Two tons times four pounds.) Eight pounds of refrigerant times the cost we found above per pound of $10.00 equals $80.00 to completely refill your air conditioning unit.

Now if you have a technician from an ac company come out there is obviously going to be markup on the refrigerant, but it pays to know exactly what the cost is and what to expect. If you’re being quoted $200-$300 to fill up a one ton or two tons system there is something wrong.

R-22 is being phased out as we speak, so every year that goes by the price of R-22 will go up. In 2010 the phase out begin, in 2015 the quantity and production as reduced, and in 2020 it will be phased out entirely.

Over the next few years I could see R-22 getting over $500 a cylinder and just keep on climbing from there. If you have an old R-22 unit running today you may consider switching over to R-410A in the near future. 410A is much cheaper and is overall more efficient than it’s R-22 counterpart. (I switched over this spring and have seen a significant difference in my energy bills using 410A.)

Thanks for reading!