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Greetings everyone. I hope that you and your families are staying safe and healthy during these recent times. It seems that the COVID crisis has slowed most everything down across the world including the HVAC industry. I have been watching the headlines  but have not found anything major enough to write an article on in the past few weeks. That got me thinking though, if there isn’t trending news at this time then why not attempt to make our own?

I had the idea this evening to put together a short survey for my readers. I assure you that it is quite short and will only take a few minutes of your time. The topic is hydrocarbon refrigerants such as R-290 propane and R-600a isobutane. The goal here is to get enough feedback from the readers so that I can not only disseminate everyone’s feelings about hydrocarbons but am also able to find a consensus amongst the industry. It will also give a unique view by area of the world. I am very interested to see how thoughts differ between United States and other countries.

If this goes well I will write a followup article that goes over the results and what some of the most frequent comments are. If this doesn’t go well, then you can be assured that I will go back to our standard article format. Either way, thanks for reading!

Hydrocarbons
What part of the world are you from?
What type of company do you work for?
How likely are you to work with hydrocarbon refrigerants? *
Have you had any training on flammable refrigerants?
Do you believe charge limits should be increased on hydrocarbon applications?
If a customer is looking to move away from HFC refrigerants, which path would you recommend?

Anhydrous Ammonia Leak

R-717, or Anhydrous Ammonia, is widely regarded as one of the most efficient refrigerants in the world. Not only is it efficient it also has zero Ozone Depletion Potential and has a Global Warming Potential of zero. So, you have a highly efficient refrigerant with no impact on the climate. It is these two reasons why we have begun to see more and more companies and countries use Anhydrous Ammonia.

In fact Ammonia was one of the very first refrigerants to be discovered and used. This can be said for a lot of the natural refrigerants such as Ammonia, Carbon Dioxide, and the various Hydrocarbons like Propane or Isobutane. All of these were the grandfathers of refrigerants. It was in the 1930’s that CFCs and HCFC were introduced and we began to see the demand for these natural refrigerants start to dwindle.

After all, these newer CFC/HCFC refrigerants didn’t have any downsides. Natural refrigerants did. Carbon Dioxide operated at very high pressures which caused premature failures. Hydrocarbons were flammable. Ammonia was toxic and flammable. Yes folks, Ammonia is rated as a B2L from ASHRAE. This B signifies refrigerants for which there is evidence of toxicity at concentrations below four hundred parts per million. Refrigerants in the 2L sub-classification are slightly flammable and have a burning velocities less than or equal to 10 cm/s (3.9 in./s)

It is directly because of the downsides on natural refrigerants that I mentioned above that we saw the rise of CFCs and HCFC refrigerants such as R-11, R-12, R-502, R-22, etc. When these refrigerants were phased out due to their effect on the Ozone a new king of artificial refrigerants was announced, HFCs. Some of your most common HFCs out there are your R-125, R-32, R-410A, R-404A, and R-134a. These reigned supreme for about twenty years until we realized what impact that they were having on Climate Change and Global Warming.

The world had realized that we substituted one wrong for another. There had to be a better solution then these climate damaging refrigerants, right? Well folks, that is where the age old debate between natural refrigerants and artificial refrigerants come into play. Honeywell and Chemours (Formerly DuPont) have spent countless hours and money on developing a new classification of artificial refrigerants known as HFOs. These refrigerants are said to have very low Global Warming Potential while also being relatively safe. An HFO might be a 2L, but at least it is not toxic as well.

But, the problem is a lot of folks have felt they have been suckered too many times. First it was CFCs, then HCFCs, then HFCs, and now it’s HFOs? Whose to say that HFOs won’t be gone in another ten years? Why invest money into a machine that could be obsolete in a decade, or worse yet, illegal? I swear the ink wasn’t dry on the 2010 phase out of R-22 and we had already started to hear about phasing down R-410A. This constant changing can wear people out.

The appeal of natural refrigerants is enticing. They have been around for centuries. They are not damaging to the climate. These two facts alone ensure that you will never run into a phase down or phase out situation with these refrigerants. The question though is are they worth the risk? Now, when I say risk I’m not talking about Carbon Dioxide, or even Hydrocarbons for that matter. My focal point here is Ammonia.

As I mentioned earlier Ammonia is both toxic and flammable. Now many companies will minimize this and state that it is perfectly fine and safe if the proper precautions, maintenance, and regulations are followed. This very well may be true, but what happens when a mistake is made? If you’re just dealing with a smaller charged application then it’s not too big of a deal. However, if you are using Ammonia refrigerant in large quantities then disaster can strike.

Before I go further I want to preface this with that I am going to get a lot e-mails on this article. It seems that whenever I bring up Ammonia I get a lot of feedback. Some folks for it and some folks against it. Most of the time though it is folks arguing for it. So, in this article I am going to go against the grain here and try to paint you a picture of what can happen when Ammonia leaks or spills can occur and why we should be looking at alternative refrigerants.

A few years back I wrote an article about an unfortunate event in Canada. An Ammonia leak had occurred at a small town’s ice rink. Three workers, who were trying to repair the leak, died due to Ammonia exposure. An entire city block was evacuated by the local fire department. It was a tragedy for the small town. This one event, while extreme, shows you what kind of damage Ammonia can do.

To give you an even clearer picture I searched around Google and pulled Ammonia leak related stories over the past eighteen months. While fatalities are rare, they can still occur. The common theme throughout these leaks is evacuations and injuries. The sheer amount of incidents below should give you an idea of why I am not for Ammonia refrigerant use. (In large charge applications.)

Conclusion

If you are looking at a new system for your plant, factory, ice rink, or whatever else please consider something other then Ammonia. Review the latest HFO refrigerants out there. Or, if you want to stay with natural refrigerants then take a good hard look at Carbon Dioxide R-744. CO2 has made great strides over the past decades and is quickly becoming one of the major players within the refrigerant industry.

If you do end up going with Ammonia though just know that there is a chance of any one of the events I listed above happening at your location. It could be a small leak that is handled right away or it could be a catastrophe like what happened in Canada. Be absolutely sure you schedule proper maintenance and take any and all precautions you can so that you can give your employees and your customers a safe place to work and visit.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

MRCOOL DIY Series Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner & Heat Pump

A friend of mine is approaching retirement. He has just a few years left and he is already making plans. One of these plans of his was to purchase a small cottage in the Ozarks. For those of you who aren’t from Kansas City, the Ozarks are a few hours south of here and are very similar to Appalachia. There are lots of forests, rivers, and hunting to be had. The place he purchased came with over thirty acres to play around with. The home though was rather small at only around twelve-hundred square feet. The home was also very old and did not have a central air conditioning system. There was an old window unit in the living room that did a mediocre job of cooling the home but it didn’t help for the winter months, it didn’t reach the bedrooms, and it needed to be replaced anyways.

He brought this up a few weeks ago when we were having a few and I told him to look into getting a ductless system. You see a ductless system can give you significantly more power then a standard window or mobile air conditioner. Along with the additional power it is much less of an eye sore. I didn’t see the old window unit that he had at his home but I can only imagine what it looked like. You’ve all seen them. Those old rusted looking units that look like they could fall at any moment. A ductless system mounts to your interior wall and to the outside of your home. You don’t lose a window. You don’t have to cut a huge hole in your wall to fit the wall unit. All you need is a three to four inch hole to fit the refrigerant lines through and you are good to go!

Personally, I am a big fan of ductless systems. Obviously, I am going to go with a central unit first if it’s possible, but if it’s not then I am going for the ductless. Yes they are more expensive but you are getting a better product too. In this article we are going to take an in-depth look at one of these ductless systems, MRCool Do-It-Yourself Smart Air Conditioner and Heater.

Please note that this will be a comprehensive review. I will try and cover everything including sizing requirements, installation, product features, the pros, and the cons. You can expect a lot of reading on your part but at the end you will definitely know what you are getting into and if this is the right product for you and your family.

Before You Buy

Ok folks so before we get into the features and the pros/cons of these air conditioners from MRCOOL I want to cover a few topics: Sizing and Installation. These sections are key for when you are shopping for a ductless system. The sizing allows you to accurately predict exactly what size air conditioner that you need and the install section will give you an idea of what to expect when the air conditioner arrives at your home.

Sizing

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

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

To understand air conditioner sizing you need to understand British Thermal Units, or BTUs. If you have already been looking online or in stores you have probably noticed that window air conditioners always have a BTU number in their description. BTUs are the traditional measurement unit of heat.  In the air conditioning world BTUs are a measurement of the cooling capacity of your window air conditioner. The bigger the number of BTUs the more powerful and the higher cooling capacity of your A/C unit.  As a standard measurement an air conditioner needs around thirty BTUs for each square foot of living space that you wish to cool. Using that standard measurement let’s do some match based off of the 24,000 BTU rating example we pulled from earlier.

24,000 / 30 = 800 square feet

To ensure that you are buying the right sized air conditioner for your room it is best to measure it. To get the square footage of your room measure the width and depth of your room and then multiply the numbers together to get your square footage. As an example if you have a ten foot by eleven foot room you have one-hundred and ten square foot.

There are also other considerations when looking at your room. Yes, the size of the room definitely matters but these other scenarios could have a play into what kind of air conditioner you should purchase such as is the room sunny all day? How many people will be in the room at a time? How tall is the ceiling? Is the room in the kitchen or other hot appliance? All of these are signs that you need to increase the BTUs for your air conditioner.

The MRCOOL Ductless Systems come in a variety of sizes. To give you a better idea of what square footage they all fall under we’ve broken it down for you below. Just keep in mind folks that if you have some of the exceptions we mentioned above that you will need to increase the BTUs required.

Install

This product is marketed as a do-it-yourself project. While that is great and doing it yourself can save you a bundle when it comes to hiring a professional HVAC technician, you should know exactly what you are getting into before you purchase. Doing it yourself doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy and if you guess your way through it then you not only risk voiding your warranty but you could also end up harming yourself or others when it comes to the electrical work. If you do wish to install the unit yourself then please continue reading on exactly what will need to be done.

First, the good news is that everything is included in the kit including a detailed installation manual. This manual can also be found at the bottom of this article under our ‘Important Link’s section if you wish to view an online copy. It should be noted that this kit does NOT come with exterior mounting brackets and superficial coverings. If you wish to go this route you will have to purchase these extra. The right brackets and coverings though can easily be found on Amazon by clicking here for the brackets and here for the coverings. The coverings are more aesthetic then anything, but they can provide an extra bit of protection to your lines. It is up to you if you want the extra expense or not.MRCOOL DIY Series Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner & Heat Pump1

Now, for the install there are four main sections that will have to be done. The first two are the easiest. When you order this product you will receive an indoor section and an outdoor section. The outside section can either be mounted against your home using support brackets or it can be installed at ground level as long as you create a completely level floor pad. Most folks opt for the floor pad option as it is overall easier to install this way and if you have to do maintenance on the unit down the road you will have much easier access. Creating the floor pad can be done with bricks, cinder blocks, or even your own concrete pad.

The inside unit will need to be mounted up against an exterior wall. Some folks have done interior walls, and while yes it is possible… I would not recommend it. Remember, that once the interior section is mounted you will need to connect the refrigerant pipes and the condensation line to the outside unit. This is why it makes sense to have them on the other side of the wall.

When mounting the interior unit be sure to mount it high up against the wall, close to the ceiling. This is done for two main reasons. The first is that the fan or blower is located at the bottom of the unit. So, the higher the unit is mounted in the room the more easily the air can be distributed. If you have it towards the bottom of the room then all your cold air is blowing up against the floor. The other reason is the condensation line. This is where the water will drain through when excess humidity is removed from your home. This line is gravity fed so if your unit is floor level that water will have nowhere to go.

Alright folks so now we have the easy parts covered. The next point, and a tricky point for a lot of folks, is feeding the refrigerant and condensation lines through your home and connecting them to the exterior section. In order to do this you will need to cut a three and a half inch hole in the wall nearby where you have chosen to mount your interior unit. This is where you will feed the lines. When planning this out you should note that the MRCOOL unit comes with twenty-five feet of refrigerant line. To some this amount of piping is a blessing and to others a cruse. If you only have about ten feet needed then you have to be creative and find a way to ‘hide’ the other fifteen feet.

This unit from MRCOOL comes precharged with refrigerant. What that means is that the system is ready to go and no vacuuming or charging of the system is required. While this is a great pro it can also be a detriment as you have to be extra careful when routing these refrigerant lines through the hole and to the outside unit. Make no mistake, this is the hardest part of the install. You can NOT bend the lines. You can NOT cut or modify the tubing. If any of this occurs and a crack or leak forms in the tubing then all of the refrigerant will leak out and you will have a useless machine. If this does happen then you need to identify the source of the leak, patch it, and then charge your system again with refrigerant. You will most likely need a HVAC professional’s help in this scenario. But, hopefully it doesn’t come to this and you are very careful with the piping.

Once the tubing has been routed through the hole and both sections have been mounted you are now ready to seal the three and a half inch hole we made earlier. A lot of folks used weather proof insulation. I like the spray foam that expands. Either way, you need to seal this hole up to prevent drafts, water, and anything else from getting in there.

Alright folks, the last section of the install is the electrical portion. The twelve-thousand BTU unit requires a one-hundred and ten connection whereas the larger sizes require a two-hundred and twenty volt connection. Please note that regardless of what size of ductless system you choose it will have to be hardwired to your circuit box either through a one-hundred and ten or a two-hundred and twenty volt connection. Now, I’ll be completely honest with you here folks, I do not have much electrical expertise and it would be wrong for me to steer you a certain way for the install. From my research though I have found that you need a fifteen amp breaker for the smaller twelve-thousand unit and a twenty amp breaker for the larger sizes. Now, as to how to install these and connect them I am not knowledgeable enough to guide you. If you are not familiar with how to do this then I would recommend reaching out to an electrician once you have the unit itself setup and ready to go. It is best not to guess with electrical work and if you do it wrong then you risk voiding your warranty… not to mention harming yourself. Electricity is no joke.

Once you have finished the electrical work and everything else is done it is recommended by the manufacturer to run the air conditioner for ten to fifteen minutes and monitor the system for leaks. If the air conditioner passes then run the heater for ten to fifteen minutes as well. Note that the heater may take longer for it to truly start up so it may be best to let it run for a half-hour or so just to ensure everything is working as it should be. For any further questions or concerns when it comes to installation please click here to be taken to the official Mr Cool’s installation instructions. This should answer any questions that you have BEFORE you purchase.

Product Features

Now that we have the sizing and installation sections covered we can begin to look at exactly what these products from MRCOOL have to offer. The first and most important point here is to recognize the various modes that these units come with. Each mode is important and can help you in making your purchasing decision. These units come with an Auto mode, a Cool mode, a Fan mode, and a Dry mode (Dehumidifier). Let’s take a look at these:

  • Cool – This is your air conditioning mode and can cool your home all the way down to sixty-two degrees. Although most folks prefer temperatures between sixty-eight to seventy degrees. This cool mode will work to cool your home even when outside temperatures range from five degrees to one-hundred and twenty-two degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Heat – These units from MRCOOL also come with a full heating mode. What is most exciting about this feature though is that the heater’s BTUs are mostly aligned with the air conditioners BTUs. What I mean by this is that in other air conditioners/heater combos you see the air conditioner has a significantly higher BTU number then the heater. This results in a far less powerful heater and requires you to have supplemental heat in your home along with this heater. But, with these units from MRCOOL the heater is very close the air conditioner BTUs. This heater will also work at maximum capacity with temperatures as low as five degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below five degrees then the heater will work but it will see diminished capacity.
  • Auto – The auto mode is pretty self explanatory. This is similar to most homes with a central system that have an auto mode. All this does is determine if the heater or air conditioner needs to be on. It will actively monitor the temperature in the room and turn one of these on to reach your desired temperature level. This is more of a hands off approach. I’ve never been a fan of auto myself. I like to have ‘heat’ mode in the winter and ‘cool’ mode in the summer, but that’s just my personal preference.
  • Dry Mode – Dry mode is actually just a dehumidifier mode. This allows you to dehumidify your home without cooling your home. I’m not sure how often you would use this as the air conditioner itself is a dehumidifier as well and most of the time if you are trying to dehumidify then you needing to cool as well. This dehumidifier will work between the inside temperature range of fifty to ninety degrees Fahrenheit. Outside temperature range between thirty-two to one-hundred and twenty-two degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Fan – The fan mode is just that. It is a fan without any cooling or heating effects. This is just the blower of the interior running and circulating air. This may be great to have if you have a fire in the fireplace and don’t necessarily want the heater on as well. The fan will help circulate the warm air without kicking that heater on.

Other Features

Along with your other basic modes that we mentioned above there are some other ancillary features that come with these Mr Cool air conditioners. These aren’t huge features but still good to know. The first is what’s known as the auto-restart. Let’s say for example it’s in the middle of summer and a bad storm rolls through the neighborhood and cuts power from your home. When power is restored at your home then your MRCOOL unit will turn back on and at the same settings it was at before. This is one less thing that you have to worry about resetting when your power comes back on.MRCOOL DIY Series Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner & Heat Pump1

Another neat feature is what’s known as ‘louver angle memory.’ What this means is that when your appliance is turned off and then turned back on it will automatically remember the angle of the louvers from when it was last shut off. This is similar to the power loss feature we mentioned above. It ensures consistency when powering on your air conditioner.

This next one will be very important for those of you who elect to install this product yourself. Remember how I said earlier that you had to be very careful with the refrigerant lines and that you were not to bend them? If worse comes to worse and you do get a leak in your system the MRCOOL unit will actually alert you of said leak. If a refrigerant leak is occurring you will get an ‘EC’ error message come up on the inside unit. As to how to find the leak that is a whole other story. I did an article on this topic a few years ago which can be found by clicking here.

This product from MRCOOL comes with a remote and built in WiFi. The WiFi allows you to connect your phone to the appliance through the MRCOOL application. From here you have your own personal remote on your phone that will allow you to adjust temperatures, modes, and any other settings you require. The remote gives you the same functions as the phone app does but is overall easier to operate.

There are two extra features though on the remote though that I want to point out. The first is what is known as the ‘Follow Me’ function. This option will actually have the MRCOOL appliance read the temperature in the room where the remote is. So, if you have the inside unit setup in your living room but the remote is in your kitchen then it will keep running until the desired temperature is reached within the kitchen. This is a handy feature as it will give you a degree of separation between the cold air blowing and the thermostat itself. Otherwise, you will have the thermostat right next to where the cold air is coming out.

The last feature I’ll mention here is what is known as ‘Sleep Mode.’ This sleep mode is only accessible through the remote. When this is turned on the product will slowly adjust the temperature up or down every hour depending on if it’s in cool or heat mode. It will hold these temperature for seven hours and when the time is up it will revert back to it’s previous programmed temperature. This is a great function for you folks who want to save on your energy bills.

Pros

A lot of the pros on this product we have already covered in our product feature section, so there may be some repetition here. The biggest pro on these MRCOOL products are the various modes and the capacity of these modes. What I mean by that is you have a fully functioning air conditioner and a fully functioning heater that can work in temperatures as low as five degrees and up to temperatures of one-hundred and twenty-two degrees. This product has you covered. The only exception I would say is that if  you live in the far north and experience temperatures way below zero routinely throughout the year. Otherwise, this unit can handle whatever you throw at it.

The other big pro here is the warranty on the unit. These products come with a five year parts replacement warranty. Along with this you also get a seven year replacement warranty on the compressor. This keeps you covered in case of any your parts fail. The extra two years on the compressor is great as well as compressors are some of the most commonly failed parts when it comes to air conditioning. This warranty is much better then the competition. If you look at the Pioneer ductless system you will only find a two year parts warranty. Quite the difference if you ask me.

This warranty is NOT voided if you install this unit yourself. Remember folks, this is a do-it-yourself product. The only caveat here is that if you guess you way through the electrical work then you could void the warranty. If you are unsure on how to do the electrical connection then I would hire a professional to ensure you warranty stays in tact. For more on MRCOOL’s warranty click here to be taken to their official warranty page.MRCOOL DIY Series Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner & Heat Pump1

The last pro I want to mention here is the overall volume of the unit. For those of you who have experience with window units you will know just how loud they can get during operation. You will not have this problem with this ductless system. No, these units are extremely quiet. In fact many folks don’t even realize the machine is on. It is that quiet.

Cons

We are now ready for the cons of this ductless system. Before I get into this though I first want to state that overall this is a great product and the cons I mention below are similar to what you find with other ductless systems. The big con here, especially on this MRCOOL system, is the expense. These units are very expensive, especially compared to some of the competing lines like the Pioneer model we mentioned in our pros section. The difference though is that with the MRCOOL brand you are getting a fully functioning heater whereas with the Pioneer you don’t get that same function. You also have less heater operating temperature range with the Pioneer unit. So, while this is more expensive you are getting more product and a higher quality product.

The other big con here is the install. Now this can be said with any ductless system. Do not be fooled, these are not an easy install. You have to mount both units. You have to feed the lines through… and you have to create a three and a half inch hole in your exterior wall. On top of all of that you have to connect it directly to your circuit breaker. Do you feel comfortable with all of that? If so, then this won’t be a big deal at all. But, if you are not then you either may want to hire a professional to help with the install or purchase a window or mobile unit that is much easier to just plug-in and go. The problem with the window/mobile units though is that their capacity is much lower and they are an eyesore.

The last few cons I want to mention are somewhat minor but still deserve to be mentioned. Some folks have stated problems with leaking refrigerant. While this can be a huge problem and will cause your unit not to work… it is most likely caused by poor install. They most likely bent the pipes or did something else to cause a fracture in the pipes which caused the refrigerant to leak out. Just be careful during install and follow the directions carefully. If you do this then you shouldn’t have this problem.

Remember the ‘follow me’ function we mentioned earlier? There were a few reviews that stated this wasn’t working properly. I only saw this a few times during my research, but the complaint was that the follow me function would try to reach the desired temperature through heat and cool in a back and forth fashion. In other words, if the temperature was set to seventy-two then cool would kick on to get it down to seventy-two… but then it accidentally goes down to seventy-one, so then the heater kicks on to get it back to seventy-two and then that accidentally goes to seventy-three. And so on and so on. This didn’t seem to be a prevalent complaint though so I don’t know much stock I would put into this.

The last con here is that some of the ductless systems are what’s known as a multi-zone system. This means that you can have one outdoor unit and multiple indoor units to cool your home in different rooms. These MRCOOL systems are NOT multi-zone. You only have one indoor unit and that is all you can have. If you need more then one then you will have to purchase the entire machine again.

Conclusion

Alright folks so we have gone through sizing, installation, features, pros, cons, and everything else there is to possibly know about this product. Bottom line is that this is a great product and will definitely do its job of cooling your home, garage, loft, workshop, or whatever other area you are looking at this for. But, don’t just take my word for it. If we look at Amazon.com we can see that this MRCOOL product has over two-hundred reviews on it all with an average rating of four and a half stars. That is the equivalent of a ninety percent approval rating. It is a solid product. If you’d like to purchase this unit please click here to be taken to our Amazon partner.

One last point of note here is that we here at RefrigerantHQ are not responsible for the install of this unit. If you purchase this product the installation process will be solely on you or a hired professional. If you are unsure on what to do rather it be through routing the refrigerant lines or doing electrical work then it is always best practice to contact a professional. You know what they say, it is always better to be safe then sorry.

Thanks for reading and I hope this review was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

Ivation 30, 50, & 70 Pint Energy Star Dehumidifier

Back in 2009 I bought my first house. It was rather modest but it was in a nice neighborhood. My wife and I got a hell of a deal on it as it was a foreclosure and there was quite a bit of work that needed to be done. After we bought it and had moved in we started fixing things around the house. In the beginning it was smaller stuff but as we learned we were able to do some larger projects. One of the first things I noticed though was that when I was in our basement there was a damp almost musty smell. It was rather unpleasant, but there wasn’t any standing water or signs of water damage anywhere.

After some research online I understood that the humidity levels in my basement were too high. You see the best humidity range for our homes is between forty to sixty percent. If you go lower then forty percent then you will begin to notice drying or cracking of the skin. In some cases low humidity can cause your respiratory tract to dry out which will lead to infections and other sicknesses.

The inverse of all that is when your humidity is too high. In these cases if your room or basement has a humidity level above sixty percent then that damp or musty smell may be the least of your problems. You see that bad smell in your basement is one of the first warning signs. If the problem is left unchecked then you may begin to see water beading on the inside of your windows, on your walls, or even on your floors. In some cases you may see standing water in your basement or affected rooms. All of this moisture can lead to a host of other problems. If this is left untreated then your basement or home will become a perfect place for allergens to start growing. These could be dust mites, fungus, and even mold.  Mold can be bad for your health if you are a perfectly healthy, but imagine what it can do to someone who has respiratory problems or who are allergic to it.

The solution to these excess humidity problems is adding a dehumidifier to your basement, room , or home. A dehumidifier will do just what it’s described. It removes the excess moisture from your room. This will get your area back to that perfect range of between forty to sixty percent. The question though is what dehumidifier should you purchase?

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of options out there. It can be daunting to look at them all. In this article we are going to take an in-depth look at the three dehumidifier models manufactured by Ivation. We’ll dive into the various sizes, the product features, the pros, and the cons. By the time we’re done you’ll know everything there is to know about this product… and maybe a bit more then you should!Ivation 30, 50, & 70 Pint Energy Star Dehumidifier

Sizing

The first thing that we need to do before purchasing a dehumidifier is determining exactly what size of product that you need. Now there are two considerations when it comes to the size of your dehumidifier. The first is the overall square footage of the room. Square footage is easily measured by taking the length and width of the room and multiplying the numbers together. I’ll warn you right now though that many manufacturers, including this one, state that their dehumidifier can work in rooms up to XX square feet. While this may be true, there is another consideration that has to be reviewed before this square footage promise can come to fruition. (Personally, I always cut the manufacturer’s square footage claims by half, just to be safe.)

The other consideration is the overall dampness or wetness of the room. You see the more damp the room is the more power that you are going to need from your dehumidifier. So, let’s say you are trying to dehumidify a twelve-hundred square foot room. If the room just has a musty smell but has no signs of water, mold, or any other dampness indicators then we can call this room damp. You may get away with the smallest size, the thirty pint model.

However, if you notice water beading on the windows, walls, or even some standing water in that same room then you are going to need a larger sized dehumidifier. Luckily, these models from Ivation come in three different sizes: thirty pint, fifty pint, and seventy pint. Now, I like to tell people to get the fifty or the seventy. Yes, the thirty will work in the damp scenario we gave earlier but with the fifty unit your room will dehumidify quicker and if the room is damper then you thought then there isn’t a problem.

  • IVALDH30PW – This is the thirty pint model. In other words, it can remove up to thirty pints of water within a twenty-four hour period. This is the smallest size and while it will work for a moderately damp area you will get better results if you move to the fifty pint. (If your area is a thousand square feet or under you can get away with the thirty pint without an issue.) This unit also works great for a small room or bathroom that you are looking to dehumidify.
  • IVALDH50PW – This is the fifty pint model. In most cases this is going to cover your needs. Even if you have some moisture beading on your walls. This will dehumidify up to fifteen-hundred square feet as long as you don’t have actual standing water in your home. Again, this is great for your basement or large open area within your home or office.
  • IVALDH70PB – This is the seventy pint model. This is the biggest size of this model range and will be more then big enough to handle a two-thousand square feet area with standing water. Most folks recommend going a size larger then what you need when it comes to dehumidifiers. Your machine won’t work as hard and will last longer.

Product Features

Alright folks now that we’ve covered the sizing requirements we can begin to get into the details and features of this dehumidifier. To start off I think it makes sense to look at what this unit can do as far as dehumidifying your home. As we mentioned above, there are three sizes. The thirty pint model will remove thirty pints of water from your home within a twenty-four hour period. The same logic can be applied to the fifty and to the seventy pint.

When you turn the machine on you will see the current humidity in the room. You are then able to adjust the humidity up or down to your desired level. Remember that somewhere between forty to sixty percent is ideal. The dehumidifier adjust by five percent increments, so if you’re at sixty and lower it once you’ll be at fifty-five. This is all displayed on the digital display on the control panel of the unit. These three products have a range between thirty to ninety percent humidity and will work in temperatures ranging from forty-one to eighty-nine degrees Fahrenheit.

Along with the basic concept of dehumidifying these products also come with a few other features. The first is what’s known as an auto-restart. If you lose power during a rain storm or other event then your dehumidifier will instantly turn back on and at the settings it was at before the power loss. This is a handy feature if you’re away from home for a period of time or even if you forget to turn the unit back on.

There are also two speeds on the fan. There is your regular mode and then a turbo mode. The faster the speed of the fan the faster moisture will be removed from your room. It may be a good idea to start your unit in the turbo mode. This will help you get to your desired humidity faster. Then, once you’ve reached your desired level you can set the speed back to normal. Along with the fan settings there is also a timer setting. The timer will allow you to program the appliance to stop or start after a certain amount of time has passed. You could set it for an hour or all the way up to it’s maximum setting of twenty-four hours. This is a great tool as it lets you set it and forget it.Ivation 30, 50, & 70 Pint Energy Star Dehumidifier Control Panel

All dehumidifiers come with a water tank. After all, that water you are removing from your room has to go somewhere…right? In the case of these units from Ivation the tank can hold 1.6 gallons. Once capacity is reached you will need to remove the tank and empty the water in a sink or bathtub. To make things a bit easier for you Ivation added a water level window so that you can easily monitor the water in the tank and empty it once it fills up. Continuing with the water tank, there is an auto shut-off on these dehumidifiers if the water tank becomes full. This will prevent water from overflowing from your tank and spilling out onto your floor. When the auto shut-off occurs there will be an indicator on the control panel informing you that the tank needs emptied.

Emptying the water tank is relatively easy. The tank slides out from the bottom and has a handle attached to it for easy back and forth carrying. However, if you are not a fan of having to empty the tank every time it fills up then there is an alternative option available. These dehumidifiers come with an opening for continuous drainage. This means that you can connect a hose and route that house to a nearby floor drain. Now all the water that would go in your tank goes down the hose and into the drain. It should be noted that this drain is gravity fed. In other words, the drain you are feeding the water into will HAVE to be lower then the dehumidifier itself. It will not work correctly if you try to route the hose to a sink that is above the dehumidifier.

For those of you that do not know, a dehumidifier is basically just a mini air conditioner. You see dehumidifiers operate the same way that an air conditioner does. They use refrigerant and they go through cycles of liquid and gas. In the case of these products from Ivation they all use the popular HFC refrigerant known as R-410A. This is the same type of refrigerant that you will find on newer home split systems. The only difference between a dehumidifier and an air conditioner is that with the dehumidifiers there is an extra feature. This extra feature is a heater that warms the air backup to room temperature.

Just like with air conditioners there is a risk of your dehumidifier’s evaporator coils accumulating frost and ice. If this happens then your unit will freeze up and it will no longer be able to operate. The good news is that these products from Ivation have an auto-defrost feature. This defrost feature recognizes when ice has begun to build up and then resolves the problem. If ice is found the unit will shut-off except for the heater and the fan. The warmth of the heater and the fan will melt the ice on your evaporator. Once the ice has been melted the dehumidifier will start up again just like new.

The filter on these dehumidifiers is quite easy to remove and maintain. First make sure the unit is shut-off and not plugged in. Then all you need to do is remove the water tank and then, above the water tank, you will see the filter. Slide it out easily. Once you have it in your hands it can be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner or with water. If you decide to use water please ensure that the filter is dry before reinserting it into your dehumidifier.

Ok folks, last couple points before we move onto the Pros section. The first is that all three of these models comes with a standard one-hundred and ten volt plug-in. The cord reaches up to six feet so it gives you a bit of leeway to position the unit. Lastly, moving these products is fairly easy as well as they come with handles and wheels. The largest sized unit, the seventy pint, only comes in at around forty pounds. So, this shouldn’t be too difficult to move around your home.

Pros

I have a bad habit of doing this folks. I go through and write everything that I absolutely can for the Product Features section. You see, I want to be thorough. I want to ensure you understand everything that you’re getting into. Because of this I kind of shoot myself in the foot when it comes to the Pros section. A lot of the features that we mentioned earlier can also be considered Pros. Take for the example the auto-defrost or the auto-restart during a power failure. Both are Pros to look at when you consider buying. That being said, there are a few other Pros that I haven’t mentioned yet. Let’s take a quick look.

All three of these products are Energy Star certified with the Environmental Protection Agency. What that means is that you will save money versus other competing dehumidifiers. The Energy Star program is designed to evaluate various appliances and determine if they meet the EPA’s efficiency standards. An Energy Star appliances is on average about fifteen percent more efficient then a competing machine. So you will save on your power bill each month if you purchase this unit over a dehumidifier that is not Energy Start certified.

Along with the Energy Star rating you also get a one year full warranty from the Ivation manufacturer. Having a warranty is always good and protects you from any defects right out of the box. I will say that a one year warranty is pretty standard and is mostly what you will find on competing models as well. Ivation’s customer service can be contacted by phone at 1-866-849-3049 or through e-mail at info@myivation.com.

Cons

Every product, no matter who makes it, will have drawbacks. That’s just how it is. That being said, it was difficult to find specific cons on these products. Instead, nearly all of the complaints that I read through were towards the delivery of the product. Remember before how we stated that dehumidifiers are very similar to air conditioners and refrigerators? Well, just like with refrigerators you cannot turn or ship a dehumidifier upside down.

Earlier this year I was helping my father move a refrigerator and we were very careful not to tilt it too far. The reason for this is if the refrigerator or dehumidifier is upside down or tilted too far then the oil can drain out of the compressor. Without proper lubrication your compressor will fail and the compressor is by far one of the most important components of your air conditioner, refrigerator, or dehumidifier. Many folks have reported premature failures of their dehumidifiers… but this is most likely due to them turning on the product right away after it being upside down. If the product did arrive upside down then turn it right side up and then wait for quite a while, maybe even a day. Then, start your dehumidifier up and you shouldn’t have any issues.

It also may be best practice to wait a day or two before turning on your new dehumidifier. The product may come to your home right side up, but who is to know if it was like that earlier that day. Always better to be safe then sorry. The good news here though is that if your dehumidifier does end up not working after a few weeks or months Frigidaire offers a one year warranty. Through my research I had found cases where Frigidaire offered a complete replacement product. It’s good to know you’ll be protected here.

Cleaning

One of the main objectives of a dehumidifier is to lessen the possibility of mold growing within your home. But, what happens if the very thing that is supposed to be preventing the mold starts to grow mold itself? Well, this problem has happened to a lot of folks. Some may argue that this is a manufacturing defect and others would say that the consumers who had this problem didn’t take care of their dehumidifier in the first place.

A dehumidifier needs to be cleaned regularly. That means checking and cleaning the filter. Again, I couldn’t find this information to be one-hundred percent sure, but most of these dehumidifier filters come with what’s known as an anti-bacterial mesh. This mesh aims at preventing bacteria. If you attempt to clean the filter with water then you risk washing away this protective coating. Instead you should either try to shake it out or use a low powered vacuum with a hose attachment. This will clean the filter and still protect your coating. It’s not just the filter though that needs to be cleaned. Ensure that the machine itself is as clean as can be and if you began to suspect mold growing within it then take it apart and try to identify the culprit area. When dealing with water day in and day out there is always a chance that some could spill and get isolated within the machine only to stay there and become stagnant. This is a prime candidate for mold growth. This is why you need to stay vigilant and ensure the unit is as clean as it can be.

Conclusion

Alrighty folks I think we have practically covered everything there is on these dehumidifier models from Ivation. We have gone over all of the features, pros, and cons. If you are thirsty for more information though you can view each of these model’s instruction booklets as well as their specification sheet in our next section titled, ‘Important Links.’

If you are thinking about buying this unit I can assure you that it is a good product. But, if you are unsure we can also take a look at our Amazon partner. These products have over two-hundred reviews on Amazon and all have an average rating of four and a half stars out of five. That is a ninety percent approval rating, or an A grade if you are in college. If you’d like to purchase this product please click here to be taken to our Amazon partner.

However, If you find that you need to do additional reading or need a different dehumidifier entirely please check out our dehumidifier buyer’s guide by clicking here. This guide will take you through everything you would ever need to know about dehumidifiers. We go into sizing requirements, what features to look for, and many other topics.

Thanks for reading and I hope this review was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

How Much Does It Cost?

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

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

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

 Know This Before You Purchase

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

R-22 Phase-Out

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

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

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

R-22 Pricing Variables

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

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

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

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

Age of your R-22 Unit

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

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

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

R-22 Alternatives & Reclaim

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

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

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

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

You Are Paying For Expertise

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

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

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

Your AC Unit is a Closed System

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

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

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

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

R-22 Price Per Pound

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

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

$400 / 30lbs = $13.33 per pound.

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

Listings from eBay

DuPont R22 Freon Refrigerant 30Lb Cylinder with Sealed Valve **NEW**

$350.00
End Date: Sunday Jun-14-2020 17:46:12 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $350.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

R-22 Virgin Refrigerant 30 lb. FACTORY SEALED FREE SAME DAY SHIPPING by 3pm!

$369.00
End Date: Tuesday Jun-2-2020 1:46:23 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $369.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Inofia GA2 30 Pints Dehumidifier

There are a variety of reasons as to why you would purchase a dehumidifier. It could be that you have an allergy or an asthma sufferer and you need clean air circulating throughout your home. It could be that you have noticed water collecting on the inside of your windows in certain rooms of your home. Or, it could be that you have noticed a damp or somewhat musty smell emanating from your basement.

If left unchecked excess humidity in your home can cause a host of problems. This could be something as simple as that mildewy smell that we mentioned above or it could something more sinister such as mold growing on your floor, walls, and blankets. You see folks, the ideal humidity for us is between forty to sixty percent. Anything below forty percent and our skin and even our respiratory tracts begin to dry out. This can lead to sickness and painful rashes. On the other end of the spectrum if the humidity is too high then you could run into standing water as well as allergens such as dust mites, fungus, and mold.

Adding a dehumidifier to your home is a great way to treat the symptoms of a higher humidity environment. It should be known though that a dehumidifier will only treat the symptoms and will not fix the issue. So, if you have reoccurring standing water in your basement or other room then you should look into correcting that as well. A dehumidifier will get rid of the dampness and prevent mold from taking hold but you will still need to identify and correct the cause of your humidity issue.

Whatever your reason for purchasing a dehumidifier there are a variety of choices that will have to be considered. That just seems how it is in today’s world. The problem with this is that folks don’t know what to pick. Which one is best? Which one is worth your time? In this article we’re going to take an in-depth look at one of these dehumidifiers: Inofia’s thirty pint dehumidifier. Is this the right unit for you? Let’s dive in and find out!

Inofia GA2 30 Pints Dehumidifier
Inofia GA2 30 Pints Dehumidifier

Sizing

First thing’s first folks. We need to determine if this unit is the right size for you. You see there are three main sizes of larger dehumidifiers. They come in thirty pints, fifty pints, and seventy pints. The pint sizing is a measurement on how much water these units can remove from a room during a twenty-four hour period. The Inofia dehumidifier comes in a thirty pint size. This is one of the smaller sized units.

There are two questions that you have to consider before your purchase. What is the square footage of the room you are wanting this appliance for? Secondly, how damp or wet is the room? If the room is just damp and has a musty smell and the room is under one-thousand square feet then this dehumidifier will work great for you.

However, if the room is larger or if the room is wet then you will need a larger unit like a fifty or seventy pint. A room is classified as wet if you notice water beading on the floors, walls, or windows. You could also see moisture seeping in at the edges of the room. In the extreme cases you may actually having standing water. In these cases it is best to go with a larger dehumidifier unit. The only con that there is when going with a larger unit is the price. I won’t get too much more into sizing requirements here, but if you’d like to read more then I suggest you click here to be taken to our dehumidifier sizing guide.

Product Features

Ok folks, now we can dive into all of the details on this product. First let’s look at the most important feature and that is the humidity control and setting. This unit from Inofia has a humidity range between thirty to eighty percent. It can be operated in rooms with a variety of temperatures ranging from forty-one degrees to ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity can be adjusted by clicking in the ‘Setting’ button. Each click of the button will adjust the desired humidity in five percent increments. You will also be able to see the desired humidity level in the digital display as shown on the image within this article.

Along with the humidity settings there are a few other features we should take a look at. The first is the overall fan speed of the dehumidifier. This can be adjusted from high to low. Next is what’s known as the timer feature. This setting will allow you to set the unit to run for a specific amount of time and then shut-off. It’s a set it and forget it feature. With each click of the button you add an hour to the shut-off time. This can be stacked until you reach the limit of twenty-four hours. You are also able to see via an indicator light if the timer is on or not.

Another cool feature on this unit is the auto-defrost setting. For those of you who do not know, a dehumidifier works exactly like an air conditioner does. And, just like an air conditioner, a dehumidifier can occasionally accumulate frost or ice on it’s evaporator coils. When this happens the appliance is no longer able to function as intended. Well folks this unit from Inofia has an auto-defrost feature. When frost is detected the compressor and all other sections of the machine will turn off. This prevents any more ice from accumulating. The only thing that remains on is the fan. This fan will constantly be blowing against the ice which will cause it to melt. After the ice has melted the system will turn back on and begin dehumidifying again.

Inofia GA2 30 Pints Dehumidifier Control Panel

All dehumidifiers come with a water tank. After all, the water that they are removing from the room has to go somewhere, right? In the case of this unit it comes with a 1.8 liter water tank. This equates to about a 3.8 capacity. So, if this unit removes thirty pints a day then you’ll have to empty the bucket seven or eight times per day. This is also where a larger unit may come in handy… or you could go with the continuous drainage route. The continuous drainage is what I would recommend, but you have to realize that the hose is gravity fed only. That means that the target drainage area HAS to be lower then the dehumidifier itself. This will work great if you are using this in a garage or basement where there is a floor drain. If there is not a drain then you may have to get creative or stick with emptying the water tank a few times each day. The good news is that if you stick with just using the water tank there is a water tank full indicator on the machine and the appliance will shut-off automatically to prevent water from spilling onto your floor. If the tank is full a flashing light on the control panel will inform you.

This appliance does come with a filter that will have to be cleaned regularly during operation. The filter can be popped out and either cleaned with a vacuum or washed with warm water. This is an easy task that won’t take more then a few minutes. The unit itself is relatively light weight and can be easily transported around your home. It comes in at only twenty-five pounds and has a handle at the top of it for easy mobility.

Pros

I seem to always do this to myself, but I ended up doing it again. You see a lot of the Pros that I wanted to mention have already been mentioned above in our ‘Product Features,’ section. That being said, I am sure that I can find some more. First, let’s take a look at the warranty on this product. There is a full one year warranty policy. This is pretty standard for most dehumidifiers but there was something that did stick out to me. This unit comes with a sixty day money-back guarantee. So, if you are not satisfied after a month of use you can return the product and get a full refund. That’s quite the benefit and it also shows you how much they back their product.

The next Pro is the overall sound of this appliance. This dehumidifier has a decibel rating of forty-four.  That noise level is the equivalent of a hushed conversation within a library. That is quite a difference when compared to other dehumidifiers who range between fifty to sixty decibels. This unit would be great if you need a dehumidifier for your bedroom but you are also a light sleeper. Noise level is also one of the constant complaints that I see on other dehumidifier models. So, this is quite the Pro.

Cons

The biggest con that I can find on this unit is it’s overall size. Yes, this will get the job done for a smaller room but if you’re looking at dehumidifying an entire basement then this may not be the right unit for you. I always like to make the recommendation to go up that extra size. Yes, there is more money involved but you’re getting a nicer unit and it will resolve the humidity problem that you’re having that much faster. On top of that you’ll get a larger water tank and other extra features. But, if you’re just looking to use this unit in a small room then I would recommend it. You have to be the judge though. Do you think you need a larger unit, or will this one suffice?

Another important point of note here is that if your unit arrives to your home upside down then do NOT start it right away. As I have mentioned earlier a dehumidifier works just like an air conditioner or a refrigerator does. I’m sure that you’ve heard of not turning a refrigerator upside down, right? Well, the same principle applies. You see if the unit arrives upside down then all of the oil has most likely drained out of the compressor. With no oil this will cause a premature failure and your unit will be useless. If it has arrived upside down then put it right side up and then LEAVE it for a few days. I’d say two to three. By then the oil will have drained back to where it should be and you shouldn’t have any issues down the road. A good portion of the ‘negative’ reviews on this product is strictly because of this problem. It can be avoided though simply by doing the above instructions.

Be sure to clean your dehumidifier often. Also do not let water sit in the tank for a large amount of time. While yes, the dehumidifier removes humidity from your home, it won’t do you any good if you leave it in your dehumidifier. If water is left in there or if you do not clean your unit regularly then you’ll end up mold growing on the inside of the unit. This defeats the entire purpose of having the dehumidifier as you now have your very own mold host! Be sure to clean your unit folks.

Conclusion

Well folks we’ve gone through absolutely everything that I can think of when it comes to this product. We have looked at sizing requirements, all of the features, the pros, the cons, and everything else in between. The question now though is this the right dehumidifier for you?  Don’t just take my word on this product though folks. There are over five-hundred reviews on Amazon on this dehumidifier from Inofia. All of these review come together for an average rating of four and a half starts out of five. I am very confident that you’ll be happy with this product as long as it fits your sizing requirements. If you are looking to purchase this product please visit our Amazon partner by clicking here.

On the other hand though, if you find that you need to do additional reading or need a different dehumidifier entirely please check out our dehumidifier buyer’s guide by clicking here. This guide will take you through everything you would ever need to know about dehumidifiers.

Thanks for reading and I hope this review was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links:

It was announced last Friday that an agreement had been made between the Federal Government’s EPA/Justice Department and the company Southeastern Grocers (SEG). Southeastern Grocers is a large grocery store chain that operates nearly six-hundred stores across the southern United States.  They operate under various supermarket chains including BI-Lo, Winn-Dixie, Fresco y Mas, and Harveys Supermarket. They have over forty-five thousand employees and over eight billion in revenue.

The court case emerged from the Environmental Protection Agency accusing SEG of not following the Clean Air Act. Specifically, on the refrigerators within their stores. These refrigerated units use HCFC refrigerants and were not being actively monitored for leaks. Along with that, there was not proper record keeping on what maintenance had actually been done.

The agreement states that SEG will work to solve their issues over the next three years. Part of that is investing four point two million dollars to reduce SEG’s dependency on Ozone depleting systems. SEG will also pay a three-hundred thousand dollar fine. But wait, there’s more! It’s not just fines and investment that SEG will have to go through. Along with all of that they will also have to put in place a corporate policy when it comes to refrigerant management. This will include a bi-monthly leak monitoring program to ensure leaks no longer go undetected and if they do then they get repaired in a timely manner.

Most grocery stores/supermarkets have an average leak rate of twenty-five percent. SEG will now be expected to maintain a twenty-one percent leak rate in the first year, a nineteen percent in the second, and a seventeen percent by the third year (2022). They also are mandated to use non-Ozone depleting advanced refrigerants in all of their new stores as well as in fifteen existing stores. (These would be any of the SNAP approved refrigerants for commercial refrigeration.) If any of these requirements are not met over the next few years then SEG could face additional, possibly harsher, fines and penalties.

The Clean Air Act states that owners of commercial refrigeration equipment that contain fifty pounds or more of refrigerant must regularly be checked for leaks and if a leak is occurring to have that leak repaired within thirty days of detection. It should be noted that there is a threshold here, not EVERY leak has to be repaired right away. A determination needs to be made as to how large the leak actually is. I won’t get into all of the details in this article, but the EPA states that for commercial refrigeration the leak cannot exceed a rate of twenty percent. (This used to be thirty-five percent, but was changed at the beginning of this year.) If you’d like to view the EPA article on this topic click here.

Conclusion

While this fine and mandated investment may seem like a lot it is just a blimp in the radar for a company like Southeastern. They bring in billions a year, this won’t have much impact on them. Don’t let that fool you though folks, the EPA doesn’t discriminate when it comes to company size. If the Clean Air Act isn’t being followed then your business could be at risk as well. It’s just that SEG was a much bigger target for an investigation. This initial agreement is subject to a thirty day public comment period and then final approval from the court.

If you walk away with one thing from this article know that proper record keeping is essential. Even if you have regularly scheduled maintenance if you don’t have the records showing so it is all for not. Be sure to cross your Ts and dot your i’s in these matters to prevent any future risk of EPA investigations. Use these companies that are going through the EPA headaches as warnings to others out there.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

7-Eleven, the world’s largest convenience store with sixty-eight thousand stores, has announced a partnership with Honeywell and their Solstice refrigerant line. Specifically, 7-Eleven has announced that they will be switching their condensers away from R-404A and over to the Solstice N40 refrigerant in the United States and Canadian markets. That is nearly twelve-thousand stores. This was the next logical step for 7-Eleven as last year they began a similar transition in their Japanese market. This switch was mandated by law, but it must have gave 7-Eleven the encouragement to switch additional stores over in North America.

I’m not an expert on supermarket or gas station coolers, but I noticed that when I was reading about this that they only intend to replace the condensers and not the rest of the machine. I am assuming that these are cascade systems that are being replaced and that the other refrigerant used is more climate friendly such as R-744. If any of you know of a different approach that they could be using feel free to let me know. It is always good to learn something new!

The replacement refrigerant known as Solstice N40, or R-448A, is a newer refrigerant from the Honeywell corporation. This refrigerant is a zeotropic blend between numerous refrigerants and is classified as an HFC/HFO mixture. It contains twenty-six percent of HFC R-32, twenty-six percent of HFC R-125, twenty-one percent of HFC R-134a, seven percent of HFO R-1234ze, and twenty percent of HFO R-1234yf. Just by the numbers I would call R-448A an HFC refrigerant rather then an HFO.

R-448A is designed as a replacement for R-404A in supermarket systems and can be used as a retrofit as well as on newer models. The retrofit is fairly simple and has been described as a near drop in replacement for R-404A. Notice I said ‘near.’ There are still some slight adjustments that have to be made before it can be used in an 404A system. 448A is meant for low and medium applications commonly found in super-markets, gas stations, vending machines, and other smaller systems.

It has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of one-thousand two-hundred and seventy-three. While that is still quite a high GWP it is nowhere near it’s predecessor. R-404A has a GWP of three-thousand nine-hundred and twenty-two. By making the switch to R-448A 7-Eleven will see a nearly sixty percent reduction of GWP. It is also more efficient then R-404A. In the lower temperature applications users can expect to see five percent in energy savings. With the medium temperature systems users can see up to fifteen percent in energy savings.

Lastly, it is safe as well with an A1 rating from ASHRAE. That means it is non-flammable and non-toxic. The flammability rating is a big deal as so many newer refrigerants nowadays seem to sacrifice safety for environment. Take R-1234yf for example, it’s predecessor R-134a was not flammable at all. 1234yf on the other hand is rated as 2L or slightly flammable. It is good to see that a next generation refrigerant is able to tackle both GWP and public/technician safety.

Conclusion

While 7-Eleven moves forward with this new refrigerant the question that I have on my mind is how long will this refrigerant last? Yes, it is a definite improvement over the HFC R-404A but it still has a GWP of over one-thousand. This refrigerant may last for a while and companies can all give themselves a pat on the back for becoming more environmentally friendly, but chances are that they will have to be switching refrigerants again in another five to ten years due to the pressure of getting rid of high GWP refrigerants.

If it was me I would either hold off on replacing/updating my HFC equipment, or if I had to update then I would opt for a natural or hydrocarbon refrigerant such as R-744 or R-290. At least with these you know that you do not have the risk of phase down looming around the corner. If there is one thing business owners can’t stand it is uncertainty.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

United AirLines

The past few weeks have been rather crazy on my side of the world. I started a new job a few weeks ago, put a contract down on a house, and the kids start school in just a month. Time is definitely flying by. I’m hoping here in a few months things will begin to calm down… but we will see.

Overall the news has been rather slow in the refrigerant industry the past few weeks. One story I did come across today though was that United Airlines has announced that they will be spending twenty million dollars to replace their aging air conditioners. These aren’t the air conditioners on the plane though. No, these are mobile units that are used while the plane is parked at the gateway to keep the plane nice and cool for when passengers leave or board the plane.

Truth be told, I didn’t even know these existed. I had assumed that the planes had their built in air conditioners running while on the tarmac through an auxiliary power unit. (Similar to what we do with heavy duty semi trucks.) Instead, airlines have these units called Air Conditioning Units for Aircraft (ACUs) and Pre-Conditioned Air Units (PCAs). They are a heating and cooling unit that can be moved to any plane on the tarmac. It makes perfect sense and is most likely more cost efficient then having APUs installed on each plane.

The Investment

The ACUs and PCAS that United Airlines have are aging and use the HCFC R-22. As we all know, R-22 is completely phased out here in just a few months. (January 2020) While this is good news I will say that United Airlines isn’t doing this out of the goodness of their hearts or to protect the climate. No, it is a business decision. These older units are not performing where they should be and in some cases are not able to fully cool the plane. Along with that they are also breaking down more and more frequently. This is not only costing in repairs but it is resulting in downtime for United Airlines. Downtime means money lost.

The plan is to invest twenty million dollars in replacing sixty-seven GPUs and eighty-five PCAs across their network. While that may seem like a large number, it is only a dent when compared to their total of five-hundred GPUs and four-hundred and sixty-four PCAs. Everyone has to start somewhere though. Along with replacing older R-22 units they will also be making the switch away from diesel/gasoline models and over to all electric. While electric models in the end cost more to operate United Airlines is seeking government grants to help offset the extra expense. So, I do have to give them credit here. They are making an effort at being green with these new units.

Conclusion

There doesn’t seem to be an end to the versatility of R-22. I swear, it’s everywhere. For most of us when we hear R-22 we picture a home or office building’s air conditioner. It’s the most popular and widely used R-22 application. But, since I’ve been doing this site I have seen R-22 ice rinks, R-22 fishing boats, R-22 shrimp boats, R-22 refrigerated transport, R-22 supermarket freezers/refrigerators, and now R-22 airline air conditioning.

The business owners who operate these machines are a whole other animal. These aren’t your residential customers who have an air conditioning unit that’s ten or fifteen years old that needs replaced. No, for the most part these business owners hold on to these R-22 air conditioners for as long as they can, sometimes longer then they should. This is all due to the investment needed to either retrofit their systems or to purchase a whole new HFC, HFO, or natural refrigerant system.

Sure, a homeowner may spend five or ten-thousand dollars on a new R-410A air conditioner. But, what about United Airline’s spending twenty million dollars on new portable air conditioners? That number is staggering and it is only about fifteen percent of their air conditioners. This is from a huge conglomerate like United Airlines. Now imagine a small town having to replace an R-22 ice rink. Or, a fishing company have to replace their refrigeration system on five or ten boats. The costs can be staggering and in some cases unaffordable. Many folks just kick the can down the road and hope their situation will improve a year or two later.

I don’t know if this constitutes as good news or not, but R-22 is at record low prices right now. This was unexpected in the market place and the assumption is that there is just a massive oversupply in the market place right now. Everyone has bought up and is holding onto what product they can. In some cases I have seen reports of small business owners buying pallets of R-22 just in case their aging system breaks.

The end is coming for these R-22 machines. We can bury our heads in the sand and ignore the problem, or we can come up with solutions. Is a retrofit possible? Is there an alternative refrigerant available for the application? Could the conversion be done in baby steps like what United Airlines is doing? Whatever way is decided, these R-22 systems need to be retired.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources:

There are a variety of reasons why you may be in the market for a dehumidifier. It could be that you are trying to get rid of that damp musty smell coming from your basement. Or, perhaps someone in your family is suffering from rather severe allergies and you are looking for a way to improve the air quality within your home. My father for example suffers from extreme asthma and having a dehumidifier in the home is just one of the things we can do to make him more comfortable.

Whatever your reason is it can be a bit overwhelming when you decide to purchase a dehumidifier. If you look online at the various e-commerce websites you will see dozens, if not hundreds, of different models, sizes, and options. How do you know which one is right for you? And, if you go into a big box store how do you know that you are getting a quality product?

In this article we are going to strive to answer those questions for you by taking an in-depth look at the Frigidaire dehumidifier models FAD301NWD, FAD504DWD , and FAD704DWD. Normally I do one review for each product but in this case these dehumidifiers are exactly the same. The only difference that you will see is the pint size. (I’ll get into that later.)

Frigidaire

Now before I ever buy any product, especially an expensive one, I always like to take the time and research the company and the brand behind the product. After all folks, a company’s brand name is paramount to a company’s success. If you have a recognizable and reputable brand name then people will know your product. They will know what to expect. Look at cars, as an example. You know what to expect if you buy a Lexus. You expect a premium car that is top quality. The brand name tells you that. The very same principle can be applied to dehumidifiers. Yes, I know it’s not as exciting as a new Lexus, but it is still worth it to do our research and understand the name and the company behind the product we’re looking at.

Frigidaire FAD301NWD Dehumidifier2
Frigidaire FAD301NWD Dehumidifier2

The Frigidaire company is one of the oldest refrigerant and air conditioning companies out there. In fact, I bet most of you have already heard of this company name. Chances are if you go into your kitchen right now that you’re going to find an appliance from Frigidaire. I don’t care if it’s a dishwasher, a microwave, an oven, or even your refrigerator. Speaking of refrigerators, did you know that Frigidaire was one of the very first companies to invent, patent, and began selling refrigerators? All the way back in 1916 Frigidaire was around and they were selling refrigerators. Over one-hundred years ago.

Since that date so long ago Frigidaire has grown and prospered. Over the years they have innovated, developed, and invented all new applications. With a century of experience behind them I would say that they are a great candidate to purchase a dehumidifier from. They have the knowledge, the development, and one of the most recognizable brand names within the industry. Along with all of that they have a variety of dehumidifier  products to choose from. If you find that this unit is not the right fit for you then I highly encourage you to visit Frigidaire’s online Amazon.com store so that you can find and select the perfect product for your needs.

Product Features

In this section I like to go through the various product features that can be found on this Frigidaire dehumidifier. This lets you know what you are getting into. Once we are through this we’ll then take a look at the Pros and Cons of the product.

Sizing

First things first though, before we start talking about the various features this product has we need to determine if this is the right dehumidifier for you. This product comes in three different sizes. We have the thirty pint, the fifty pint, and the seventy pint. There is a method when choosing the right sized dehumidifier for your home, I’m going to give you the quick summary but if you want to read the full article feel free to click here.

  • FAD301NWD – This is the thirty pint model. In other words, it cane remove up to thirty pints of water within a twenty-four hour period. This is the smallest size and while it will work for a moderately damp basement you will get better results if you move to the fifty pint. (If your basement is a thousand square feet or under you can get away with the thirty pint without an issue.)
  • FAD504DWD – This is the fifty pint model. In most cases this is going to cover your needs. Even if you have some moisture beading on your walls. This will dehumidify up to fifteen-hundred square feet as long as you don’t have actual standing water in your home.
  • FAD704DWD – This is the seventy pint model. This is the biggest size of this model range and will be more then big enough to handle a two-thousand square feet area with standing water. Most folks recommend going a size larger then what you need when it comes to dehumidifiers. Your machine won’t work as hard and will last longer.

Ok, so now that we’ve got sizing understood let’s take a look at the various other features that these products have.

Features

A lot of folks may not know this, but dehumidifiers are basically small air conditioners. You see an air conditioner actually removes humidity from the air as well. This is why your central air conditioner’s evaporator (The part above your furnace.) will drain water through a hose to your basement floor. This is the removed humidity. This is also why your basement can sometimes floor if this drainage pipe is clogged. The only main difference between an air conditioner and a dehumidifier is that the dehumidifier actually warms the air back up before it expels. All of the same parts are there though including refrigerant. These Frigidaire models use the HFC refrigerant known as R-410A. While this refrigerant has a higher global warming potential then we would like it is widely used and will be around for quite some time.

Frigidaire FAD301NWD Dehumidifier
Frigidaire FAD301NWD Dehumidifier

Ok, so now let’s take a look at the controls this Frigidaire dehumidifier offers. These units come with a digital display that allows you to set the desired humidity percentage within your home. (Remember that the perfect humidity for our homes is between thirty to fifty percent.) These units have a humidity range of between thirty-five to eighty-five percentage so you have more then enough flexibility to find that perfect setting for you and your family. You are also able to control the fan settings through this digital display. There are three settings of high, medium, and low. You are also able to set a timer. This timer will allow you to customize when your dehumidifier runs. This is a great feature if you want to be energy unconscious or want to have it turn off/on during the night.

Continuing on with the digital display you also get an indicator on when your filter needs cleaned and you get a full tank alert indicator that when your water tank has reached capacity. Speaking of water tanks, this unit can hold just over sixteen pints of water. The tray comes with a splash guard to minimize spills and can be easily pulled out from the front of the machine. If you don’t like having to empty the tray during operation you can also have continuous operation if you connect a hose to the unit and lead the water to a drain. This would work best in basements as you can have it drain through the same place where your air conditioner goes through. Also note that this hose is gravity fed, so the water will not flow unless the drain is lower then the dehumidifier. (Your kitchen sink won’t work.)

This dehumidifier comes with an anti-bacterial mesh filter. Remember not to ‘wash’ these filters with water. If you do then you risk damaging the anti-bacterial coating. It is best to shake out or to take a vacuum hose attachment to it. This filter is located at the bottom of the machine and can slide right out. It is best practice to clean the filter and the entire machine regularly to prevent any water or mildew from building up from within the machine. If uncleaned there is risk of mold growing within the appliance.

All three of these dehumidifier models come with a noise level right around fifty-three decibels. This is a little bit louder then a refrigerator running in your home or about the volume of a quiet conversation in your home. I won’t lie to you here, while the machine may not be loud… you are still going to notice the sound. Just be prepared for that before your purchase. This bothers some people and not others. Personally, I don’t hear very well so I doubt I wouldn’t even notice it.

Even the largest sized of these units, the seventy pint FAD704DWD, only comes in at forty-six pounds. The other two are under forty pounds. It’s a rather light machine but to make moving it easier for everyone Frigidaire has added rollers/wheels to the bottom for easier transport. Along with that there is also a top handle for an easy grip. There shouldn’t be any problem in moving this dehumidifier around.

The last point I want to make is that the smaller sized thirty pint model FAD301NWD is missing some of the features of it’s bigger brothers. With the thirty pint model you only get one fan speed and you do not get the digital humidity readout, instead you get mechanical controls. If it was me I would purchase the fifty pint as you get the extra features and just overall more capacity of water removed per day.

Pros

As I mentioned in the last section, the two fifty pint and seventy pint models are where it’s at. While yes, the thirty pint will get the job done, I would opt for the better controls and larger capacity. Regardless of what model you choose you can be safe in your buying decision. Throughout my research on this product I have found nothing but raving reviews. For example, on Amazon.com, there are over twelve-thousand reviews with an average rating of four out of five stars. With the features we mentioned above you are sure to get a quality dehumidifier to suit your needs.

All three products are Energy Star certified with the Environmental Protection Agency. The Energy Star program is designed to evaluate various appliances and determine if they meet the EPA’s efficiency standards. An Energy Star appliances is on average about fifteen percent more efficient then a competing machine. Along with the Energy Star rating you also get a one year full warranty from the Frigidaire manufacturer.

Cons

Every product, no matter who makes it, will have drawbacks. That’s just how it is. That being said, it was difficult to find specific cons on these products. Instead, nearly all of the complaints that I read through were towards the delivery of the product. Remember before how we stated that dehumidifiers are very similar to air conditioners and refrigerators? Well, just like with refrigerators you cannot turn or ship a dehumidifier upside down.

Just yesterday I was helping my father move a refrigerator and we were very careful not to tilt it too far. The reason for this is if the refrigerator or dehumidifier is upside down or tilted too far then the oil can drain out of the compressor. Without proper lubrication your compressor will fail and the compressor is by far one of the most important components of your air conditioner, refrigerator, or dehumidifier. Many folks have reported premature failures of their dehumidifiers… but this is most likely due to them turning on the product right away after it being upside down. If the product did arrive upside down then turn it right side up and then wait for quite a while, maybe even a day. Then, start your dehumidifier up and you shouldn’t have any issues.

It also may be best practice to wait a day or two before turning on your new dehumidifier. The product may come to your home right side up, but who is to know if it was like that earlier that day. Always better to be safe then sorry. The good news here though is that if your dehumidifier does end up not working after a few weeks or months Frigidaire offers a one year warranty. Through my research I had found cases where Frigidaire offered a complete replacement product. It’s good to know you’ll be protected here.

Another point worth mentioning is the cleanliness of the inside of your dehumidifier. I touched on this briefly but I’d like to bring it up again as this was another common complaint. A few consumers stated that they had mold growing on the inside components of their dehumidifier. Mold grows due to stagnant water. Normally this will not happen if the appliance is taken care of. That means having the filter cleaned regularly, have the water tank emptied in a timely manner, and a just overall cleaning. If you do start to notice a mildew smell or see signs of mold then you can do one of two things. You can take apart the dehumidifier and do your best to clean the unit. In most cases this works fine and you are up and running again. If the mold is extreme then you may need to scrap the appliance and purchase a new one.

This leads me to my next point. These dehumidifier models won’t last forever, nothing does. From what I have read these models tend to last anywhere from two to four years. After that the quality or the amount of humidity removed begins to go down. In some cases the machine no longer operates at all. Most consumers just opt for buying another model after theirs fails. This is up to you, just be aware that if you purchase you may end up doing again in another three or four years.

Conclusion

Ok, folks. We made it through! We covered absolutely everything on this product that I could fathom. If you are still thirsty for more information please check out our ‘Important Links,’ section below for the official instruction manual, installation guide, and more. If you are interested in purchasing this unit then please click here to be taken to our Amazon.com partner where you can have the product shipped right to your door.

Lastly, if you find that you have more questions or think you may need a different dehumidfier please visit our dehumidifiers buyer’s guide by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

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On April 4th, 2019 a suit was filed by the HFC Coalition to the International Trade Commission (ITC). This suit aimed at stopping the dumping of HFC blended refrigerants such as R-410A, R-404A, and R-407C. The ITC’s decision on rather or not to review the suit was set for a deadline in May, but it was then pushed back to July. We were all expecting a decision to come next month but it was announced at the tail end of this week that the ITC has decided to accept the case and began the inquiry.

There have already been anti-dumping tariffs on HFC blends for a few years now, but the ITC’s ruling back then stated that only the blended refrigerant could be subject to the tariff. The components of these blends were not subject to the tax. So, businesses could import R-32 and R-125 refrigerants from China and face no penalties. These same businesses would then blend the refrigerant here in the States and then circumvent the tariff.

This oversight by the International Trade Commission has led to what we have today. Dirt cheap prices on some of the most common HFC refrigerants used. In essence, the initial levying of tariffs on blended refrigerants had very little impact. Everyone was getting around the tariff by importing components. It was like nothing had changed.

This is where the new suit filed in April comes into play. This case targeted the components of these blended refrigerants. On the original announcement of the suit prices on HFC blends went up nearly forty to fifty percent. As the dust began to settle prices slowly sank back down to pre-suit levels. Now though, the ITC has announced that they will hear this new case.

The Inquiry

As I said previously, the Department of Commerce has decided to began an inquiry on HFC refrigerant components. Originally, everyone had thought that the inquiry would be solely focused the blending process of the components. So, if you imported the components and then blended them into an HFC blend that is tariffed then you would be subject to the tax.

To my surprise though there were four inquiries announced this week. Let’s take a look:

  1. The first inquiry is what we just mentioned above. This is the blending of the components within the United States and circumventing the tariff. If the ITC agrees then a tariff would be installed on the blending process if the components are sourced from China.
  2. The next is what’s known as unfinished blends. I’ll be upfront with you here, I don’t know one-hundred percent what this is but my educated guess is that this is Chinese refrigerant companies blending the refrigerants but NOT to the exact levels to meet the anti-dumping blended requirements. In other words, they get it close to R-410A… but not all the way. This process would also be taxed if the ITC approves.
  3. The next inquiry is similar to our first point. This has to deal with importing components and blending them in a different country. The difference here though is that this is referencing India in particular. In this scenario, China exports the refrigerant components to India and then India blends them to create the blended HFC. This was yet another work around that companies found as the country of origin is India… even though the goods came from China. If approved anti-dumping would be installed in this scenario as well. While the initial inquiry only states India that does not mean that other countries are exempt. Say for example, China imports components into Vietnam and they blend there. If a decision is made here let’s hope it applies to all countries.
  4. The last change is on the blended refrigerant R-421A. This refrigerant blend actually doesn’t have a tariff on it because the product is patented. Patented refrigerants were excluded from the previous anti-dumping order. R-421A is quite similar to the more popular blended refrigerant known as R-407C. So, folks were importing the non-tariff R-421A and then finishing the blend to create R-407C. To give an example here, R-421A is comprised of R-125 (58%) and R-134a (42%). R-407C is comprised of R-32 (23%), R-125 (25%), and R-134a (52%). The only thing missing between these two refrigerants is R-32 and that is easily enough imported in without a tariff. If the ITC rules in favor then these patented blends will see tariffs installed on them as well.

Call these work around what you want. Maybe they are clever loopholes found by hard working businessmen. Or, maybe, they are skirting the edge of the law and they should all be stopped. However you feel, it is all coming to a head now. Now that this inquiry has begun there is a great amount of uncertainty in the market. What will happen? Will they rule in favor of all four? Just some, or none at all?

Pricing Impact

The official inquiry by the Department of Commerce will be hitting the public register on Monday. From that date onwards, June 17th, there will be a three-hundred day period for the ITC to make their decision. Here’s the scary thing though folks. If the ITC decides to impose tariffs in any of the ways we described above then those tariffs could be retroactive. This is huge and this is the main reason we are seeing prices go haywire.

Look at this way. Let’s say I am a business owner and I am going to import a trailerload of R-32 and R-125 into the United States next week. The product comes in, I blend it to R-410A, and then sell all of the product a few months later. I could face a tariff on ALL of that imported product nearly a year after I had imported and sold it. The ITC has the power to make this ruling retroactive and because of that the importing of HFCs has become a lot less attractive. Business owners could be looking at an over one-hundred percent tax on product they already sold.

Everyone who saw this coming bought up on as much product as they could and now that the inquiry has begun prices have begun to rise. A few major manufacturers have already announced their price increases. The question now though is will these manufacturers put limits on what quantities businesses can buy as well? Or, will the high prices be enough?

If you were smart enough to buy ahead you can now make a killing since the import market has all but dried up. Let’s take a look at some of the pricing trends we’re seeing now since this inquiry began just a few days ago:

R-410A – Twenty-Five Pound Cylinder Pricing:

  • Fall 2017 – $140
  • Fall 2018 – $65
  • Jan 2019 – $68
  • Feb 2019 – $56
  • Mar 2019 – $49
  • Apr 2019 – $100 – News of possible tariffs
  • May 2019 – $78
  • June 2019 – $65 – Before Inquiry
  • June 2019 – $100 – After Inquiry
    • I will state that the $100 is with some vendors. I have seen some say one-hundred and fifty and even some at one-hundred and eighty dollars a cylinder.

R-404A – Twenty-Four Pound Cylinder Pricing:

  • Fall 2017 – $175
  • Fall 2018 – $80
  • Jan 2019 – $70
  • Feb 2019 – $58
  • Mar 2019 – $50
  • Apr 2019 – $105 – News of possible tariffs
  • May 2019 – $89
  • June 2019 – $60 – Before Inquiry
  • June 2019 – $105 – After Inquiry

R-407C – Twenty-Five Pound Cylinder Pricing:

I don’t have as much pricing information on this product but I can still show you the pricing swing that took place this month:

  • June 2019 – $85 – Before Inquiry
  • June 2019 – $105 – After Inquiry

Conclusion

With the announcement of these inquiries this week there is now a lot of uncertainty introduced within the market place. It is difficult to say what will happen with pricing now. In the earlier announcements there was still hope that the ITC wouldn’t take up the case, but now that it is official we may see prices stay at these levels, or even go higher. It could go as crazy as two-hundred dollars plus a cylinder late this summer for some of the more popular HFC blends. But, we just don’t know for sure.

After all, it’s been an unseasonably colder summer for most of the country. I just took a bike ride earlier today in seventy-four degree weather. That is unheard of in Kansas in the middle of June. It should be close to one-hundred degrees. I know New England and other areas are experiencing the same thing. This colder weather may act as a buffer to this pending inquiry and help insulate the pricing situation until a decision is made next year.

If you are looking to purchase refrigerant please check out our bulk purchasing page by clicking here. In many cases we can get you the best and most aggressive priced product on the market.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Also, check out our other earlier articles on this same topic:

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In the beginning of this year I got into the habit of writing refrigerant pricing updates as I saw them coming. Most of these have been fairly benign with a few percent increases here and there. It was last month though that I wrote a pricing update that had pricing doubling on some of the most popular refrigerants in just a matter of days. The article can be found here.

This huge jump in price can be tied to a new suit filed with the Department of Commerce. This suit which was filed by the HFC Coalition aimed at installing anti-dumping tariffs on HFC components. For those of you that do not know, a few years back there were anti-dumping tariffs put on some of the most popular HFC refrigerants used today: R-410A and R-404A. These tariffs targeted Chinese product that was being unloaded in the United States at ultra low prices.

The problem with these tariffs though was how they were written. The tariffs themselves ONLY applied to R-410A and R-404A. Remember folks, that these two products are blended refrigerants. While the tariff was on the finished product it wasn’t on the components to make the blend. So, your refrigerants like R-125 and R-32 were immune from the anti-dumping. This resulted in a halting of imports of R-410A/R-404A and instead we saw massive importing of the components to blend these refrigerants. This flood of refrigerant components caused the price to stay pretty much were it was before the anti-dumping tariffs were installed. Nothing had changed except now distributors were blending Chinese refrigerants in the United States.

The Suit

I won’t get into all of the details here as it would be repetitive from my last article. Instead I’ll give a short summary and then move onto the update. In order to prevent these low prices and the continuing flood of Chinese refrigerants a suit was introduced to the Department of Commerce. This suit aimed at solving the problem when it comes to HFC refrigerant blends by adding a tariff to ANY HFC components that were used to create a blend within the United States. In other words, you can import R-125 all day long but the moment you use R-125 to create R-410A then you have to pay a tariff.

This suit was filed in early April and originally a decision was to be made today May 20th, 2019. Well, the deadline came and went and there was still no decision made. Instead the Department of Commerce issued a statement saying:

“According to 19 CFR 351.225(c)(2), “{w}ithin 45 days of the date of receipt of an application for a scope ruling, the Secretary will issue a final ruling under paragraph (d) of this section or will initiate a scope inquiry under paragraph (e) of this section.” However, “unless expressly precluded by statute, the Secretary may, for good cause, extend any time limit.” We have determined that additional time is required to review and assess the HFC Coalition’s request. Thus, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.302(b), we are extending the time-period for initiating a formal anti-circumvention inquiry by 45 days, until July 3, 2019.”

So, the can has been kicked down the road and we are now left with even more uncertainty. Before I get into pricing I want to make sure everyone understands that IF the DOC decides to take this suit up on July 3rd then EVERY blended refrigerant from July 3rd up until the decision date of the suit could be retroactively taxed the tariff. So, if I imported a heap of R-125 and R-32 in August, mixed them as 410A, and then sold them in September then I could be liable for tariffs… even if the DOC’s decision doesn’t come until February of 2020.

Pricing Update

That clause I just mentioned above is why we saw prices go crazy last April. The price of HFC refrigerants seemed to jump overnight when news of this hit the industry. Everyone was buying up as much as they could from their distributors and the distributors were buying as much as they could from China before a decision was made to accept the suit or not. In some cases we saw prices double.

Today however, I have good news. The prices on HFCs have begun to settle down. It’s hard to say exactly why this is but it appears that the initial shock of tariffs on components have worn off. Or, it could be that everyone and their brother have bought up so much that the demand has ultimately died down. Whatever the reason is prices have gone down since May. While we are still not near where we were before, we are in a much better spot then we were a month ago.

In my last article I did a break down of pricing on R-410A and R-404A. Let’s take a look again but with this week’s prices:

R-410A – Twenty-Five Pound Cylinder Pricing:

  • Fall 2017 – $140
  • Fall 2018 – $65
  • Jan 2019 – $68
  • Feb 2019 – $56
  • Mar 2019 – $49
  • Apr 2019 – $100 – News of possible tariffs
  • May 2019 – $78

R-404A – Twenty-Four Pound Cylinder Pricing:

  • Fall 2017 – $175
  • Fall 2018 – $80
  • Jan 2019 – $70
  • Feb 2019 – $58
  • Mar 2019 – $50
  • Apr 2019 – $105 – News of possible tariffs
  • May 2019 – $89

Conclusion

As you can see, we are moving downwards… but it is very tough to say what will happen in the future. There is still a lot of uncertainty in the industry and it is anyone’s guess as to what the Department of Commerce will decide on July 3rd.

One other point to mention here is that there was some talk on the latest tariffs from the Trump Administration. These tariffs are unrelated to the anti-dumping tariffs but are instead retaliatory taxes in the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. They were to be twenty-five percent on selected harmonized codes.

At first I understood that HFC refrigerants, and components, were affected by this tariff. But now, I have heard that an exemption was made specifically for HFC components. I have searched online trying to find specific information but it is quite murky, and I have not been able to find anything concrete. If any of you have further information on this topic please reach out to me and I will update this article.

Thanks for reading and hope everyone has a great Memorial Day! I’ve got a barbecue with my name no it. Cheers!

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

A Look

I’ll be the first to admit that I know very little when it comes to a transcritical system. I have seen it mentioned numerous times and have also seen that it is starting to become a trend in certain newer environmentally friendly applications. In an effort to educate myself I’m going to take a look at transcritical systems and how they work in this article.

We are all familiar with subcritical refrigeration process. This is the same process that is used in most every air conditioner or refrigerator across the world. It consists of four specific processes known as evaporation, compression, condensation, and expansion. A subcritical system has ALL of it’s processes occur below the refrigerant’s critical temperature.

When parts of the cycle process take place at pressures above the critical point and other parts below the critical pressure the cycle process is referred to as transcritical cycle. Transcritical systems are found when using R-744 Carbon Dioxide refrigerant. This is due to R-744 having an extremely low critical temperature of thirty-one degrees Celsius. As a comparison, R-134a has a critical temperature of one-hundred and one degrees.

There are many cases where the ambient temperature could be between twenty-five to thirty degrees Celsius. If your critical point for R-744 is only at thirty degrees then how can you expect to remove the heat?

Difference of Subcritical & Transcritical

The key difference with transcritical systems is that the heat rejection process is different. There is in fact no condensation. This is due to the low critical temperature of certain refrigerants. In transcritical systems the heat rejection takes place at temperatures above the refrigerant’s critical temperature.

When a refrigerant reaches a temperature above it’s critical point it is no longer known as a gas or a liquid but instead known as a fluid. This fluid condition is also known as a gas condition or state. So, when rejecting heat with a transcritical system it is known as ‘gas cooling.’ Therefore the heat exchanger in an transcritical system is known as a ‘gas cooler.’

Besides the difference in heat rejection though the rest of the refrigerant cycle remains the same. We will go into the transcritical process in our next section:

The Process

A transcritical process begins with the compressor just like it does with a subcritical system. The difference here though is that as the compressor compresses the vapor refrigerant the temperature rises and rises until it reaches past the refrigerant’s critical temperature. This is where the state change differs. Instead of a liquid we get a state in between liquid and vapor known as fluid.

The next step in the process is the rejection of the heat gained from compressing the vapor. The heat exchanger, or gas cooler, expels the heat all the while having the temperature staying above the critical point. During this process you will also have the temperature vary between the point it left to the compressor to when it goes to the expansion valve.

Next, as you know, is the expansion process. At the time the refrigerant comes into the expansion vale it is above the critical temperature and in a fluid state. When leaving the expansion valve the refrigerant is no longer above the critical temperature and it is a mixture state of liquid and vapor.

Lastly, we are at the evaporator. In the evaporator the refrigerant comes in as a liquid at a constant pressure. Obviously, during the evaporation cycle we change states again to vapor that is slightly superheated. The vapor then makes it’s way to the compressor to start the process over again.

One thing to note that with a transcritical system superheat and subcooling temperature aren’t as important. While they can still be helpful, most folks only look at evaporating and condensing temperatures. In fact, with a transcritical system there is no condensation process and therefore no subcooling.

Questions

Are There CO2 Systems That Aren’t Transcritical?

  • Yes, most often these are found in what’s known as cascade systems. These systems contain two types of refrigerants. In these examples the CO2 refrigerant is used during the low temperature stage of the refrigerant cycle. This ensures that the refrigerant does not rise above the critical temperature.

Are there other popular transcritical refrigerants?

  • From what I have researched CO2/R-744 is the only transcritical systems used today. I also went through a list of all refrigerants and their critical temperature and only found a few that were very low. R-744 was the only common one that I found that is used today. If you know otherwise, please reach out and let me know.
    • One reader reached out to me and informed me that in some cases R-410A can be used in a transcritical system. That is because 410A’s critical temperature is only one-hundred and sixty-two degrees Fahrenheit. If you are in a warmer climate, in the summer, and the sun is beating down on a rooftop condenser then temperatures could very well come close tot hat one-hundred and sixty degrees mark.

How often do we use transcritical systems?

  • With constantly improving technology and the push to move the worlds towards greener refrigerants we are seeing a substantial rise in transcritical systems across the globe. Most of these new systems are found in Europe and other countries but the United States is making inroads as well. We’re always just a bit behind Europe though…

Are transcritical systems more expensive?

  • Yes, they are when compared to traditional HFC systems. This is especially true here in the United States as there aren’t as many technicians who are familiar with the technology and the parts aren’t as readily available. In the US these systems are nearly twice as expensive but in the EU they are only around thirty percent more.
  • The good news here is that CO2 systems are slightly more efficient then HFC systems and the cost of R-744 refrigerant is significantly cheaper then HFC refrigerants.

Why Should I Choose a Transcritical CO2 System?

  • Yes these R-744 systems are more expensive but you get peace of mind with a transcritical CO2 system. They are never going to be phased out like a R-404A application will be. CO2 has a negligible environmental impact and will be around for decades to come. It is a safe investment in the future of your business.

Conclusion

Well folks I learned quite a bit during writing this article. I had to dig through some articles to educate myself. All of my sources articles can be found below. If you have further interest in learning about transcritical systems then I highly recommend the first two sources from ACHRNews & Danfoss. These articles are great and go in-depth on the transcritical process as well as including diagrams and illustrations to help drive the points home.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

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Hello all, I apologize for the two e-mails in one day but I figured this one was worth it. Over the past week I have had a few notifications from my contacts within the industry about incoming price changes.

First, before we get into what these changes are I want to take a look at why they are occurring. A few years back there was a suit filed with the International Trade Commission. This suit claimed that refrigerants from China were being dumped into the United States market at unfair prices. This dumping caused the prices on the most common HFC refrigerants to sink lower and lower.

In 2016 the Trade Commission ruled in favor of tariffs on imported HFC refrigerant blends from China (Two-hundred and ten percent tariff – Source from CoolingPost.com) The problem here though was that the Trade Commission’s ruling was on on HFC blends and not their components. That meant if you imported R-410A into the United States from China you would face a two-hundred and ten percent tariff, but if you imported R-125 and R-32 from China and then blended them within the US then you could work around the tariffs.

Obviously, this was a big hole. With this ruling there was going to be very little impact on HFC blend pricing. Sure, there is the extra cost of having to blend the product, but it is minimal when compared to purchasing competing product. The low priced product from China continued to flow freely.

The New Case

Everyone knew that the anti-dumping tariff had to be put in place on the components of blended refrigerants as well. But, in order to justify a new case with the Trade Commission it had to be proven that the tariffs instigated in 2016 were not effective and that companies were navigating around them by importing component refrigerants. From what I have read there needs to be at least a couple years of data in order for a case to move forward and be legitimized.

Well folks, here we are in 2019 and years have passed since the initial anti-dumping tariffs were passed. It is now time for a new case with the International Trade Commission. Yes, on April 4th, 2019 the American HFC Coalition and it’s members filed a new anti-dumping case with the Trade Commission. An excerpt can be seen below:

Section 781(a) of the Act is designed to address circumvention of an order by imports of out-of-scope merchandise, such as HFC components, that are completed or assembled in the United States after importation. As described below, the statutory criterion for initiating an anticircumvention inquiry are satisfied in this case. Evidence establishes that iGas USA, Inc., and its affiliate BMP USA, Inc., are mixing HFC blends in the United States using HFC components imported from China.

The process of blending HFC components from China into in-scope HFC blends adds only [ ] per kilogram of the finished HFC blend. As such, the blending performed by iGas and BMP is “minor or insignificant” within the meaning of section781(a)(1)(C) and 781(a)(2) of the Act. Additionally, the imported R-32, R-125, or R-143a, as the primary inputs of HFC blends, account for a “significant portion” of the total value of the merchandise within the meaning of section 781(a)(1)(D) of the Act. For these reasons, HFC components imported from China by TTI, Lianzhou, iGas and BMP are circumventing the antidumping duty order on HFC blends. Consequently, these components should be included within the antidumping duty order on HFC Blends from China pursuant to Section 781(a) of the Act.

As you can see, they have referenced companies bringing in HFC components from China and then mixing them in house to create R-410A, R-404A, and other popular HFC blends. Here is where things get a bit different though folks. Most people within the industry knew that this was coming. They had expected it to hit this year even, but what’s different is that the expected case was to be on the component refrigerants coming in from China. This new case though aims at the actual blending process. If you import HFC components into the United States from China and you then use those components to create a refrigerant blend that has a tariff then that tariff will apply to your newly blended refrigerant. In other words, you will be charged the tariff on R-410A even though you didn’t actually import R-410A. (You imported R-125 and R-32 instead.) An excerpt from the case is below as well:

COMMERCE SHOULD INCLUDE HFC COMPONENTS, “COMPLETED OR ASSEMBLED” IN THE
UNITED STATES INTO HFC BLENDS, WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE ANTIDUMPING ORDER
PURSUANT TO SECTION 781(A) OF THE ACT.

All of this is preliminary. There is nothing official yet. The Trade Commission hasn’t even decided if they are going to investigate the matter. Their decision is expected to come towards the end of May. If the Commission does decide to investigate this case then we may have to wait a year, or more, to find out what the results are and if they will be levying a tariff on the blending of HFC refrigerants. Here’s the kicker though folks, if they do accept this case and rule in favor of a tariff a year down the road they could also make the decision to retroactively enact the tariff on blending refrigerants. That means that from the moment they accept the case up until their ruling refrigerant distributors could have to pay the new tariffs on their blended refrigerants… even on product that have already been sold. This is a worst case scenario, but if it does happen a lot of companies will have to write off these tariffs on product that they sold a year ago.

Price & Availability

As a direct result of the scenario above we have begun to see chaos in the HFC pricing and availability market here in the United States. In just a few days after the announced case two major refrigerant manufacturers sent notifications that they would no longer be accepting HFC refrigerant orders. Think about that for a second, two out of the four major manufacturers are no longer accepting orders. (I won’t name names here, but I’m sure you can make a good guess.) These companies put a hold on their distributing refrigerant because everyone is buying as much refrigerants as they can as soon as they can. Everyone is trying to beat that May deadline when the Trade Commission decides rather to pick up the case or not. That date is critical because, as we discussed before, if they do decide to investigate then ANY product brought in after that date could be subject to an anti-dumping tariff.

Along with the two manufacturers who are no longer taking orders I have another mailer from a third global manufacturer. While this mailer isn’t stopping orders it is announcing a large price increase on all of their HFC refrigerants. This company announced an increase of eighty cents a pound on their various HFC refrigerants such as: R-410A, R-407A, R-407C, R-404A, and R-507. For some reason, R-134a was also mentioned as having an increase although theirs was smaller at sixty cents more per pound. Having R-134a in here is strange since it is not a blended refrigerant, but this may have been thrown in there just because.

Based off of the increases mentioned above let’s take a look at one of the most popular refrigerants and how they are impacted. Remember, that these prices are always ball park and can change at any time:

R-410A – Twenty-Five Pound Cylinder Pricing:

  • Fall 2017 – $140
  • Fall 2018 – $65
  • Jan 2019 – $68
  • Feb 2019 – $56
  • Mar 2019 – $49
  • Apr 2019 – $100

R-404A – Twenty-Four Pound Cylinder Pricing:

  • Fall 2017 – $175
  • Fall 2018 – $80
  • Jan 2019 – $70
  • Feb 2019 – $58
  • Mar 2019 – $50
  • Apr 2019 – $105

Conclusion

These two pricing trends above really tell the story on what has happened over the past week or so. The prices on these HFC blends have nearly doubled. ALL of this is due to speculation and rumor as to what the Trade Commission will decide. Will they take up the case? Or, will they hold off? 

Also, another point that I didn’t mention is that it’s not just the larger global manufacturers that are having a run on their HFC inventory. The Chinese are seeing huge trailerload orders placed as a last ditch effort to get as much product on hand as possible before a possible tariff begins. If this keeps up there very well may be a global shortage of R-125 again similar to what we saw in the spring of 2017. (At some points during that year we saw 410A and 404A prices upwards of four-hundred dollars.)

The only good news I can offer here is that once the May deadline approaches things began to slow down. Right now it is the uncertainty that is driving the market mad. At least once a decision is made everyone can sleep a bit easier. 

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Greetings folks! I hope everyone had a great January and was able to stay warm during the Polar Vortex. Kansas City didn’t get it as bad as some other areas as we only got down to negative five. (Only!) I apologize for not updating the past few weeks but we all need a little R and R every now and then.

As most of you know I came from the automotive industry, specifically trucking. While in this industry I was responsible for purchasing R-134a for our dealerships. After doing this for a few years I found that the absolute best time to buy is right now. Yes, January and February are the best time to purchase refrigerants rather it be R-134a, R-410A, R-404A, or anything else.

The Why

There are a few reasons you should consider buying right now. As the year progresses and we get into the spring and summer months the price on refrigerants steadily begins to creep up. This is due to demand and the hotter weather. As we all know, more demand equals higher pricing. This is why it makes sense to buy most of your company’s yearly demand in the down season while the prices are still quite low.

That being said, I wouldn’t recommend purchasing in November or December either. Depending on the year you could see the high summer prices extend even to the fall months. With some years I’ve seen exceptional pricing last all the way to mid November. The demand and the pricing that followed finally begins to die down in December and is pretty much non-existent in January. This causes the price to drop to it’s lowest point.

Even though January has the absolute best prices a lot of companies will wait until the magical month of February. This may be due to the pricing being right around the same and that we’re another month closer to spring and summer. That’s one less month of sitting on expensive inventory.

Late last month we had a trucking company go through our bulk purchasing program. After some negotiations they ended up buying a full trailer load of R-134a from us. For those that don’t know, a trailer load consists of twenty pallets of forty cylinders each. (Eight-hundred cylinders.) Just about a week later we had another trucking company purchase just under five trailer loads. That’s nearly four-thousand cylinders.

All of these large purchases are designed to give companies the best price in the market, to insulate them from seasonal price increases, and to also fill their demand for the entire season.

The Risk

It’s not all a bed of roses though folks. There is a risk to purchasing like this. Refrigerant is a commodity and it’s pricing can change with just the snap of a finger. In previous articles I equated it to the price of oil. We always see in the news that oil prices are going up and down every week or even every day. While refrigerant isn’t as volatile as oil is, it is important to know that the prices can go down or up at any moment.

While it is fairly standard for prices to go up during prime season it is not always the case. There are a variety of reasons that prices could actually go down in the hot months of summer. It could be oversupply across the country. Or, it could be a very mild summer and the need for air conditioning just isn’t there. Whatever the reason is, you should know that there is the possibility of prices going down as well as going up in prime season.

Let’s look at a worst case scenario. Say your company bought a trailer load of refrigerant this week and you got what you believe was an aggressive price. As the months go by and summer arrives you begin to notice that you are getting priced out of the market. Your competitors are quoting fifteen to twenty percent lower then you. You are now stuck with overpriced product. Do you sell at a loss? Do you buy some at the lower price and hold onto your current inventory? Do you write off the cost difference as a loss and move on?

Conclusion

While the above scenario isn’t a pretty picture I can assure you that the other end of the spectrum is. Imagine for a moment that you purchased a trailer load product at ninety dollars a cylinder. Then, as summer arrives, the price goes up and up until it hits over one-hundred and fifty dollars a cylinder.  Now you are in a great position to make a killing and still undercut some of your competition.

Whatever you decide to do with your company’s refrigerant needs this year just remember that there is no right or wrong answer. No one knows for certain what will happen within the market this year. There are always going to be winners and losers. Here’s hoping you’re on the winning side!

If you are interested in purchasing please contact us and we’ll do our best to get your an aggressive price.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

How Much Does It Cost?

The term Freon is used all over the country to describe the refrigerant that is used in their home, commercial, or vehicle air conditioner. Even though it is used by man the term Freon is actually antiquated and is very rarely used within the HVAC industry. Chances are your air conditioner that you are using right now doesn’t contain Freon.

In fact, the word Freon is actually a brand name from the DuPont, now Chemours, refrigerant company. Yes, that’s right. Freon is just like Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Freon is a brand of refrigerant. There are many brands of refrigerant out there today but the reason we associate Freon with everyone is that Freon was the first mainstream refrigerant that can be traced all the way back to the 1930’s. At that time DuPont and General Motors teamed up together to form R-12 and R-22 refrigerants. These new refrigerants were the first mass produced and widely used refrigerant and air conditioning technologies in the world. DuPont branded these new refrigerants under their trademarked brand name, ‘Freon.’ The Freon refrigerants exploded in popularity and just a few decades later they could be found in nearly every home and office across the country.

All of this changed in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when a team of scientists discovered that these Freon refrigerants contained Chlorine and Chlorine was leaking into the atmosphere and damaging the Ozone layer. Realizing this, hundreds of countries signed what’s known as the Montreal Protocol. This protocol phased out CFC and HCFC refrigerants across the globe. Included in these phased out refrigerants were DuPont’s ever popular ‘Freon’ brand name.

So, What Kind of Refrigerant Do I Need?

Ok, so the old Freon refrigerants are nearly gone nowadays. Yes, there are still some R-22 units out there and some people still need them but R-22 machines were phased out in 2010 so that means at their youngest an R-22 unit is already nine years old. They are quickly approaching the end of their life. The term Freon will be going away with it. So, now the question is what kind of refrigerant do you need? Let’s take a look:

Automotive Application – Nowadays nearly every vehicle is using R-134a refrigerant for their vehicles. In recent years a new refrigerant known as HFO-1234yf is being used on newer models. If you car is a few years old you will need to check if it takes 1234yf or not. Otherwise you are fairly safe to assume that your car is taking R-134a.

Home or Commercial Air Conditioner – These ones can be a little tricky. Depending on when you got your unit you most likely either have an R-22 unit or a R-410A unit. As I said before R-22 was phased out in 2010 for new units. R-410A has been around since 2010 but it’s popularity didn’t really take off until the 2010 deadline hit for R-22.

Refrigerators and Freezers (Home and Commercial) – The go to refrigerant for these applications has been R-404A. There are some other alternatives out there such as CO2 (R-744), R-502, and some other new HFO refrigerants coming out soon.

Conclusion

I hope that this article was able to answer your questions on refrigerant pricing and to also open your eyes on the wide variety there is within the refrigerant industry. There are two things that I want you take from this post. The first is the relative price per pound of the refrigerant you need and the second is the understanding that your contractor needs to make money too. Sure, you might know his price but you should not haggle down to zero. You should negotiate to a fair price that allows profit but also prevents gouging.

Lastly, if you are unsure what type of refrigerant your system needs please check the label/sticker on the machine. Normally it will state the refrigerant that it takes. However, if you still can’t find it then you can either contact the manufacturer or you can call a HVAC professional out to take a look. This is never something that you want to guess at.

Thanks for reading and visiting my site,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

How Much Does It Cost?

Most people couldn’t care less about the pricing of refrigerant. I’m sure you didn’t care at all until your air conditioner broke down. Now you have a contractor at your home or office looking over the damage, or perhaps you have already received a quote from them and you are a little surprised by how much they are charging for refrigerant. Whatever your reason is for reading this article we are going to do our best to answer your question and to give you a fair estimate on what the going price per pound on some of the most common refrigerants on the market place today.

First and foremost, let me first explain that there are hundreds of different types of refrigerants out there. No two refrigerants are the same or work the same either. The air conditioner that you are using is designed specifically for a certain refrigerant and no others. The science of refrigeration and air conditioning all boils down to basic chemistry and understanding when a refrigerant changes states either from gas to liquid or liquid to gas. Each machine is designed to accomdate that refrigernat’s specific saturation point. If you were to add the wrong refrigerant to your air conditioner you could damage or even destroy the system. You wouldn’t put diesel into a gasoline sedan would you? The same principle applies.

In this article we are going to go over some of the most popular refrigerants out there today, their applications, and where they can be found. It will be up to you to determine exactly what refrigerant you need for your repairs.

So, What Kind of Refrigerant Do I Need?

As we mentioned above, there are hundreds of varying kinds of refrigerants out there. A lot of times this can be overwhelming and confusing to a laymen as to what kind of refrigerant they need. The good news here is that for most applications there are only a select few refrigerants that are used here in the United States. In this section below we are going to highlight the most commonly used refrigerants, what their applications are, and what their price per pound is. The price per pound section will have a link to the exact price per pound on that refrigerant.

Let’s dive in and take a look:

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

Conclusion

I hope that this article was able to answer your questions on refrigerant pricing and to also open your eyes on the wide variety there is within the refrigerant industry. There are two things that I want you take from this post. The first is the relative price per pound of the refrigerant you need and the second is the understanding that your contractor needs to make money too. Sure, you might know his price but you should not haggle down to zero. You should negotiate to a fair price that allows profit but also prevents gouging.

Lastly, if you are unsure what type of refrigerant your system needs please check the label/sticker on the machine. Normally it will state the refrigerant that it takes. However, if you still can’t find it then you can either contact the manufacturer or you can call a HVAC professional out to take a look. This is never something that you want to guess at.

Thanks for reading and visiting my site,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Hello everyone! I hope your Labor Day is going well. We just got back from our city’s parade and I’ve got a few hours before our barbecue so I thought I’d take some time and get an article out there. I’m going to preface this article with the disclaimer that this is an opinion piece. Take it how you want, but it has been on my mind over the past year or so.

As we all know refrigerants have been phased out or phased down for decades. We started it way back in the early 1990’s with R-12 and other CFCs. Then we focused on HCFCs and now the world is looking at HFCs. With CFCs and HCFCs the goal of the phase out was to stop using Ozone damaging refrigerants. These refrigerants contained Chlorine which did not break down in the atmosphere and ended up harming the Ozone layer.

HFCs were the replacement for these Ozone damaging refrigerants. HFCs did not contain Chlorine and did not harm the Ozone layer. They were also non-flammable and non-toxic. Yes, I am aware there are always exceptions out there, but the most commonly used HFC refrigerants were non-flammable and non-toxic. These HFCs seemed to be the perfect substitute for HFCs and HCFCs.

Fast forward to the present and the world is now looking to phase down or phase out HFC refrigerants across the globe. This time though instead of them damaging the Ozone these refrigerants are contributing to Global Warming. Refrigerants are measured on a scale known as Global Warming Potential, or GWP. The zero scale for GWP is Carbon Dioxide (R-744) with a GWP of one. Popular HFC refrigerants, such as R-134a, have GWP as high as one-thousand four-hundred and thirty. There is an obvious problem here and the continued use of HFC refrigerants will speed up Global Warming. The question now though is what alternatives are out there?

Natural Refrigerants

For a lot of companies and countries the answer has been Hydrocarbons such as R-717 and R-290. These natural refrigerants have a very low Global Warming Potential and they do not deplete the Ozone layer. In fact, R-717 is widely seen as one of the most efficient refrigerants out there. Both of these refrigerants are great for the environment. The downside though is that these refrigerants can be dangerous.

Yes, just like with anything, if the refrigerants and machines are handled correctly and maintained properly then there is little chance of problems, but the chance still persists nonetheless. Let’s look at R-717, or Ammonia, as an example. Ammonia is a great refrigerant but it is toxic if inhaled. In today’s world it is mostly used industrial refrigeration such as meat packing plants and in ice rinks. When a leak does happen it can be deadly. Notice, how I said when? Ammonia leaks occur quite frequently across the Americas. There was a particularly bad one around one year ago in Canada that ended up fatally harming three workers. (Source) When an Ammonia leak occurs an evacuation has to occur. Depending on the size of the leak the evacuation could be a couple of blocks surrounding the facility. It can be that dangerous.

The alternative for Ammonia based systems was R-22. In the 1980’s and 1990’s companies could pick between these two refrigerants for their plants. (Yes, there were more, but I believe these were the main players.) The choice for R-22 is now gone due to the phase outs. Depending on the application, some were using R-134a as an alternative to Ammonia. But now, that too, is being phased out. While R-22 and R-134a were damaging the Climate they were safe. If a leak occurred it wasn’t the end of the world.

Now with the shrinking list of alternative refrigerants more and more companies are leaning towards Ammonia. Yes, there are new HFC and HFO alternatives being developed by Chemours and Honeywell but these have not been perfected yet. You may get one that has a low GWP but has a higher flammability rating. Or, you may get one that still has a somewhat high GWP and it just wouldn’t make sense to base a new machine off of a refrigerant that is only going to be around for a few years.

R-290, or Propane, has a similar story. While yes, it’s not near as deadly as Ammonia, it still has it’s risks. Instead of toxicity being a problem we now have to deal with flammability and flame propagation. If an inexperienced technician attempts to work on an R-290 unit and is not sure what they are doing they could end up igniting the refrigerant. (The worst is the guys who smoke when working on a unit.)

Now picture this, what if we start using R-290 in home based air conditioners? It doesn’t even have to be a split system, it could be a mini-split or even a window or portable unit. Let’s say Mr. Homeowner, who has no idea what he’s doing, decides to tamper with the unit because it’s not blowing cold air. Maybe he thinks it just needs ‘more Freon.’ If the unit was using Puron then the homeowner would recharge, waste his money, and think he did some good. However, if the unit contained R-290 the results could be far worse.

HFOs and Alternative HFCs

In my opinion, HFOs are much safer then Hydrocarbons, but there is still that safety risk out there. Let’s look at everyone’s favorite HFO target, 1234yf. Now, I know this horse has been beaten to death, but I’m going to bring it up one more time. YF is rated as an A2L from ASHRAE. That 2L means that YF is flammable and has a chance to ignite. What kills me here is that there was such a push to get YF rolled out to new vehicles that instead of rating it as a standard A2 refrigerant they instead created a whole new flammability called 2L. (Lower Flammability.) So, they’re admitting to it being flammable, but only slightly.

The whole controversy on YF started years ago when the European Union was looking for a suitable alternative to R-134a. There were hundreds of tests conducted across Europe and the World to view the viability of 1234yf. In one of these tests the Daimler company out of Germany found that after the vehicle suffered an impact and the compressor cracked open the HFO YF refrigerant ignited when it was exposed to the hot engine. (For more on this check out our YF fact sheet by clicking here. The video of the ignition is at the bottom.)

Needless to say, this test result shocked Daimler and they published their findings to the world. The other companies and countries stated that Daimler’s test could not be reproduced and that it was a non-issue. The world moved forward with the somewhat dangerous 1234yf. Daimler, being the innovators they are, decided to instead move forward with a completely different automotive refrigerant, R-744.

While 1234yf is by far one of the most popular HFC alternatives on the marketplace today there are others that have similar problems. One that comes to mind right away is R-32. R-32 is an HFC refrigerant that is beginning to see more popularity for it’s usage in home and commercial air conditioners. R-32 is an alternative to the standard R-410A that is found in most home units. The goal of R-32 was to reduce the GWP number when compared to R-410A. 410A has a GWP of two-thousand and eighty-eight while R-32 has a GWP of six-hundred and seventy-five. This is a significant reduction, but the GWP is still quite high when comparing to Hydrocarbons or HFOs. Another very important point is that R-32 is rated as an A2 refrigerant. There’s that 2 again. 2 means flammable except with this one we don’t even get the L for lightly flammable.

So again, I’m going to illustrate the similar scenario we mentioned above. Picture a homeowner, who doesn’t know what they are doing, trying to either retrofit his existing R-22 over to R-32 or perhaps he just wants to recharge his R-32 machine. Without the proper training and knowledge this can end in disaster.

Conclusion

So, now here we are sacrificing technician and public safety for the betterment of the Climate and environment. I understand that Global Warming is a crisis and that it needs to be dealt with, but is it really worth increasing possible risk and danger of everyday workers and people? It appears that in everyone’s haste to move away from HFC refrigerants and to save the environment the thought of safety has taken a backseat.

I mean, if we wanted to get really aggressive in the fight against climate change why not start using Ammonia in nearly every application? After all, it has a GWP of zero and is extremely energy efficient. (I’m being sarcastic here, if you couldn’t tell!)

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Differences

Spring is beautiful. Trees are blooming, birds are chirping, and we rarely have to wear winter coats. It’s nice outside! Finally, there are days when you don’t have to run your HVAC system. If you have another type of space heater you’re probably not using that either. Soon, however, you’ll need to consider your cooling situation. And the perfect time is now.

This is because those 100 degree temperature days can come out of nowhere. Instead of being caught off guard, let’s take a look at some cooling options. Your HVAC system might be your go-to. However, there are portable and window air conditioners are great solutions as well. Before considering which might be best for you, you first need to understand the differences between the two. You’ll then learn functionality and features of each to decide which is best for you. There are a few points to consider here. They are:
• Defining each of the systems.
• Comparing the features of each system.
• Choosing the right air conditioner.
• Knowing where to buy it.

What is a Portable Air Conditioner?

DeLonghi America PACAN120EW 12000BTU Whisper Cool Portable Air Conditioner
PACAN120EW 12000BTU Portable Air Conditioner

A portable air conditioner is named as such for a reason: it’s portable! Think of a unit which can be moved from room to room or home to home. Portable air conditioners sit close to a window. This allows it to remove warm air from the room through a hose connected to the unit.

Portable air conditioners typically have a removable tray which collects moisture. Over time, this tray needs to be removed and the liquid should be flushed down a drain. Some high-end models, however, evaporate moisture out of the exhaust hose, along with the warm air. The Whynter ARC-122DS Elite is a great example of a higher end portable air conditioner which automatically evaporates moisture. You can learn more about portable air conditioners by clicking here.

What is a Window Air Conditioner?

Koldfront WAC10002WCO 10,000 BTU
Koldfront WAC10002WCO 10,000 BTU

A window air conditioner can also be viewed as a type of portable unit. However, it’s a stationary one. They are literally installed in an open window. The trick to window air conditioners is finding the right size. Having a proper setup means that the unit should fit perfectly. This will allow the cool air to stay in the room, thereby saving energy and money. The hOme 5000 BTU Window-Mounted Air Conditioner is a popular choice due to its ideal fit in bedroom windows. Make sure you measure your window before purchasing.

Installing a window air conditioner is not difficult, provided you follow the instruction manual. Once ready to run, you’ll find that the unit seems like a permanent fixture. They are great, in part, because they don’t take up much space due to being in the window. You can learn more about window air conditioners by clicking here.

Comparing the Two

There are multiple benefits to each unit. Some of the benefits overlap. For example, each type of air conditioner is relatively inexpensive. The average price is a few hundred dollars. In contrast, central air conditioners cost thousands of dollars. Portable air conditioners are slightly more expensive than window air conditioners. However, the price difference is minimal and may not be a major deciding factor with which unit to choose from.

The noise level varies with portable air conditioners. You can generally expect them to be quieter the price goes higher. Window air conditioners, on the other hand, are usually louder. This is due, in part, to the rumbling of the unit up against the window sill. Securing the unit in place will help to minimize the noise it produces.

Window air conditioners commonly come with an Energy Star rating. But that doesn’t mean portable air conditioners can’t be energy efficient. Portable units are commonly assigned an Energy Efficient Ratio (EER) rating. The higher the EER is, the more efficient the portable air conditioner will be. That being said, window air conditioners are generally known to be more energy efficient.

Which You Should Choose

Efficiency, price, versatility—these are the factors you’ll consider before choosing a unit. If you think you’ll be moving the unit from room to room you might want a portable air conditioner. If you are looking to save space in a room you might want a window air conditioner. If you want the easier unit to install you might choose the portable air conditioner. If you are looking for an efficient model you might choose a window air conditioner.

These factors might seem clear-cut to you. Or, you may want a mix of the features. At the end of the day, you’ll need to pick which one is best for your situation.

Where to Buy Them

My favorite place to shop is Amazon. I’m able to easily compare models and types without leaving my home. And you can too. For portable air conditioners, a great starting point for you would be here. If you are interested in window air conditioners, you will want to shop here.

Make sure you read customer reviews. It’s one of my favorite ways to research a new product I’m considering buying. You can also look at the star rating for a quick idea of how good the product is. If you are energy conscious, make sure you look at the BTU number of the unit. As the number goes higher it will be able to produce more energy.

Conclusion

Reading this has made you better prepared to face to face a hot summer. It’s important to note that, even if you have central air, you’ll want to get it checked before a hot an humid day. You may not have used your air conditioner since last year and you’ll want to make sure it’s working properly.

Consider also that both portable and window air conditioners use less energy than a central air conditioner. If you only need to cool one or two rooms in your home, either unit might be a great money-saving solution. If you have any further questions about portable or window air conditioners don’t hesitate to contact me.

What Is It?

Anyone who has ever dealt with an air conditioning system, even in the smallest of manners, has most likely heard of the TXV. It’s one of those things like Superheat and Subcool that are essential to understand when working on a unit. But what is the TXV? How does it affect the system? When did it come about? We’re going to dive in folks to all of this, answer those questions, and maybe more. Let’s take a look.

What is the TXV?

TXVs, or Thermostatic Expansion Valves, is a metering device found in most air conditioning systems around the world. The goal of this valve is to control the amount of liquid refrigerant being fed into the system’s evaporator and to also control the amount of Superheat in a system. Depending on who you are or who you are working with you may hear TXVs be called the generic name of ‘metering devices.’

Refrigerant TXVThe TXV is located on the liquid line between the condenser and the evaporator. In most cases it sits right outside the evaporator ensuring that no extra liquid gets in and potentially floods the evaporator. When working perfectly the TXV is a precise instrument that increases the overall efficiency of your system.

As I stated above TXVs were designed to improve energy efficiency on air conditioners. This is done by metering the amount of refrigerant. TXVs were NOT designed to control humidity, capacity, head pressure, air temperature, suction pressure, or anything else. Again, it is just controlling the amount of refrigerant allowed into the evaporator.

The TXV achieves this by doing a couple of things. First, it looks at how fast the refrigerant is moving through the evaporator and how fast it is boiling off back into a gas form. It does this by looking at the temperatures of the refrigerant gas as it leaves the evaporator and the pressure inside of the evaporator. These recordings are kept in a temperatures sensing bulb built into the TXV. If metering needs to occur then a pin is moved in our out automatically in the valve to control the flow of refrigerant based off of the data that the TXV received.

When this pin is applied inside the TXV a few things begin to happen to the liquid refrigerant that is now stagnat. The pressure on the refrigerant slowly begins to drop. As this drop occurs an amount of the refrigerant converts to gas. (This is the standard response during pressure drops.) This now low pressure liquid and gas mixture moves into the evaporator and then completely boils off into it’s gaseous state.

Refrigerant TXV

TXV Failure Causes

Like with anything on an air conditioning system Thermostatic Expansion Valves can break. The question now is when they are broken or when they are failing how can we tell and why did they break? What should we look for? Below are a few examples of failures that can occur on your TXV:

  • Build up of wax on the inside of the TXV. This can happen due to the wrong oil being used in the system.
  • Containment or particulates getting stuck in the TXV. This can happen due to a few reasons, one of them is your compressor failing and burning out.
  • Orifice inside the TXV freezing and filling with ice due to excessive moisture within the system.
  • If at one point your compressor was flooded with refrigerant than your system’s excess oil may bog down the TXV. This can also happen if you just have too much oil in your system.
  • The Thermostatic Expansion Valve may be adjusted too far closed or open for it to work effectively.
  • Lastly, but still very important, is that there may just be a manufacturer’s defect on the TXV.

Remember that a system with a faulty TXV is going to display the same symptoms as a faulty liquid line. This is because the TXV is in fact part of the liquid line. So, when checking for failures it is best to check every component in the liquid line including the TXV, the drier, any solenoids, and valves.

TXV Failure Symptoms

Ok folks, so we now know what a TXV is and how it can fail but the question now is what are some of the signs that a TXV is failing? What are the things to look for? First, let’s remember that a failure on a TXV is one of two things. First it is either too restricted and it is not letting refrigerant into the evaporator. Second, it is not restricting enough and you are having excess refrigerant being fed into your evaporator.

Let’s look at the first example first where not enough refrigerant is being fed into the evaporator. Symptoms of this can be the following:

  • Low pressure on your evaporator.
  • High evaporator and compressor Superheat temperatures.
  • Low amperage from your compressor.
  • Short cycling on the low pressure control.
  • A higher than normal discharge temperature.
  • Low condenser pressure. (Head)
  • Higher than normal condenser Subcool temperatures.

Ok, now let’s look at the second example when too much refrigerant is being fed into your evaporator. When this happens the evaporator can no longer keep up and some of the liquid refrigerant may in fact work it’s way towards your compressor. If liquid refrigerant moves into your compressor the liquid will settle at the bottom of the compressor along with the oil. All of this can cause premature failure in your compressor. Trust me folks, compressors aren’t cheap. The thing to keep in mind here is that if you do have a compressor failure then there was a reason for that. It may have not been a faulty compressor but instead something further on down the line, in this case the TXV.

Conclusion

Remember folks, nowadays the Thermostatic Expansion Valve is one of the most important things for technicians to check, monitor, and review. Couple this with checking Superheat and Subcool then you will have a pretty darn good idea what is going on with your system.

Thanks for reading and I hope this was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources