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Donald Trump's Affect on the Refrigerant Industry

Well folks I hate to say I told you so, but I will anyways. A lot of people have said that the court’s ruling a few weeks ago that overturned the EPA’s planned phase out of HFC refrigerants wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t a big deal as we still had the Kigali Amendment on the table. In fact back in November of 2017 a Trump Administration employee, Judith Garber, stated that the administration was in favor of ratifying the amendment. But now, as expected, the tables have turned.

In some statements made yesterday by Trump’s adviser for International Environmental Policy, George David Banks, the intention of the Trump Administration is now unclear. Mr. Banks stated that the Administration was still reviewing and analyzing all of the data and possible outcomes that would come into effect by ratifying the Kigali Amendment. What this means is that they are digging into all of the details and turning over all the rocks to find out exactly what this amendment will do and if it will help or hurt American jobs, how it will affect the trade deficit, and any other potential detrimental effects.

“The president wants to make sure that any international environment agreement does not harm U.S. workers. If the president does decide to support Kigali … it will largely be because he wants to create U.S. jobs.” – George David Banks – Adviser for International Environmental Policy

If they find that this amendment is in fact a benefit to the American economy then I can see this amendment being sent to the Senate to be ratified. (A two-thirds vote would be required for the Senate to ratify.) However, if they find that this is going to hurt jobs and industry then I can see this amendment going the same way as the Paris Climate Deal. For those of you who don’t know Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Deal in 2017 due to the economic impacts that it would have the United States.

This administration is a wildcard, and in my opinion this is a good thing. There are so many companies and conglomerates lobbying for this HFC phase out. There are millions of dollars being spent to push through the end of HFC refrigerants. Like Trump or hate him he will come to his own decision without being influenced by the money. Unfortunately, while climate change is an issue I do not see it being a contributing factor to Trump’s decision. It’s all about money and jobs.

Back to the Montreal Protocol

If we do get the Kigali Amendment ratified by the Senate than the Environmental Protection Agency can begin to enact HFC phase outs across the country. There will not be a need for additional legislation. It will be like the court battle over SNAP Rule 20 hadn’t even happened.

Really, this is kind of funny. The EPA was told that they couldn’t phase out HFC refrigerants back in August 0f 2017 because they had overstepped their bounds. HFC refrigerants didn’t contain Chlorine and therefore couldn’t be phased out under the Montreal Protocol and the Clean Air Act. But, now if we adopt the Kigali Amendment then HFC refrigerants become part of the Montreal Protocol and then the EPA has the authority to begin phasing out. Talk about jumping through hoops. If there isn’t one way there’s always another…

Will He or Won’t He?

At this point in time folks I am leaning towards no. I do not believe Trump will push this amendment to the Senate. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that I could see Trump feeling like this new amendment could cause jobs and economic production. The second, and a bigger one in my opinion, is that part of the amendment requires richer countries such as the European Union and the United States to provide aid and support to poorer countries as they attempt to phase out HFC refrigerants in their countries. To me this is the killer. This is the main reason why Trump killed the Paris Climate Deal. He killed it due to all of the funding that the United States had to contribute. I have a feeling he is going to see this the same way.

If he does decide not to ratify this amendment there is no telling what will happen with HFCs in the United States’ Marketplace. While some manufacturers have already begun switching to lower GWP alternatives such as Hydrocarbons and HFOs many others haven’t. These smaller to medium sized businesses have been putting it off. It’s a lot of extra cost to absorb and most owners won’t do it until they absolutely need to.

They are running into this problem already in the European Union. Various countries and companies are asking for exemptions on their F-Gas rules because they are just not ready to transition over. Call it bad government planning or bad business planning but regardless these people aren’t ready.  (Example being Sweden.)

That European Union problem is happening even when there were solid phase out dates. They knew when these dates were coming and are still having trouble. If we do not adopt the Kigali and with the court overturning the EPA’s SNAP 20 program there is no telling what will happen here. We could be using HFCs easily into 2030 or even past. Sure, they will eventually began to disspiate just through attrition but to some concerned people it won’t be happening fast enough.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

 

Window air conditioners can be a life saver in the summer months. Over here in Kansas we routinely get temperatures over one-hundred degrees in the July and August months. On some particular bad summers we may get one, two, or even three weeks straight of one-hundred temperatures. Don’t worry though at night it goes down to a balmy eighty-five degrees for the low. This is NOT good sleeping weather!

Most of us escape this heat by having our central air systems working off the clock. But, how do people escape the heat when their home doesn’t have a central air system? Some of the older homes out there from the sixties, fifties, and even older just did not come outfitted with a central air conditioning system. At the time their house was built the technology was still so new and expensive that a lot of builders and home-buyers couldn’t afford it. In 2018 our summer will be hotter then ever thanks to the lovely effects of Global Warming. So, how, do people living in these houses or people living in apartment complexes escape the heat?

Friedrich Chill CP06G10B 6000 BTU Window Air Conditioner
Friedrich CP06G10B Window AC

The answer for so many people are window air conditioners. They provide even the person who is in the most dire of circumstances the option to cool their home or apartment. I am a huge advocate of these machines for that reason and that reason alone. A cheaper model unit will only cost you between one-hundred and two-hundred dollars. (Source from Amazon.com) Most people can save that amount of money in a short amount of time if they really want to get out of the heat.

How Do They Work?

As I said up above window air conditioners are found nearly everywhere in the United States, but how do they work? Through out my research on these products I came across a lot of mis-information and some notions that were just flat out wrong. One of them was someone asking if they could get carbon monoxide poisoning from a window air conditioner. The answer is no! Another one of these questions that I saw over and over again was can I install the window unit by just having it sit on my kitchen table? After you finish reading this article you will be able to understand my frustration here. The heat of the room has to go somewhere. There has to be an exhaust. If the heat can’t go anywhere then your air conditioner isn’t going to be accomplishing anything.

Split System Versus a Window Unit

Window units work exactly the same as a split system and they have the exact same kind of components. For those of you who don’t know a split system is your traditional home air conditioner that you find in newer homes complete with intake and outtake ducts. These are the units that sit outside your home and have the large fan going round and round when it’s kicked on.

The only difference is that a split system is just that, it is split. That means that the components are in two different locations. One of them, and the one you are most likely familiar with, is the outside air conditioning unit. This unit contains your compressor, your condenser, and your fan. The other section of your central air conditioning system is usually located above your furnace. Here you will find your evaporator, your blower, and your air filter.

I will get into exactly what these components do and how they interact with each other in just a moment. Firstly though let’s finish looking at the differences between the window and split units. A window unit has all of the components we mentioned above all packed into one box. On top of that the window unit is designed to cool only one room, maybe two. While a split system is designed to cool an entire home. If you are going the window air conditioner route for your entire home then you will need to buy multiple units for various rooms so that you can ensure your house stays cool.

How They Work

Ok folks, so now we know that a window unit and a central air, or split system, work in the same fashion. The only real main differences are their size and where the components are located.  Now lets get into the real science on how they work and how they cool your home.

Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System
Example of a Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System

First and foremost let me tell you that your home air conditioner does not produce ‘cold air,’ in the same way that your furnace would produce heat. With a gas furnace you have the heat from the flame blowing into your home. Instead of that air-conditioners are all about transferring heat and changing states of the refrigerant. The refrigerant is used to absorb the heat from inside your home, carry that heat to your air-conditioner, and then release it to the outdoors. Once the heat has been removed the colder air blows back into your home. The refrigerant circulates continuously to remove additional heat from your home until your desired temperature is reached.

In order for a refrigerant to absorb heat a change of state has to happen. When I say change of state I am talking about going from liquid to gas and from gas to liquid. It is important to remember that the refrigerant cycle is just that, a cycle. That means that it goes over and over again. There is never any break to this cycle and should never be any leak in this cycle. It is a completely sealed process. Within this cycle there are different components that allow for the refrigerant to change pressure, temperature, and state. We will go over these as well as the process of the refrigeration system.

The Process & Components

Home AC Cycle – Picture Credit from ConsumerReports.Org

The picture above is a great illustration showing you how everything is laid out for a home air-conditioner. That being said, I will say that it does not label the components in order of process. But, that’s OK I will do that below for you. If you are unsure of what component I am referring to please consult the picture above to get an idea. Yes, I realize that this is a picture of a split system but as we have already covered a window air conditioner works the VERY same way. The only difference is arrangement of components. (I also didn’t have a picture of inside a window air conditioner readily available.)

  1. Evaporator – The evaporator’s cooling coils remove the heat and humidity from the air inside your home using the designated refrigerant. Ever notice when your air conditioner kicks on and doors that were slightly ajar get ‘sucked’ close? That is your system pulling out hot air from your home.
  2. Suction Line – This is where the refrigerant is ‘sucked’ into the compressor. This is also known as the low pressure side.
  3. Compressor – The compressor is a pump that moves the refrigerant between the evaporator and the condenser to chill the indoor air. The compressor is often seen as the heart of the system. Instead of pumping and metering the blood flow to the rest of your body it pumps and meters the amount of refrigerant to the rest of the system. Upon entering the compressor the refrigerant is in a vapor state and as it’s name suggests the compressor’s job is to compress the vapor. When a vapor is compressed both the pressure and temperature of that vapor increases. The vapor leaving the compressor is VERY hot as a high temperature and high pressure vapor.
  4. Discharge Line – The high temperature vapor refrigerant then moves it’s way through the discharge line and into the condenser.
  5. Condenser – Upon entering the condenser the high temperature refrigerant air from a fan passes over the coil to cool the vapor refrigerant. As the vapor cools it undergoes a state change and changes into a liquid. At this point is where the hot air from inside your home is removed as the fan blows the air over the coils and outside of your home. If you ever stuck your hand over the top of your air-conditioner you would feel the hot air being blown out. That is your condenser at work.
    1. While in the condenser the refrigerant will begin to turn into a saturated state. A saturated state is where vapor and liquid both exist at the same time. The saturated state is where the majority of the energy is transferred. This is where the heat that the refrigerant is carrying is dissipated. At this point the refrigerant begins to absorb the heat and as it does it moves to liquid.
  6. Liquid Line – The high pressure liquid refrigerant moves it’s way through the liquid line and into the metering device. This point of the cycle is known as the ‘Subcool.’ If there is a problem with your system this is where most technicians start looking.
  7. Metering Device – The metering device’s purpose is to control the amount of liquid refrigerant that will be fed into the evaporator. Inside the metering device is a dividing point between high pressure and low pressure sides of the system. As the refrigerant is passed through the metering device the pressure drops.
  8. Evaporator Again – After leaving the metering device the low pressure liquid refrigerant immediately moves into the coils of your evaporator. Just like with the condenser the evaporator has a fan blowing against it’s coils. But this time instead of blowing hot air out of your home it is now blowing the cold air back into your home. Here is where big state change happens.
    1. As the refrigerant enters the coil at a lower pressure it begins to bubble and boil and as it does it begins to change state back into a vapor. (Same concept as boiling a pot of water and watching it all evaporate.) During this process of changing state from liquid to vapor the refrigerant is removing energy, or heat, from the air passing over the coils. The heat that was in the air is transferred into the refrigerant. Remember, it’s not about creating cold air but about removing the heat. Since the heat has been removed from the air when the fan blows over the evaporator’s coils cold air will blow into your home.
  9. Repeat – After this the whole process is started over again and again until your home has reached the desired temperature set on your thermostat.

Conclusion

Ok folks, are you confused yet? No worries. It is a hard concept to grasp. It’s actually almost one of those things that you have to review and review in your head until it finally clicks. Once it does click it all makes sense you begin to wonder why you didn’t know it before hand. Just remember that air conditioning or refrigeration all follow through relatively the same cycle. It’s all about changing states and absorbing heat.

I hope this guide was helpful folks and I also hope that you learned a little something. If you are interested in purchasing a window air conditioner then I would highly suggest that you visit our Window Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide by clicking this link. This article goes through every consideration and little thing that you need to consider before purchasing a window unit. It also goes into recommended products for each room size in your home.

Thanks for reading, and stay cool out there my friends!

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Window air conditioners are never something that are just bought on a whim. We all know this. All of us, or most of us, do not buy these products until it is in the dead of summer and the heat is at it’s hottest. To top it off our central air conditioner is probably broken or we’re living in an apartment with no central air. You’ve tried and tried to put off spending the money on a new window air conditioner but enough is enough. You are ready to buy one and enjoy that sweet sweet cool air but where should you go? Where can you buy these products?

Well folks the obvious answer is nearly everywhere nowadays. Sure, your basic stores like Target or Wal-Mart most likely aren’t going to carry them. But, if you head to a Lowes or Home Depot store you are sure to find them in stock and ready to go. (Especially if you are buying in the summer season.) The problem when shopping in person like this at one of these retail stores is that your choice and more importantly, your knowledge, is limited. Think about it. When you walk into a store you are already limiting yourself to what brands and products that they have on their shelf. You can’t read any reviews. You don’t know what products are better than others. Worst of all though is that you can’t price shop. You are stuck with what they have there.

Sure, you could whip out your phone and look online for some comparison shopping but you are at the store already and scrolling through pages and pages of information on your phone is never fun. I get so frustrated when having to use my phone for extended periods of time, especially trying to do research. I don’t know about you but I am a desktop guy. Everything is so much easier.

Shop Online

Now here’s the thing. If you can stomach it. If you can stomach going another few days without air conditioning then I highly recommend that you at least do your research online. As an example, if we look at our partner Amazon.com’s website’s selection of window air conditioners by clicking here we can begin to see the value that is added. We get reviews. We get all different product brands. We get all different BTU sizes. My favorite feature, especially with products like this, is that there is a customer question section as well. These are questions asked by other customers either before they purchased or after they purchased. More often then not if you had a question about a window unit it has already been asked and answered!

All of these features give you the ammunition and knowledge on what to look for when purchasing a new unit. Now the only downside that I can see here when purchasing from Amazon.com is that you don’t get that instant gratification feeling when buying a unit at a retail outlet. If you buy a window air conditioner at Home Depot you can take it home, install it, plug it in, and enjoy cool air all within about an hour of getting home. If you buy online then you may have to wait a couple days, maybe more. The choice is ultimately up to you. Will you sweat it out and wait for it to come in the mail or will you go to the store and heave one off the shelf?

Conclusion

If you are serious about buying a new window air conditioner then I would highly recommend checking out our Window Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide that can be found by clicking here. Starting out you may know that you just want to get cool and escape from the heat but once you really start looking at the different window air conditioners out there you will most likely begin to feel overwhelmed. There are so many choices and varieties out there. How do you know that you will get the right one?

If you buy the wrong sized unit you could end up with your air conditioner running constantly trying to cool too big of a room. This will cause your energy bills to shoot up month to month.  On the other side of the coin if you purchase a window unit that is much bigger than the room you need it for then your air conditioner is going to have difficulty extracting the humidity from the air as well as evenly distributing the cooler air. The end result will be hot and cool spots throughout the room. That isn’t even mentioning the increased monthly cost to run a much larger machine then you needed in the first place. This will leave you feeling frustrated due to the hot and cool spots as well as paying more money per month then you should be. The sizing of your window air conditioner is a sweet spot and you have to get it just right.

The Buyer’s Guide that I linked above will not only answer these questions but also go as far as recommending products based off of your room size. My goal here is to make things easy for you. I want to give you the easy button! (Remember those commercials?)

I know how it feels to be trapped in the heat of a summer sun. We get a lot of that here in Kansas, trust me. Just as I am nice and cool here in the middle of February as I write this article, I want you to be nice and cool when the hot rays of the summer’s sun come down.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Hello ladies and gentlemen! Today on RefrigerantHQ we will be doing another product review. Today’s featured product is the Interdynamics AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze AC recharge kit. Whew! Try saying that a few times fast. Anyways, these types of products are VERY common during the summer time. If you are reading this then I can imagine that it is the dead of summer, it’s ninety or one-hundred degrees outside and your car’s air conditioner is blowing warm air. It’s not getting cold at all. Is the Arctic Freeze product the right fit for you? Well, let’s dive in and take a look!Interdynamics AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze Ultra Synthetic Recharging Kit with UV Dye and UV Light

Before I get into what a product does and doesn’t offer I always like to spend a little bit of time looking at the company behind the product. I feel that a look, even if it’s a brief one, helps the consumer and myself understand what goes into the product. In this case the Interdynamics AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze is from the company called rechargeac.com. This company is then owned by IDQ Incorporated out of Garland, Texas. The IDQ company has been in business for over forty years and through out all of those years they have been dedicated to providing do-it-yourself air conditioning products for the weekend warrior mechanic as well as the seasoned service technician. In fact I would feel comfortable saying that they have a VERY large market share when it comes to DIY air conditioning recharge kits. These guys know what they are doing.

Know Before You Buy

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

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

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

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

Pros

Sure you could go out to an auto parts store and buy a couple of cans of refrigerant and recharge your car yourself but when you do this you have to realize that when you are buying those R-134a cans you are ONLY buying cans of straight refrigerant. Have you thought about the PAG oil that needs replaced? What about a leak sealer or any other additives? With the Interdynamics AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze you get your refrigerant along with everything else including the PAG oil, the additives, and yes even a leak sealer built right into the formula.

Along with all of that the AFK-11CS comes with a couple extra features that the other recharge kits just simply do not have. The first is that this product comes with two thirteen ounce cans of refrigerant giving you a total of twenty-six ounces. This is much more refrigerant than the other products on the market. In fact if you look at some of the other Interdynamics products out there you’ll see canister ranges between eighteen to twenty-two ounces. The twenty-six ounce for this product is in a class of it’s own.

The second change on this product that I wanted to mention is that it comes with ultraviolet dye built right into the formula. For those of you who do not know UV dyes are used to find and identify leaks in your refrigerant system. Remember earlier how I said that the AC cycle is a sealed system? Well this UV dye will help you find where your leak is. It also comes with a UV pen so that you can scan and identify the source of the leaks. All you have to do is shine the light along all the joints, hoses, and pipes of your ac system and watch for any indication.

The last Pro that I am going to mention here is that the R-134a that comes with this product is compatible with all other types of R-134a. What that means is that you do not have to worry about mixing refrigerants together. Say, for example, you have a pound of refrigerant left in your car and you need to recharge it. You do NOT have to purge all of the old refrigerant before recharging. Like I said before, easy button.

If you get one thing from this review it’s this: The AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze is all about making things easy. It’s the easy button so they say. Everything that would need to be done to add refrigerant to your system is in that one little can.  On top of that the product comes with a hose and with a pressure gauge so you can see exactly how much refrigerant you have when you start, when charging, and when you finish.

Cons

Alright folks, onto the cons. The biggest con is something that I’ve already mentioned. Any recharge kit, I don’t care what brand, are temporary fixes and that is if they work. If you have a massive leak or a faulty compressor then these recharge kits aren’t going to do you any good. I still like to buy them though as a kind of pre-cursor before taking my car into the shop. If the recharge kit doesn’t work no big deal. You are out thirty dollars and you take your car to the shop. However, if the recharge kit does work then you just saved yourself a whole mess of money by not taking your car to the mechanic.

Another con that I want to bring up is that the price on this unit is a bit more expensive then the Interdynamics EZ Chill model. The EZ chill is a bare bones price point item to get you product. The Arctic Freeze is just the opposite. You get a higher quality product and a super sized container, but you will be paying more. So, you will be paying more but in my opinion it is worth it as you get a quality product.

Lastly, like with all refrigerants there is risk of shipping damage and the product arriving damaged. This could be either the can being damaged and having the refrigerant leaked out, a damaged gauge, or even a damaged hose. This is obviously a problem and if you run into this please call their customer service number which can be found by clicking here.

Conclusion

Overall I would say that the AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze is a definite buy especially if you are looking for a top-tier product when it comes to recharging your vehicle’s air conditioner. This product gives you all of the features and benefits of the other Interdynamics products out there as well as giving you bonus refrigerant and a UV detection system.

If you are interested in purchasing the Interdynamics AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze please click here to be taken to our Amazon.com partner.  Or, you can also find this product in most retailers and auto parts stores. Also, if you are unsure on how to use this product then I highly recommend you click here to be taken to our ‘How To’ guide on AC recharge kits.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

Good evening ladies and gentlemen! Today on RefrigerantHQ we will be doing another Product Review. Today’s product of choice is the A/C PRO’s ACP-100 R-134a recharge kit. Now these types of products I am sure most of you have dealt with in the past. They can be a lifesaver in a pinch and give you a nice cold breeze in the dead of summer. But, how does the ACP-100 compare against the other products out there? What makes it stand out? Is it worth buying or should you move to a different product. Let’s find out!A/C PRO ACP-100 Professional Formula R-134a Ultra Synthetic Air Conditioning Refrigerant with Reusable Dispenser and Gauge - 20 oz.

Before I get into what a product does and doesn’t offer I always like to spend a little bit of time looking at the company behind the product. I feel that a look, even if it’s a brief one, helps the consumer and myself understand what goes into the product. In this case the ACP-100 AC Pro is from the company called ACProCold.com. This company is then owned by IDQ Incorporated out of Garland, Texas. The IDQ company has been in business for over forty years and through out all of those years they have been dedicated to providing do-it-yourself air conditioning products for the weekend warrior mechanic as well as the seasoned service technician. In fact I would feel comfortable saying that they have a VERY large market share when it comes to DIY air conditioning recharge kits. These guys know what they are doing.

Know Before You Buy

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

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

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

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

Pros

Sure you can get some R-134a for a few dollars but what is it that you are truly getting? The A/C Pro ACP-100 is much different then just buying a can of R-134a off the shelf and dumping it into your car’s system. The ACP-100 comes with a variety of features and bonuses that a regular old can 134a just doesn’t offer. As an example, if you were to charge your car with straight R-134a you would need to add in PAG oil as well. THE ACP-100 recharge kit comes with the oil already mixed in with the refrigerant. That’s one less thing you have to do.

Along with the oil you also get other additives that help extend the life of the components in your system including a leak sealer that could actually seal up small leaks in your hose lines or around orings. If you notice that on the instructions of this product it says to shake before use and to also rotate the can as you are charging the system. The main reason they call for this is to ensure that all of the additives, oil, and refrigerant are mixed together properly.

If you get one thing from this review it’s this the A/C Pro ACP-100 is all about making things easy. It’s the easy button so they say. Everything that would need to be done to add refrigerant to your system is in that one little can.  On top of that the product comes with a twenty-four inch hose and with a pressure gauge so you can see exactly how much refrigerant you have when you start, when charging, and when you finish. The coupler at the end of the hose attaches right to the low side port just by pushing it on. Don’t worry though if you have the wrong port as this coupler will ONLY fit the low side port and nowhere else. This prevents very costly mistakes by using the wrong port.

The last Pro that I am going to mention here is that the R-134a that comes with this product is compatible with all other types of R-134a. What that means is that you do not have to worry about mixing refrigerants together. Say, for example, you have a pound of refrigerant left in your car and you need to recharge it. You do NOT have to purge all of the old refrigerant before recharging. Like I said before, easy button.

Cons

Alright folks, onto the cons. The biggest con is something that I’ve already mentioned. Any recharge kit, I don’t care what brand, are temporary fixes and that is if they work. If you have a massive leak or a faulty compressor then these recharge kits aren’t going to do you any good. I still like to buy them though as a kind of pre-cursor before taking my car into the shop. If the recharge kit doesn’t work no big deal. You are out thirty dollars and you take your car to the shop. However, if the recharge kit does work then you just saved yourself a whole mess of money by not taking your car to the mechanic.

Besides that point there are a few other cons that I found when researching this product. All of these complaints or cons relate back to shipping and how the product arrived to the customer. I will say that these complaints are an exception and when looking at other reviews the shipping errors are a small percentage. Some consumers experienced their cans showing up completely empty and void of refrigerant. This happened because the can was damaged during shipping and all of the refrigerant leaked out. Other users reported that the gauge on the recharge kit did not work properly or was broken upon arrival. Again, this relates back to shipping and how the product arrived. I will mention here that when customers tried to contact A/C Pro for advice or help on their damaged product that their customer service was not the most helpful.

The last con that I will bring up before moving on is that some users stated that the coupler that comes with the A/C recharge kit did not fit their car. I saw quite a few complaints like this, but here’s the thing. The coupler is designed to only fit on the low side port of your AC system. I have a feeling that these users were trying to attach it to the high side port which explains why it wasn’t fitting correctly.  So, this was a user error rather than a product error.

Conclusion

The A/C Pro ACP-100 R-134a recharge kit is a great investment if you find yourself with a car blowing hot air. This holds especially true if you think that you are going to have to go to a mechanic. I highly suggest you try this product first before committing any expenses to a shop repair. The thing to remember is that these recharge kits are a patch. They are a band-aid. They do not fix the real problem of why your system is leaking refrigerant but they do offer a great and cheap solution to get your car blowing cold air again. I would highly recommend buying this product if your car’s AC is no longer blowing cold. The worst that could happen is that you find out you have a part failure or a large leak and your car starts blowing hot again in a few days. The BEST that could happen is that this recharge kit could charge your car for the entire summer season and you avoid all of the expense of going through a shop diagnosis and repair.

If you are interested in purchasing this product please click here to be taken to our Amazon.com partner.  Or, you can also find this product in most retailers and auto parts stores. Also, if you are unsure on how to use this product then I highly recommend you click here to be taken to our ‘How To’ guide on AC recharge kits.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

The other day I wrote a few articles about R-134a air conditioner recharge kits. As I have stated in these other articles at first I was skeptical of these products. They seemed like a waste of money but after doing my research I have found that these products are the exact opposite. In fact, these AC recharge kits will actually end up saving you money if you find your vehicle is blowing warm air on a summer’s day.

Why is that? Well folks if your car is blowing warm air that means that at the minimum you have a leak in your system where the refrigerant is escaping. Worst case you could have a failed compressor or some other major parts failure. Here is where the recharge kits come in handy. If you were to take your car to a shop and have them diagnose and repair your air condoning system you could be looking at an over one-thousand dollar bill depending on what was found. But, if you use one of these 134a recharge kits you only spend about thirty dollars, you charge your system, and then you see if your car begins to blow cold air. If it doesn’t and is still blowing hot then by all means take it to the shop and get it repaired. However, if you recharge and find it’s blowing cold air again you may have just fixed your problem for the season.

Why is that? Well, yes your system still has a leak in it but it could be a VERY small leak. The leak could be so small that your refrigerant could last the entire summer season before it starts blowing hot air again. These types of leaks are usually focused in the hose or around an o-ring. While, yes, it’s a problem it is a problem that can be put off and patched for the season. I like this idea for the guys who are cheap or low on funds and need some cold air. I will mention though that there is a point where you will need to break down and take it to the shop. If you’ve recharged your system and a week later it’s blowing hot air again then you have a bigger problem that will need to be looked at.

All that being said, let’s take a look at RefrigrantHQ’s top picks for r-134a AC recharge kits. Now either one of these products are solid and will provide you with cold blowing air, unless there is something else wrong with your air conditioning system. I personally favor the A/C Pro brand over the Interdynamics. Both links below will take you to our Amazon.com partner:

Lastly, if you are going to be doing this kind of repair to your car please be sure to follow all of the necessary instructions. In fact here at RefrigerantHQ we have wrote out a step by step guide on this exact process. Please click here to read.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to answer your questions,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Some of you may be slightly confused by the new refrigerant sales restriction that went into effect on January, 1st 2018. This new rule prevented users from purchasing HFC refrigerants such as R-410A, R-404A, and R-134a unless they were certified with the Environmental Protection Agency. This was quite the change as in 2017 and all the years prior purchasing HFC refrigerants wasn’t a problem. The restriction only applied to Ozone damaging refrigerants such as R-12 and R-22. With this new restriction it put a lot of do-it-yourselfers in a tough spot. They either had to get 608/609 certified with the EPA or they had to hire a professional to do the work that they themselves had been doing for years. Seems kind of backwards if you ask me.

Well, I have good news for you if you are on the automotive side of things. There was an exception made to the EPA’s refrigerant sales restriction. The except reads like this, EPA is not restricting the sale of “small cans” containing less than 2 pounds of substitute refrigerants (e.g., HFC-134a) for use in MVACs.” -Source is from the EPA’s website which can be found by clicking here.

What that means is that the automotive tinkerers of the world can still get their R-134a cans either in the local auto shops or on Amazon.com. Personally, I prefer to purchase nearly everything on Amazon nowadays. It’s easier and I don’t have to get out of my chair. Our preferred products on Amazon for R-134a cans are listed below. If you are interested please click the links below.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

I’ll admit it folks that for the longest time I thought these AC recharge kits were a gimmick. Snake oil. Waste of money and all that. But they’re not, they are really not! Let me start this off with saying that an air conditioning system rather it’s the one in your home, your fridge, or your car all basically operate the same way. It is a completely closed and sealed system. What that means is that the refrigerant moving in your system 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 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.

Now here’s the thing though folks. Taking your a car to a mechanic is expensive, really expensive. What if your car is low in refrigerant and it is blowing hot air but it took years and years for it to get that way? In other words, what if you have a very tiny leak in your system. Is that tiny leak worth spending a thousand dollars on to have a mechanic tear apart your car’s air conditioning system?

This is where the R-134a AC recharge kit products come into play. You could spend thirty dollars on a recharge kit and throw some more refrigerant into your car just like that. If you have a small leak then your car may be recharged and reinvigorated with refrigerant for the entire summer season. Now, the next year when you start your car you’ll run into that same problem again as the leak is still there but you can repeat the process and avoid going into the shop and having a costly repair. I know some guys out there who do this process every summer, almost like cleaning the gutters. It’s just something they do with their older car before the summer season starts up.

But wait there’s more! I hate saying that it is just so gimmicky, but there really is more. These AC recharge kits actually come with a built in sealant in an effort to seal any possible leaks as the new refrigerant cycles into your system. There are a couple different kinds of sealants out there. It really depends on what type of recharge kit you purchase. Some have a ‘goo’ that coats the exterior walls of the system preventing leaks while others have a ‘conditioner’ that causes the rubber gaskets and o-rings to swell in an effort to eliminate leakage points in the system. So, by using these kits you may actually solve the problem in your system in the first place, especially if the leak is centered around an o-ring or a gasket.

Conclusion

So, yes, in conclusion these kits do work. But, it should be noted that these kits are temporary fixes to a leak in your system. If you find that your recharge your system and then a few days or weeks later it’s blowing hot air again then you have a whole different problem. The leak in your system could be much worse then you previously thought and you will need to have components replaced such as a compressor, accumulator, hoses, or whatever. Here’s the thing though, there’s no harm in trying it. If you use one of these recharge kits right and follow the instructions you are only out the thirty or fifty dollars it cost to purchase the kit. However, if it does work for you then you just saved a whole bunch of money by not taking your car to the mechanic.

Lastly, if you are unsure how to use one of these kits please click here to be taken to our how to guide on R-134a AC recharge kits.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Alright ladies and gentlemen. So it is summer and it’s a damn hot day and your car’s air conditioner is blowing warm air. You went on over to the auto-parts store or on Amazon.com and purchased yourself a R-134a air conditioner recharge kit. Now that you have the kit in hand the question is how do you use it? Well folks let’s dive in and take a look:

What You’ll Need

  • Your car, obviously!
  • Safety glasses and gloves – You don’t want any refrigerant burns, trust me!
  • A thermometer showing outside temperature.
  • A R-134a AC recharge kit. (We prefer the AC Pro from Amazon.com)

How To Use a AC Recharge Kit in 10 Steps!

  1. Safety First – Be sure to put on safety eye glasses and mechanic’s gloves. Always watch your surroundings and ensure that you are as safe as possible.
  2. Before we can use the 134a AC recharge kit you will need to unscrew the hose/gauge from the top of the can, pull off the seal, and then tightly screw back on the hose and gauge to the can.
  3. Before we do anything we first need to identify where the low-side service port is on your vehicle’s air conditioning system. The low-side service port will always be on the larger sized aluminum tubing between the AC’s compressor and your car’s firewall. An example picture of a low-side service port is to the right, just remember that each car is different. Heck, each model year is different. To assist with this some cars have an ‘H’ on high pressure side and a ‘L’ on the low pressure port. Before doing anything please ensure that you are using the right port. If you are having trouble finding this port it is best to look up your car’s layout either online or in the instruction manual. Low Side Service Port
  4. Once we have identified the service port we can now start the engine of your vehicle and turn on the air conditioner. Ensure that the air conditioner is powered on to maximum cool and maximum blowing capacity.
  5. With the vehicle on then connect the coupler on your recharge kit to the low side service port that we identified in the first step. The coupler should snap and lock into place. (You may need to pull back the collar to connect the coupler.)
    1. If you find that the coupler is not fitting onto your low side service port then stop! This could be a few things. The first and most likely is that you are trying to put it on the high pressure port instead of the low pressure. A secondary scenario could be you have a newer car model you may in fact be using the new 1234yf refrigerant. If this is the case then you will need to visit a dealership as there are not recharge kits out there yet for 1234yf.
  6. Once this is done you can now check the pressure gauge. (A/C recharge kits come with a built-in pressure gauge.) Please note that it is critical that your compressor be running in order to check the pressure. You should be able to see the pulley of the compressor spinning if it is working correctly. If your compressor is not coming on then either there is no refrigerant left in your system or the compressor may be faulty. In this instance you may need to contact a mechanic.
  7. Depending on the gauge you will either need to wait for the appropriate ambient temperature or set the gauge accordingly to the ambient temperature. If the pressure gauge is below the ambient air temperature and the compressor is running then you can now begin to charge the AC system.
    1. Please note that if the gauge is in the red zone then that may mean that your compressor is not on and that your system is completely out of refrigerant. In this instance you can attempt to fill up your system with cans of 134a but it may be best to have a mechanic review the system as your compressor may be faulty.
  8. Before you begin charging the system shake the cylinder very well. You can now begin squeezing the trigger to begin charging the system. While charging be sure to hold the can up right alternating between the twelve and three o’clock positions frequently.
  9. It is important to watch your gauge when charging. You do not want to overcharge your system as you will risk part failure. When the pressure gauge has reached the ambient temperature your system will be charged.
  10. After charging remove the coupler and refasten the service cap. Store the remaining recharge kit in a moisture free and climate friendly environment for future use. Also be sure to keep the hose and gauge tightly sealed against the can of refrigerant to ensure no leaks occur.

Conclusion

After charging your system you should now feel the cold air blowing in your cabin. If you do not experience cold air or if the cold air does not last for an extended period of time then that means that you may have a large leak in your air conditioning system, your compressor is faulty, or a host of other problems. In these instances you will need to diagnose where the problem area, replace the appropriate parts, and then recharge your system. These steps are best done by a professional.

Lastly, if you haven’t bought your 134a AC recharge kit yet please check out some of the top brands below from Amazon.com partner:

Thanks for reading and I hope that was able to help,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

 

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

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

The Price Increase

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

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

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

The Why?

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

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

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

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

 

Conclusion

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

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

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

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

 

Sources

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

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

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

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

RefrigerantHQ Statistics

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

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

Looking Towards 2018

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

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

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

Considerations

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

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

Pricing Predictions

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

Sources

Well ladies and gentlemen. It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving has passed and now we’re a few days into December. I’ve got most of my gifts purchased already and am nearly done with shopping. Now, I know that the majority of you who are reading this article are going to be reading this in the heat of summer next year but it’s always best practice to take a step back and look at market pricing in the dead of winter.

Obviously, winter is the slowest time for the refrigerant business. No one is using their air conditioners so even if there is a leak on the unit no one will notice until the first hot days of April and May. This lack of demand causes the prices to drop and allows us to take a analytical look at pricing and what it will be during next year’s summer months.

As some of you may already know over the past few years I have taken the time in December to do a variety of refrigerant pricing per pound articles. The first article I did in 2015 was met with amazing success and recognition. Every year since then it has become a kind of tradition to do these articles.

Now, before we dive into this article I will warn you now that 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 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. In fact as of January 1st, 2018 you will need to be certified with the EPA to purchase HFC refrigerants such as R-410A, R-404A, and R-134a. This is different from previous years where you could buy HFCs without certification. HCFCs, like R-22, you will need to be 608 certified to purchase or handle the refrigerant.

While you may have your contractor’s 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 liquid to gas. 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.

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

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. Keep this in mind if you have an older R-22 unit. Sure, a new R-410A unit may cost thousands but you are paying for a NEW unit which means a warranty and very little chance of breakage over the next couple years. At this point in time in 2018 I would highly recommend purchasing a 410A unit. Your R-22 can’t much time left on it and if you do need a repair it’s going to cost an arm and a leg.

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

R-410A Refrigerant Price Per Pound 2018

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, and costs much less then R-22. I mentioned this above but I’ll mention it again, in the past there was no certification required to purchase 410A but that has changed as of January 1st, 2018. (Click here to view the EPA’s website to read about the change.)

Let’s get down to business. Much like I did for the R-22 article 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 December 2017 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 . Please note that if you intend to purchase 410A you will need to show your 608 certification number before purchasing.

Thanks for reading and visiting my site,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

It’s always sad news when you see a story like this. This came up on my alerts earlier this morning and I felt that I had to take some time and write about it. There have been three confirmed fatalities after an Ammonia refrigeration leak at an ice rink arena in Fernie, British Columbia on Tuesday night. The ice rink and arena is now closed and to top it all off people have been forced to evacuate their business, homes, and even a retirement center due to the leak. The sight is more or less secure now but there are still emergency services on hand along with refrigeration consultants trying to figure out what went wrong. The news article can be found here.

This tragic event happened in the small town of Fernie, British Columbia. Fernie has a population of just over five-thousand and is located just north of Montana. When events like this happen in a small town it amplifies them because you know the victims. You know their families. The town suffers along with the victim’s families. I’m from a small town myself and this hits too close to home. I pray for the town and hope that they can recover quickly.

Ammonia

Ammonia, or R-717, refrigerant is rated as a B on the toxicity scale from ASHRAE. The Class B toxicity signifies refrigerants for which there is evidence of toxicity at concentrations below four hundred parts per million. Most refrigerants in today’s world are rated as an A toxicity, or no danger of toxicity, but there are exceptions out there like R-717 that are still widely used across North America and Europe.

Symptoms of Ammonia poisoning can include coughing, shortness of breath, difficult breathing or tightness in your chest. Severe exposures can cause immediate burning of the eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory tract. Ending results being blindness, lung damage, or even death as in the case in this story.

Way back in the day about one-hundred years ago Ammonia was used widely as a refrigerant. In fact Ammonia is more or less the founding refrigerant. It goes as far back as mid 1800’s when the very basic principles of refrigerant were being tested and theorized. In fact the first Ammonia ice rink goes all the way back to the year 1870 in New York. Along with ice rinks Ammonia was used in a variety of other applications including refrigerators, food processing, and industrial facilities.

In the 1930’s when the coming of R-12 and R-22 Freon began the use of Ammonia in refrigeration and air-conditioning began to lessen as CFCs and HCFC refrigerants provided a non-toxic solution. No one wanted a potential lethal refrigerator in their home.  There were a few industries however such as food, beverage, and chemical  that embraced Ammonia and have stuck with it throughout the past one-hundred years. Chances are that the meat or milk you are buying went through an Ammonia refrigeration system at one point in it’s supply cycle. Besides food and beverage industries ice rinks also stuck with the use of Ammonia. Manufacturers favored it over other refrigerants due to it being the most cost effective and energy efficient refrigerant out there. The downside as I mentioned above is the toxicity. Remember folks, there is no perfect refrigerant. Each one has it’s Pros and Cons.

Over the years R-22 chipped away at Ammonia’s dominance in the ice rink industry as well as food and drink processing. When the phase out of R-22 and other HCFCs were announced alternative refrigerants were introduced into ice rinks such as HFCs R-134a and R-404A. But now, here we are again with HFCs being phased out and 134a and 404A going away. So, what is left for ice rinks besides Ammonia? Is there a safe alternative that will stand the test of time?

CO2 to the Rescue

Carbon Dioxide refrigerant, or R-744, is now starting to compete with Ammonia on the ice rink market as well as many other applications. This is mainly due to the other competitors such as R-404A and R-134a being phased out across the world due to their high Global Warming Potential. That’s not even mentioning the old standby of R-22 which is practically completely phased out. There really wasn’t much left out there folks. I’m waiting for an HFO alternative from Honeywell or Chemours to be marketed towards ice rinks but so far I haven’t found one. (Maybe 1234yf?)

The first CO2 ice rink was installed in 1999. Since then the pace has been very slow. This is mainly due to the efficiency of Carbon Dioxide.  In the 2000’s a R-744 (CO2) ice rink would require fifteen compressors to operate. The Ammonia counter part only needed two. Fifteen compressors to two. The Carbon Dioxide was extraordinary expensive and just impractical. Can you imagine diagnosing that fifteen compressor monster if something went wrong?

The good news is that with most things all it takes is time. Over the years the new and better technology allowed R-744 refrigerant to be more competitive against Ammonia. Now, with each passing year the cost of R-744 refrigeration is shrinking and shrinking. While it is not at Ammonia energy and efficiency levels yet CO2 is non-toxic and the technology is only getting better.

Now, in 2017, there are more and more CO2 ice rinks opening up. Sourcing from Ammonia21.com there are approximately twenty-five to thirty CO2 ice rinks installed and running across the world with twenty of them being in Canada. Europe has been resistant to the change and has still been going strong with Ammonia but here in the United States and in Canada many new arenas have opted for the CO2 refrigeration. I can predict only more CO2 rinks in the future.

Conclusion

It’s hard to say if CO2 will take over the reigns of ice rink and other commercial refrigeration needs or if we will be using Ammonia for decades to come. While I agree Ammonia is a efficient refrigerant I feel that we need to put as much research and money that we can into CO2. It’s a safe, non-toxic, and non environmentally damaging refrigerant. The risk of Ammonia, albeit small, is still there. If it was me I’d worry about toxicity first and then the environment. It’s time we get away from the toxic refrigerants for everyone’s safety.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Most of you know that I got my start and interest in the industry about ten years ago when I worked as a purchaser for a larger automotive dealer group. Part of my responsibilities were  to negotiate, purchase, and co-ordinate refrigerant R-134a purchasing. Occasionally, we would do some 404A for the refrigerated trucks but most of the time it was 134a. I would contact my distributors get a quote, compare that quote to others, negotiate the price down as best as I could, and then purchase. When we would purchase it would be at a minimum of a pallet at a time. (Most refrigerant come forty cylinders to a pallet.) At times it would be a couple pallets and other times, towards the beginning of the season, we would buy a trailer-load of refrigerant. (Twenty pallets.)

By doing this for a few years I began to get a sense on what to do and what not to do when it came to refrigerant purchasing. In 2013 I started my own online business selling refrigerant cylinders on the side. This venture only lasted a few months but it did generate a decent amount of sales and I learned a lot. I ran into a problem of storage requirements and also ended up being upside down on freight. Juggling this side business with my full time job as well as making time for my newly born daughter just wasn’t feasible. I shut the business down and then mulled things over for a while. Then, that next year in 2014 I decided to start up RefrigerantHQ.com and I have been working on it off and on every since.

Throughout these years and different ventures I feel that I have acquired a decent amount of knowledge on how to purchase refrigerant and where to buy from. Today, I would like to share this with you.

Proper Licensing

First things first folks. Before I get into my buyer’s guide I want to point out that in order to purchase any kind of refrigerant you are either going to need to:

  1. Be certified with the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency. Depending on the type of refrigerant you are purchasing you will either need to be either 608 or 609 certified. Please note that there are different types of 608 certification. (Click here for EPA 608 Certification Types.) The safest method is to be universally certified to cover your bases. Also, 609 automotive certification is much easier to obtain then a 608. In some instances these can be done by your employer if they have a trainer’s license.
  2. If an employer wishes to purchase a refrigerant then that employer will need to provide written proof that they have a 608/609 technician on file before they can purchase.

All of this criteria above is dictated by the EPA. For more information on the refrigerant restriction rules please click here to be taken to the official EPA page. There is one change to this restriction that goes into effect in only a few months on January, 1st 2018. This change now adds HFC refrigerants such as R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A to the refrigerant sales restriction. Before, since these HFC refrigerants did not damage the Ozone layer you did not need to prove that you were certified but the EPA has now changed their policy. Truth be told though folks most distributors were already asking for cert numbers on HFC refrigerants even before this change went into effect. Not much of a difference here except now you HAVE to ask for certification numbers.

How Much Are You Buying?

This is the question and it is a big one. Just like with anything in this world the more you buy the cheaper you can get it. It is no different with refrigerant. Another point to mention here is that refrigerant is by all measures a commodity. The price changes wildly back and forth over the seasons. What that means is that there is room for negotiation on price, especially if you are purchasing larger quantities. Let’s take a look at the refrigerant buying levels and what can be done witch each:

  • Little – If you are a do-it-yourselfer looking to get your hands on five or ten pounds of refrigerant then you are going to have a hard time. Today, as I write this you can purchase cylinders of refrigerant on Amazon.com or E-Bay.com. I fear that once the new refrigerant restriction rules go into effect in 2018 that these cylinders will vanish from online retailers. This is the sales restriction’s purpose though. They want to avoid novices or do-it-yourselfers working with AC machines. The chance of them accidentally venting or causing a leak of refrigerant in their system is very high since they are not experienced. There is an exception in the EPA’s restriction that allows small cans of refrigerants that are less then two pounds to be sold without a certification. The problem here is that these cans usually only come for automotive applications. If you are looking to purchase refrigerant for your home unit you may be out of luck unless you are 608/609 certified.
    • If you are certified and just need a few pounds of refrigerant the best way would to contact either your local HVAC company or a HVAC parts distributor like Johnstone Supply. If they are willing they would be able to sell to you after you provide your certification. Now there may still be refrigerant cylinders available for online purchase but if they are then the seller will be asking for your certification number before the product has shipped. If they do not ask for this in 2018 then they are breaking the law.
  • Medium – In my mind I picture the medium guys as business owners who either run a small HVAC repair company or they have a small automotive shop. These guys may need a few cylinders at a time but definitely cannot handle a forty cylinder pallet. These customers are 608/609 certified but just don’t have enough demand to require buying in larger quantities. Most of the time they are buying from HVAC wholesalers such as Johnstone Supply. While most distributors only sell in pallet quantities there are a few out there that will work with you and sell five cylinders at a time. There isn’t much room for negotiation here on pricing but it never hurts to try. Another point on this buying group is that you as the purchaser may be required to pay freight to ship the refrigerant. When you get to be purchasing a pallet at a time freight is usually pre-paid.
  • Large – Alright so now we’re getting onto the bigger guys. These are larger HVAC companies or shops/automotive dealerships. These guys can comfortably buy a pallet or two pallets at a time. (Remember a pallet is forty cylinders of refrigerant.) Like before these guys are EPA certified. The difference here is that they may have a corporate buyer buying for them rather than the actual technician or business owner who is certified. This buyer will need to provide the 608/609 number of one of the technicians that work for the company. There are a few things to note when buying a pallet or even multiple pallets of refrigerant:
    • It is typically standard practice to have the vendor pre-pay the freight when purchasing a pallet of refrigerant. If your distributor wants you to pay freight then I would fight it and push it back to them to pay. However, if they insist that you pay freight it honestly won’t be so bad as you are paying for an LTL shipment of one pallet. The only catch here is that it is a hazardous material so there will be an up-charge for the delivery. If I was to guess I’d rate it at about one-hundred and fifty dollars to two-hundred and fifty dollars for an LTL shipment.
    • The second point when buying in pallets is that the door is opened for negotiations on price. When I would have a two to three pallet order that I needed to place I would call around to three to four, sometimes five to six, refrigerant distributors. This would give me an average price point and then I would begin negotiating pricing down by pitting the distributors against each other. When I was satisfied with my price I would issue my purchase order and call it good. Now, you don’t want to do this back and forth all the time and you don’t want your supplier to hit bottom either. Remember, that the distributors need to make a profit as well and that you are not just buying from them but you are also establishing a relationship. If you have a habit of driving the price down to the bottom then it may come to the point where they don’t even want to deal with you.
  • Trailerloads – Now we’re on to the big boys. These are your chains of automotive dealerships or very large HVAC repair business in a larger city or in a network of cities. A trailer load of refrigerant is set at twenty pallets times forty cylinders a pallet or eight-hundred cylinders of refrigerant. Like before these buyers are certified with the EPA either through 608 and 609 and a corporate buyer is most likely co-coordinating the purchase and distribution of the trailer-load. This buyer will need to provide the 608/609 number of one of the technicians that work for the company. There are a few things to note when buying a trailerload of refrigerant:
    • Freight should be pre-paid by the vendor. There should be no question in this. If you are spending that much money with them they should be more then willing to pay for the freight.
    • Freight leads me right into my next point. When buying a trailerload you should be able to negotiate multiple drops of your trailer with your vendor. What that means is if you have a dealership in Kansas City and one in Saint Louis that the trailerload will drop ten pallets in Saint Louis, go across I-70, and then drop the remaining ten pallets in Kansas City. This should come at no extra charge to you as again you are paying for a full trailerload of refrigerant. Depending on the carrier and the vendor you are working with you should be able to squeeze our two drops maybe even three drops as long as the cities are close to each other.
    • The door is wide open to negotiate on price when dealing with twenty pallets. Distributors love a trailerload shipment because it’s easy. If done right they can purchase it directly from their manufacturer and have the manufacturer dropship the product without the distributor even touching the goods. The only thing they’d have to do is co-ordinate the shipment and the delivery. Because this is easy for them and they are getting a large sale you have plenty of room to negotiate that price down.
    • The last point I’ll make on trailerload purchasing is that there is the possibility to contact the refrigerant manufacturers directly instead of going through a distributor. Remember how I said that the distributor wouldn’t have to touch the trailerload? Well, the manufacturer is the one doing the work now.  Wouldn’t it make sense to cut out the middle man and go right for the manufacturers? This will save you quite a bit of money and will allow you to build a relationship with the manufacturer for your next large purchase.

When To Buy

I mentioned this earlier but refrigerants are a commodity. What I mean by that is that their prices can change at the drop of a hat. I like to use the analogy of the price of oil. We always hear about the price of oil going up and down per barrel. One day it’s this and the next day it’s that. It’s just a fact of life. Refrigerant is very similar to this except we just don’t hear about it in the news.

Predictably, refrigerant’s highest price for the year is in the dead of summer. That goes for the homeowners and the business owners. If you are an HVAC company in July and you find yourself out of refrigerant you are going to be paying a pretty penny to get some more. At that point the price almost doesn’t matter. Without it you can’t do your jobs and your techs sit. On the reverse side the bottom price for refrigerant is winter. It’s that whole supply and demand thing again. No one is buying much in winter so the price tends to drop and drop until the Spring comes.

Typically the price will peak towards the end of July or in August. There have been a few times where I have seen September carry a high price but it usually comes down when October comes around. Instead of experiencing a typical crash the price will slowly creep down with each week that passes by until we hit December and January where the price is the lowest it’s going to get.

This December and January time is the absolute best time to buy if you are worried about price. There has been enough time for the previous summer’s inflated price to die off and the new demand for the next year hasn’t begun to hit yet. If you wait until February you are going to begin to see prices start to rise. The reason that is a lot of these bigger companies who can handle trailerloads begin buying multiple trailers in preparation for the upcoming Spring and Summer season. It’s usually about mid-February when these big orders start coming in. The trailers usually hit the buyer’s docks a couple weeks from there and then they are ready and rearing to go for March all the way until the end of the year.

The last thing I’ll mention in this section is that if you are one those early buyers is that you need to watch the market when summer comes. I remember one year where I had bought at sixty dollars a cylinder for R-134a in the winter. Then, that summer the price kept climbing and climbing until it broke two-hundred dollars a cylinder. Here’s the problem though. Our guys were still selling cylinders at eighty or ninety dollars a cylinder. We sold out in no time and only found out later that we were priced WAY below market. We left a whole bunch of money on the table. Don’t let that happen to you. If you see the market climbing don’t be afraid to raise your prices as well to keep in line with the competition.

Where To Buy From?

First things first before we get onto the different distributors I want to point out that all these companies are just that, distributors. They are not manufacturing this product. Refrigerant primarily comes from one of four places: Honeywell, Chemours, Mexichem, and Arkema. The only thing you have to look out for when dealing with distributors is making sure that you are not getting imported Chinese product. A lot of the times the Chinese product is bad quality, not mixed correctly, or is not even the right refrigerant that you ordered. A safe practice when dealing with a distributor is asking exactly what manufacturers they carry. That way you know exactly what product you are buying from and I can assure you that if it is from one of those four names that I mentioned above that you are getting quality product.

Without further ado let’s take a look at our listing of refrigerant distributors:

Airgas Refrigerants – http://www.airgasrefrigerants.com/

Airgas Refrigerants is a large refrigerant distributor. I bought from these guys when I was a buyer and again back in 2013 when I had my online business, they were very helpful and I had no issues with product quality. They were recently acquired by our next distributor Hudson Technologies.

Hudson Technologies – http://www.hudsontech.com/

Hudson Technologies is one of the largest distributors in the United States. They hold many patents in the refrigeration industry and claim to be one of the biggest reclamation companies in the country. They offer ON-SITE refrigeration services no matter where you are in the country. On top of that they have been growing like crazy through acquisitions and innovation.

A-Gas Americas – http://www.agasamericas.com/

A-Gas Americas is the direct competitor with Hudson Technologies. A-Gas is the other largest refrigerant distributor in the country and have also been acquiring and growing like crazy through the United States, Canada, and Mexico. They are owned by their parent company A-Gas out of the United Kingdom. If you ever used to work with Coolgas or RemTec International then you’ve worked with A-Gas. These companies combined with A-Gas to form A-Gas Americas back in 2012.

Refrigerant Depot – http://www.refrigerantdepot.com/

Refrigerant Depot, formerly known as Automart Wholesale, was founded in 1995. They are based out of Orlando and provide very competitive pricing on pallets nationwide. All of their products are produced in the United States by major manufacturers. I’ve bought from these guys in the past and have had no issues.

Lenz Distributors – http://www.lenzdist.com/

Lenz Distributors has been in business for eighteen years and sells over three million pounds of refrigerant annually.

Weitron Inc – http://www.weitron.com/

Weitron is a worldwide distributor of refrigerants. They were founded in 1992 in Maryland and have since expanded to supplying locations all over the United States and globally. Weitron is committed to quality product and great customer service. Again, I’ve bought from Weitron in the past and did not have any issues or complaints.

Refrigerants Inc – http://refrigerantsinc.com/

Refrigerants Inc was founded in 1997  and have now expanded to three hub locations across the United States. Their locations in Denver, Omaha, and Chicago provide same or next day shipping to most areas of the United States. Customer sanctification is their goal and they work to earn their customers.

Altair Partners – http://www.altairpartnerslp.com/

Altair was founded in 1991 as an importer of industrial chemicals and have expanded to other chemicals, refrigeration ,and oils. Altair is committed to providing the best quality products as well as the most competitive price. Altair prides itself on it’s numerous international connections and breadth.

 

TulStar – http://www.tulstar.com/products/chemicals/refrigerants/

Tulstar was founded back in 1986 and have built up to a leader in industrial chemical and oil distribution. They sell many other products as well as refrigerants.

 

JohnStone Supply – http://www.johnstonesupply.com/storefront/index.ep

I am sure everyone had heard of JohnStone Supply. They are one of the leaders in HVAC distribution, not just in refrigerants but in all manners of tools, parts, and accessories. JohnStone was founded way back in 1953 and is now a recognized name throughout the HVAC industry. They average over $1.5 billion in sales and growing. They are the go to for a large portion of HVAC contractors.

 

Chinese Product

Yes, of course Chinese product is available… but it is tough to know exactly what product you are getting if you decide to import product yourself. Manufacturing refrigerant is complex and some imported refrigerants will not have the exact same chemical formula as locally made product. Now, this could be due to ignorance or the exporting company trying to get their cost as low as possible. Some of these concoctions are harmless but others can result in increased flammability which could lead to injury to you or technicians. Best advice I can give is to do your research and to know exactly what you are getting.

Conclusion

Alright folks well that is everything that I have learned and know about purchasing refrigerant. I hope that this guide was useful and will aide you with your next refrigerant purchase.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Something that can be confusing to a lot of technicians rather they are a residential tech, commercial tech, or a mechanic is refrigerant oil. The goal of a refrigerant lubricant is to lubricate the compressor and to also have the appropriate miscibility and solubility characteristics to interact with the refrigerant accordingly. There are many different types of oil that are used in the refrigeration cycle and it all depends mostly on two things:

  1. What kind of refrigerant you are working with.
  2. What the manufacturer of the compressor calls for.

But, what are the different kinds of oils out there? How do they differ? Is there one that is better over the other? Let’s take some time and find out.

Mineral Oil

Mineral refrigerant oil, also known as Alkyl Benzene Oil, is probably the one that most of you are used to. Until recently mineral oils were the default lubricant used in refrigeration systems. Chances are that if you have an older R-22 unit installed that it is most likely using mineral oil. These types of oils have been used in refrigeration for decades.

When HFC refrigerants began to gain popularity the use of mineral oils started to decline. HFC units could not use mineral oils due to them proving insufficient lubrication and due to the mixing ability of mineral oils.

Refrigerants that commonly used mineral oils were your CFC and HCFC refrigerants such as R-12, R-22, and R-502. Mineral oils can also be used with other refrigerants such as Ammonia or some Hydrocarbons as well.

POE Oil

POE Oil, or Poly Olester Oil, is a synthetic oil that was designed to meet the needs of the changing refrigeration industry. While these synthetic oils have been around for decades they were always seen as too expensive when it came to using in CFC or HCFC systems. This all changed when the phase out of CFC/HCFC refrigerants began in the 1990’s and 2000’s.

HFC refrigerants on the market today are the primary users of POE oil. These can include some of your most common refrigerants such as R-404A and R-410A. As mentioned in our mineral oil section the POE oil was selected for HFC usage to achieve acceptable miscibility between the refrigerant and the oil and also to provide sufficient lubrication to the compressor. In some instances there are some HFC refrigerants and compressors out there that were designed as drop-in replacements for older HCFC units. In these cases using mineral oils may be acceptable but again always check with the compressor and the refrigerant to ensure accuracy.

One last point of note is that POE oils absorb 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.

PAG Oil

PAG oil, or Polyalkylene Glycol, is a fully synthetic hygroscopic oil specifically designed for automotive air conditioner compressors. It is used in R-134a air conditioning systems to lubricate the compressor. When looking at PAG oil you will notice various numbers such as PAG46 or PAG100. These numbers refer to the viscosity of the oil, similar to 10W30 oil. In order to determine the correct PAG viscosity for your vehicle you will need to look up the specifications of your make and model of your vehicle either online or in the instruction manual.

As I stated above the primary users of PAG oil are automotive applications. Since the entire automotive market is switching soon over to the HFO 1234yf I would like to also point out that YF refrigerant also takes PAG oil as well.

Lastly, just like POE oils PAG oils are hygroscopic and can absorb moisture at a much faster rate than mineral oil. Because of this the time allowed for the compressor to be exposed to the atmosphere has to be short. Best practice is to ensure everything is set and ready before pulling the plugs on the compressor. Remember, one of the leading causes of failures in automotive HVAC is contamination.

 

Conclusion

Regardless of what I have said above the safest method for when choosing an oil to use in your refrigeration unit is to follow the instructions on the compressor. Most of the time new compressors will come prefilled with oil but if they are not or you need to add oil to your system then please please use what the compressor calls for. Otherwise, you could be looking at the wrong oil not circulating through the system and accumulating in your evaporator. This could eventually cause failure of the compressor and other components due to little or no lubrication.

Lastly, some companies have stated that it is ok to mix oils like Mineral with POE but from what I have found in my research the best advice is to NOT mix oils. In some instances the mixed oil doesn’t flow correctly and you could end up with the same result as before of having it pile up in your evaporator instead of circulating and again potentially causing damage to the system.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to answer your questions. As always if you see something that I missed or something that is incorrect please reach out to me by clicking this link.

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

 

Flammable Refrigerants

You may have noticed these while looking through Safety Data Sheets. You may have noticed them when looking at labels on refrigerant cylinders. I hope you noticed them while you were in the classroom. Either way, there are a lot of questions about how refrigerants and their safety group classifications and I’m going to do my best to answer them.

ASHRAE has come up with a classification of refrigerants that measures them by toxicity and by flammability. ASHRAE, or American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, has been around all the way back since 1894. They provide a collection of the technical and educational information in the heating, ventilating, refrigerating, and air-conditioning. Their official site can be found by clicking here. Through most circles they are seen as the standard bearer and the first most resource when it comes to refrigeration safety.

Toxicity

It should be noted that all substances can be toxic in sufficient amounts. Toxic effects have been observed in some of the most mundane substances such as water, salt, oxygen, and carbon dioxide but all of these were in extreme quantities. The key and the main difference between what is deemed as safe and what is viewed as toxic is the quantity or concentration needed to cause harm, and in some cases, the duration or repetition of exposure. Substances that pose a high risk with small quantity, even with short exposures, are regarded as highly toxic.

When it comes to refrigerants ASHRAE has divided them into two groups according to their toxicity:

  • Class A toxicity signifies refrigerants for which toxicity has not been identified at concentrations of less than or equal to four-hundred parts per million. Some example refrigerants that are rated as non toxic are R-22, R-134a, R-410A.
  • Class B toxicity signifies refrigerants for which there is evidence of toxicity at concentrations below four hundred parts per million. Some example refrigerants are Ammonia (R-717), and Opteon XP30 (R-514A).

As far as toxic refrigerants there are very few that are still on the market place today. Going back in time to the beginning of refrigeration toxicity was a problem with Ammonia but in today’s world there are very few toxic refrigerants that are still used.

That being said, there may be a resurfacing of toxic refrigerants with the new Hydrofluroolefin line of refrigerants that are being developed. As an example the new Opteon XP30 (R-514A) is rated as a class B toxicity level. This new refrigerant is designed to be a replacement for R-123 for centrifugal chillers. To be fair R-123 is also rated as a B classification so nothing has really changed here.

Flammability

As I am sure most of you know flammability is a measurement of a substance’s ability to burn or ignite causing a fire or combustion. The two things that you look for when measuring flammability are what’s known as flash point and vapor pressure. The flash point is the absolute lowest temperature of a substance at which it can vaporize to form an ignitable mixture in the air. Vapor pressure indicates the evaporation rate. The higher the vapor pressure the lower the flash point and the higher flammability risk.

When it comes to refrigerants and their flammability ASHRAE has measured and classified them by three groupings:

  • Class 1 – No Flame Propagation.
    • This class indicates refrigerants that do not show flame propagation when tested in air at 21° Celsius (69.8° Fahrenheit) and 101 KPA. (14.6488 pounds of force per square inch.) In other words there is no risk here for flammability. Some example refrigerants are R-134a, R-410A, and R-22.
  • Class 2 – Lower Flammability
    • This class indicates refrigerants having a lower flammability limit of more than 0.10 kilograms per cubic meter or 0.0062 pounds per cubic foot at 21° Celsius (69.8° Fahrenheit) and 101 kPa (14.6488 pounds of force per square inch.) and a heat of combustion of less than 19 Kilojoule/Kilogram or 8.168 BTU/Pounds. Sorry for all of the conversions here but I wanted to cover my bases. I converted these using online tools but if you see something incorrect please reach out to me.
    • Some example refrigerants under this class two flammability category are: R-717 (Ammonia), R-141b, R-143a.
  • Class 2L – Lower Burning Velocity
    • Refrigerants in this sub-classification have a burning velocities less than or equal to 10 cm/s (3.9 in./s)
    • Now you may have noticed that at the beginning of this section that I said that there were three flammability classifications according to ASHRAE. Well, this was recently changed by adding this sub-classification. This was done to accommodate the new HFO refrigerant line, specifically the new HFO-1234yf automotive refrigerant.
  • Class 3 – Higher Flammability
    • Refrigerants in this classification indicate that they are highly flammable as defined by a lower flammability limit of less than or equal to 0.10 kilograms per cubic meter or 0.0062 pounds per cubic foot at 21° Celsius (69.8° Fahrenheit) and 101 kPa (14.6488 pounds of force per square inch.) or a heat of combustion greater than or equal to 19 Kilojoule/Kilogram or 8.168 BTU/Pounds.
    • Example refrigerants rated as a class three flammability are your Hydrocarbons. These include your R-170 (Ethane), R-290 (Propane), and R-600a (Isobutane).

 

Conclusion

Now when looking at the toxicity and flammability of a refrigerant you will notice that the toxicity and flammability classifications are combined into a letter and number combination. A few examples would be A1, B2, A3, A2. If you are ever unsure of what the classification is of the refrigerant that you are working on it is best to check the Safety Data Sheet that you have on file. If you cannot find it in your safety data sheet then I would recommend calling you supplier, calling the manufacturer, or even calling ASHRAE for assistance.

 

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

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

The other day I wrote an article about Hudson Technologies acquiring one of my favorite refrigerant companies of the past, AirGas/Refron Refrigerants. This article can be found here, but basically in that article I went over how as the years pass by that the number of refrigerant distributors and declaimers across the country are shrinking and shrinking. It seems like it is like that with everything nowadays though. Everything is consolidating into these huge conglomerates. Refrigerant is no exception. Looking at the future I only see two major refrigerant re-claimers/distributors left: Hudson Technologies and A-Gas Americas.

These two companies have been buying and gobbling up all of the little guys left in the country. It seems like every other month there is a new acquisition. A few days ago I received the news alert that A-Gas was purchasing Diversified Pure Chem Refrigerants. Pure Chem is a company known for offering high refrigerant buyback rates and a no-hassle, no surprise, buyback program. Taken from their website, their motto is: “Get more than you expect when you reclaim direct.”

One of the main selling parts of PureChem, or DPC, is that there is no middleman. They buyback and reclaim the refrigerant themselves in their forty-thousand square foot facility in Texas. Their main office is in Texas well out of the city of Rhome. Along with their office and reclaiming facility they also have thirteen distribution points across the country.

The goal of this acquisition was to give A-Gas Americas a stronger distribution foothold within the United States and to also increase their ability for reclamation by adding PureChem’s massive forty-thousand square foot facility.

A-Gas Americas is a recent new comer to the American market. In 2012 RemTec, A-Gas, and Coolgas all formed together as one to form the new company A-Gas Americas. Ever since then they have been expanding and acquiring other refrigerant companies like crazy. Their parent company, A-Gas International, is out of the United Kingdom and have assisted in funding and expanding here in the states as well.

Conclusion

While it is sad to see another acquisition happen in the marketplace it is always worth looking at the bright side of things. By A-Gas Americas acquiring PureChem the A-Gas customers will now have that much better customer experience, much faster turn around on refrigerant pick-ups, and refrigerant reclamation.

The other upside here is to the entrepreneur. The guy who started his own company a few years back and had some success but is now looking to move on. These two refrigerant companies give that guy hope. They can give that guy a reward his hard work. I can’t imagine the feeling of working and building on something for years, or even decades, and then be rewarded by the interest of a multi-national company. That’s got to you make feel good.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson
RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

Hello folks and welcome! If you haven’t noticed by now over the past few weeks I have taken the time to go find, research, write, and do a product review on each and every refrigerant leak detector that I could find.

While I did not use these units first hand I want to point out to you that I read through their instruction manuals, I read through all of the existing product reviews, I read through the specifications, I read through the documentation. I went through anything and everything that I could possibly find on these refrigerant leak detectors. My goal here was simple. I wanted to have the largest and most complete article on each of these tools. The question you have to ask is who else in their right mind would go through this? No one that I know of, that’s for sure!

After weeks of doing this I feel that I have a rather large list of product reviews that I have assembled. There are many more still to come but I feel that the list is sufficient enough for the next step. Along with this list has come some knowledge that I would like to share with you. Each and every one of these detectors were different in their own right. Some were better, some were worse, some were innovative, some were standard. The idea that I had in my head and what you will be reading below is a price point comparison table on these detectors. These comparison tables will show you all the different attributes of each detector along with a link to their official product page, their official RefrigerantHQ product review, and a link to either E-Bay or Amazon to purchase.

I will select three detectors from three pricing categories. We will have a low, medium, and high price point. Each detector chosen in these categories are what I have deemed to be the best in class. Yes, I know that there are others out there and there may even be some that I have missed but I can assure you that I have done my research and that if you purchase a medium or high priced product that you will be getting a top quality product that will last you a while and support you on site without issue.

Without further ado, let’s dive in and see what we can learn about the refrigerant detectors on the market today:

High Price

Yes, we are starting with the highest price first. Why? Well folks I feel like I can really brag about these detectors. These are the best of the best. It honestly doesn’t get better than these leak detectors. There are so many features that I can’t list them all.

Each of these brand names you will all recognize as they are synonymous with quality. These are the kinds of detectors that you would see an experienced professional have in his tool bag. The one word of caution here is that these are the high price point so expect to pay anywhere from three-hundred all the way up to five-hundred dollars for these tools. I can assure you though that you are paying for quality and if you are going to be in the industry for a while then I would recommend you purchase quality rather than by price.

Let’s take a look at the comparison table:

Name:INFICON D-TekFieldpiece SRL2 (K7)Bascharach's H-10 Pro
Image:Inficon D-TEK 712-202-G1 Select Refrigerant Leak DetectorFieldpiece SRL2(K7) Advanced Refrigerant Leak DetectorBacharach - H-10 PRO Refrigerant Leak Detector
Type:InfraredInfraredHeated Diode
Refrigerant Detected:CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFOsCFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFOsCFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFO's.
Sensitivity :0.100 Ounces Per Year0.100 Ounces Per Year0.006 Ounces Per Year
Settings:High and LowHigh, Medium, and LowHigh, Medium, and Low
Sensor Life:1,000 Hour Sensor LifeTen YearsAround One Year
Probe Length:Fifteen InchesFifteen InchesFifty-Four Inches
Probe Extension:NoYes, Nine Inch ExtensionNo
Rechargeable Battery:YesYesYes
Battery Life:Seven Hour ChargeEight Hour ChargeThree Hour Charge
Warm-Up Time:Sixty SecondsThirty SecondsTwo Minutes
Warranty:Two Year WarrantyOne Year WarrantyThree Year Warranty
Price Point:MediumMediumHigh
Manufacturer's Website:INFICON's Product PageFieldPiece's Product PageBacharach"s Product Page
Buy Now!Buy Now!Buy Now!
Product Review:RefrigerantHQ's Product ReviewRefrigerantHQ's Product ReviewRefrigerantHQ's Product Review

Now besides these three great products there is one additional premium leak detector that I want to mention before moving on. That detector folks is the JB Industries LD-5000 Prowler. This detector is superb and has amazing sensitivity levels going as low as 0.050 ounces per year. Check out my product review of the Prowler by clicking here.

Medium Price

I have a feeling this is where most of you will end up buying at. These detectors have great quality and allow you to still buy at a decent price. While they may not have all of the bells and whistles as the big boys do above you will definitely notice the difference in your wallet. These detectors will range from around one-hundred dollars upwards to about two-hundred and fifty dollars. As I said before, these are good quality and will serve you well.

Let’s take a look at the comparison table:

Name:INFICON TEK-MateFieldpiece SRL8Robinair TIFXP-1A
Image:Inficon TEK-Mate Refrigerant Leak DetectorFieldpiece Heated Diode Refrigerant Leak Detector - SRL8TIFXP-1A Refrigerant Leak Detector
Type:Heated DiodeHeated DiodeHeated Diode
Refrigerant Detected:CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFOsCFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFOsCFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs
Sensitivity :As low as 0.15 Ounces Per YearAs Low as 0.10 Ounces Per YearAs Low as 0.10 Ounces Per Year
Settings:Low and HighLow, Medium, and HighSeven levels of sensitivity adjustment
Sensor Life:One-Hundred HoursFive YearsTwenty Hours of Use - One Backup in Box
Probe Length:Fifteen InchesFourteen InchesFourteen Inches
Probe Extension:NoYes, Nine InchesNo
Rechargeable Battery:No, Two D-cell batteriesYes, Lithium IonNo. Two C-cell batteries
Battery Life:Sixteen HoursFifteen HoursForty Hours
Warm-Up Time:UnknownThirty SecondsTwo seconds
Mute Button?NoYesYes
Carrying Case?YesYesYes
American Made?YesYesUnknown
Warranty:Two YearOne YearThree Years
Price Point:MediumHighMedium
Manufacturer's Website:Official Product PageOfficial Product PageOfficial Product Page
Buy Now!Buy Now!Buy Now!Buy Now!
Product Review:RefrigerantHQ's Product ReviewRefrigerantHQ's Product ReviewRefrigerantHQ's Product Review

Low Price

Alright folks we’re on to the bottom of the list. There is only one reason why I am including these detectors in my comparison listing today. That reason is that people purchase these detectors. Like it or not, they are purchased every day. It’s the price point that attracts them and the people who do purchase these detectors are usually the do-it-yourselfer tinkering in his garage and trying to repair his 1997 Subaru’s air conditioning system. They use these detectors one or two times and then toss it on the shelf never to be used again.

I’m going to tell you this right now. If you plan to use these low priced detectors over a period of time or for again and again use then I would tell you to stop what you are doing and scroll back up to the medium priced detectors. Yes, I know you will be paying more but I can assure you that you will save yourself a hell of a lot of time and a lot of frustration if you purchase a medium priced detector.

That’s enough of that though. Let’s take a look at the comparison table:

Name:Signstek HLD-100Elitech CLCD-100HDE Detector
Image:Signstek Refrigerant Leak DetectorElitech CLD-100 Refrigerant Leak DetectorHDE AC Refrigerant Leak Detector
Type:Heated DiodeHeated DiodeHeated Diode
Refrigerant Detected:CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCsCFCs, HCFCs, and HFCsCFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs
Sensitivity :As Low As 0.10 Ounces Per YearAs Low As 0.210 Ounces Per YearAs Low As 0.210 Ounces Per Year
Settings:Low and HighTurn-Dial AdjustmentsTurn-Dial Adjustments
Sensor Life:Fifty HoursUnknownUnknown
Probe Length:Fourteen InchesEight InchesSeventeen Inches
Probe Extension:NoNoNo
Rechargeable Battery:NoNo, AAA BatteriesNo
Battery Life:Unknown, complaints of 'eating' batteriesTwenty HoursUnknown
Warm-Up Time:Five to Ten SecondsFive to Ten SecondsFive to Ten Seconds
Mute Button?YesNoNo
Carrying Case?NoNoYes
American Made?UnknownUnknownUnknown
Warranty:UnknownOne YearUnknown
Price Point:LowLowLow
Manufacturer's Website:UnknownOfficial Product PageUnknown
Buy Now!Buy Now!Buy Now!Buy Now!
Product Review:RefrigerantHQ's Product ReviewRefrigerantHQ's Product ReviewRefrigerantHQ's Product Review

You may have noticed that on this table there weren’t very many product pages. There was a reason for this. I couldn’t find them. There were nowhere to be found. I searched Google and other sites. I looked on Amazon for links. I looked all around and there is just no trace.

What this means to me is that some of these products are cheap imports. They are imported in-mass from overseas and just dumped here at rock-bottom prices in hopes of unloading them on consumers as fast as they can. I am not a fan of this as your quality and warranty suffers. You know what they say though: You get what you pay for.

Conclusion

Well folks this article along with it’s comparison tables should give you everything that you would ever need to know about buying a refrigerant leak detector but just in case I am going to refer you to one additional article I wrote on how to find a leak. This article goes into how to use a detector and what steps you should take before resorting to the electronic leak detector. Remember, the electronic detector should be your last step. Never underestimate the power of your eyes. You’ll be amazed at the clues you will find if you just take the time to look around. (Oil stains for example.)

I hope that I was able to help you or your company in your buying decision today.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ