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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

I am proud to say that RefrigerantHQ has been mentioned in quite a few different websites in their ‘Top HVAC Websites,’ section. These various post are a great way for an audience on one site to discover a related site that they may have not known about in the past. Thanks to these posts I have seen an increase in traffic so I thought that I would return the favor by compiling a best of here as well.

My website, RefrigerantHQ, is a niche within a niche. Yes, I see my site as part of the HVAC industry but as you all know we tend to focus only on the refrigerant or air-conditioning side of the world. While there are many top ten or top whatever sites in the HVAC industry I thought that I would take the time today and put together a top listing of all of the best refrigerant sites out there. The sites listed below are all highly regarded and respected. Most of the time when I am writing an article I will either get the idea from one of these sites or I will refer to them as a source. Let’s take a look.

#1) – Cooling Post

The Cooling Post is a website based out of the United Kingdom. Like my website they tend to focus only on the refrigerant and air conditioning aspect of the industry. I have them ranked as number one in my listing as they provide a great, steady, and late-breaking news on the industry. Chances are if something has happened the Cooling Post will have an article about it. I try to reference them as much as a I can as a reputable source. If you haven’t already subscribed to their newsletter then I would highly recommend doing so! It is sent out twice a week and there is usually always an interesting topic related to our niche.

#2) – ACHRNews

I’m sure most of you have heard of ACHRNews. They have been around as a magazine for nearly one-hundred years. While they focus on anything and everything in the heating and cooling world they do offer very detailed articles and updates on the refrigeration side of things as well. Their subscription base looks to be mainly composed of contractors and technicians.

Depending on the article these guys can either cover a broad topic or they dive down into the weeds and details of certain applications. I would suggest subscribing if you are a small business owner or someone who is just looking to keep up with all of the changes in the HVAC industry. Personally, I use ACHRnews as a reference and a source for quite bit of my articles as well.

#3) – RACPlus

RAC is out of the United Kingdom just like the Cooling Post is. RAC is another website and magazine dedicated to the refrigerant and air conditioning world. While some of their stories may be European Union centered I can assure you that they do a variety of international stories including covering the United States. Just today I signed up for their monthly print magazine and I’m looking forward to diving into it when the first edition arrives.

While I have used RAC as a source in the past I do not see them as often as I see the previous Cooling Post and ACHRnews. That’s not to say that they don’t provide great articles, they do, but sometimes it is not the exact kind of story that I am looking for on my site.

Something kind of neat that I would like to mention here is that they are putting on a ‘2018 Cooling Awards,’ program. The official link can be found by clicking here. There are many different categories to win. The 2017 winners can be found by clicking here.

#4) – SHECCO

Shecco is an interesting company. They are a company dedicated to advancing and promoting natural refrigerants. Instead of having one centralized site they run a variety of websites, magazines, and publications. As an example, R-744.com is owned and ran by Shecco. This website is anything and everything related to CO2 refrigerants. Another website of theirs Ammonia21.com is, you guessed it, dedicated to Ammonia (R-717) in refrigerant applications.

On top of their various websites they also host an annual tradeshow out of Long Beach, California. 2018’s show is this June and there are expected to be around four-hundred and fifty experts, policy/law makers, and end users attending. Registration for the event can be found by clicking here. While I was planning to attend this year I now found that I am unable due to a family medical issue. I’m hoping for next year!

Shecco’s various sites:

#5) – iiar

Iiar is another advocate group for natural refrigerants including Ammonia. This site is more a lobbying group. I say this as their address is in Virginia and their board of directors are all come from various large companies across the United States as well as outside of the US. I would take most of their articles with a grain of salt. This website provides occasional news and updates on natural refrigerants and I have used them as a source or reference a few times, but nowhere near as much as the previous sites.

#6) – ClimateControlNews

Again, this isn’t a site that I have used very often but they do provide informative articles and updates. Climate Control News is based out of Australia which is great as I usually don’t see too much news coming from over there. Most of the time I only end up reading about western changes either from the United States or the European Union. This website actually gave me the idea for a story I did the other day about a new refrigerant phone application that will soon give us the first accurate measurement on how much charge is left in a dying or scrapped air conditioning system. (Story can be found here.)

#7) – LindeGas

While this isn’t a news or magazine site I find myself using Linde’s website quite often when I am looking for specific facts about a certain refrigerant. For example, if I didn’t know the exact GWP of R-134a or the ASHRAE safety classification then I simply go to Google and type in, “Linde R-134a.” Bam, I get exactly what I needed. (Example of their R-134a page here.)

As you can see from the above link, this page gives you a break down of all applications 134a can be used for, GWP, Ozone depletion potential, oil requirements, and much more information. This is my go to site when looking for refrigerant specifics.

Honoralbe Mention – ACRJournal

My honorable mention here is the ACR Journal out of the United Kingdom. While I haven’t personally sourced from them I can say that after browsing their site they look to have some good articles. I did notice that they haven’t updated for a month or two, so you won’t get as much news from them as say a Cooling Post subscription but it may still be worth your time to look this site over.

Conclusion

Well folks, that’s my listing of top refrigerant sites for  2018. Now I know that I have missed some sites. It’s bound to happen. I’m hoping that if you run a site or if you know of a site that wasn’t included in this listing to please send the information my way. If I feel that it fits into this listing then I will edit the article and add your suggestion. The goal here is to provide a great and ever building list for everyone to source from.

Reader Recommendations:

Thanks for reading and I hope this list was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Not everyone has lost hope since the Environmental Protection Agency’s SNAP Rule 20 was overturned by a federal court last August. This SNAP Rule 20 was the EPA’s planned phase down and phase out of HFC refrigerants across the United States. This Rule had been the law of the land for nearly two years before this sudden court ruling put everything into a tailspin. Now, no one knows for sure what is going to happen.

There have been a series of appeals by Honeywell and Chemours, there have been bills introduced in the United States’ Senate, and there is talk about ratifying the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. All of this though is merely conjecture and so far none of them have proven to be a promising alternative. So far the appeals have failed, the Senate Bill is stalled and most likely won’t pass due to Trump and Republican controlled Houses, and Trump hasn’t indicated one way or the other if he will be pushing the Kigali Amendment for Senate ratification. The question now though is what happens next?

States to the Rescue?

With all of this uncertainty now coursing through the industry there are some states that have taken it upon themselves to enact their own rules and regulations. I’m a big States Rights guy in the first place and so I am hugely in favor of this. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will have more powers for regulations on refrigerants based on two new State Senate bills SB1383 and SB1013. (They were both introduced by State Senator Ricardo Lara.)The goal of both of these bills are to reduce the usage and consumption of the ‘Super Pollutants,’ known as HFC refrigerants. These include the ever so common refrigerants such as R-134a, R-404A, R-507A, R-410A, along with other HFCs.

For the most part both of these new bills actually mimic the Federal Government’s original EPA SNAP Rule 20 plan. There are slight changes here and there but the overall aim remains the same.  (The EPA SNAP Rule 20 fact sheet can be found by clicking here.) Under the SB 1383 California must reduce their HFC emissions by forty percent below 2013 levels by the year 2030. While this goal may seem a bit extreme it is worth noting that this goal is significantly less than the Kigali Amendment that is still in limbo. (Kigali wanted an eighty-five percent reduction by 2036.) This SB 1383 bill is the first step into reducing the usage, imports, and production of HFC refrigerants within California. An excerpt from the bill is below:

This bill would require the state board, no later than January 1, 2018, to approve and begin implementing that comprehensive strategy to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants to achieve a reduction in methane by 40%, hydrofluorocarbon gases by 40%, and anthropogenic black carbon by 50% below 2013 levels by 2030, as specified. The bill also would establish specified targets for reducing organic waste in landfills. – California Senate Bill 1383

This bill will be accomplished by stopping manufacturers from using HFC refrigerants in new machines and applications as well as retrofitting existing machines over to cleaner refrigerants. These applications where HFCs can no longer be used include supermarket refrigerators and freezers, food processing machines, self-contained refrigeration units, and vending machines. Like with most phase downs there is ample time for businesses and contractors to adapt to these changes. Remember, the deadline is 2030, so there are nearly twelve years for everyone to adapt.

Another rule, SB1013, restricts the use of HFC refrigerants in air conditioners and refrigerant applications. This bill gives CARB a few powers to wield. One of the most important of these powers is that it gives CARB the ability to grant incentives and benefits to businesses that move away from HFCs towards climate friendlier options like Hydrocarbons or HFOs. An excerpt from the bill is below:

This bill would establish the Fluorinated Gases Emission Reduction Incentive Program, to be administered by the state board, to promote the adoption of new refrigerant technologies to achieve short- and long-term climate benefits, energy efficiency, and other cobenefits, as specified. The bill would authorize moneys from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to be allocated for incentives offered as part of the program. – California Senate Bill 1013

Conclusion

Even though the rest of the country is still somewhat in a shroud of mystery on HFCs, California has taken their first step forward. With these two bills California has begun moving away from HFC refrigerants and towards the future of Hydrocarbons and HFOs. The good news is that many businesses have already begun planning for the phase down of HFCs so while the court’s ruling in August was a surprise I have a feeling that many companies were already prepared and are now just continuing on like the phase down is occurring anyways. HFCs are going away, it’s just a matter of time.

California has always been a trend setter and the first of many. The question now is will other States begin to follow suit? These changes may go the route that Net Neutrality went late last year. Even though the regulation was overturned by the FCC there have been many States that have begun adopting their own policies. As I said earlier, I am a big fan of State powers over Federal power and by having these States move forward with their own HFC laws we will achieve the same goal of phasing down HFCs across the country.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

When I first started writing articles about R-717 Ammonia being used in ice rinks and in industrial refrigeration I tried to keep an open mind. However, over the past year or so I have become less and less confident with R-717 systems. I try to make my articles unbiased and to show the Pros and Cons to both sides but this is proving more difficult with R-717. Maybe I need some of you to re-convince me to the benefits of this refrigerant but as of today I am very skeptical of it’s practical applications.

Ammonia has been used as a refrigerant for nearly ninety years. While the applications have varied over the years it has always been around. It is highly regarded as the most efficient refrigerant available due to it’s low boiling point. To give an example R-717’s boiling point is -28 degrees Fahrenheit. While R-22’s boiling point is -41.62 degrees Fahrenheit and R-410A’s boiling point is -55.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Compare R-717 and R-22 and that’s a forty-eight percent difference in boiling point. Along with that low boiling point you also get no Ozone depletion and a very low Global Warming Potential. I can see why this refrigerant is used but we have to be aware of the downsides. R-717 is toxic and is also slightly flammable. It is rated as a B2L from the ASHRAE group.

Greenwood, South Carolina

Today, March 25th, the Department of Health and Human Services is on the scene of an Ammonia leak in Greenwood, South Carolina. Upon finding the leak and determining how large it was a half-mile radius was evacuated for precaution. Local citizens were awoken by police alerts on their phone and at their door to evacuate the area at two this morning. Later that morning police and firefighters walked through the affected areas taking samples to ensure that the air quality had returned to normal. The all clear was given this morning as well. Luckily, this leak was handled correctly.

While the exact cause of the leak has not been released I did find that it came from a food processing plant known as Carolina Pride Foods. (Their website can be found by clicking here.) This plant is a meat processing and manufacturing center. In the past I have toured a few meat processing plants and just as anyone would assume, they need to be refrigerated as well as have a freezer section. Heck, it’s so cold there you have to wear jackets, mittens, and hoods just to walk around for any matter of time. Using R-717 as their main refrigerant logically makes sense due to the energy efficiency. (In fact you’ll see these used in most industrial applications like this.)

Luckily, with this leak in South Carolina there were no fatalities. However, this latest incident was very familiar to a leak at an ice rink that occurred in Canada towards the end of 2017. A leak occurred and a large radius was evacuated just like in today’s story. The difference though was that proper precautions were not taken in Canada and it resulted in three fatalities. This tragic event has caused a lot of business owners and contractors to reconsider using Ammonia in future applications. I wrote a story about this event that can be found by clicking here.

Conclusion

While today’s event ended well and with no injuries I still am quite skeptical on the reasonable application of R-717. If this stuff leaks, which all systems will at some point, then disaster can occur. Today Ammonia seems to have a monopoly on industrial refrigeration and a fair slice of the market on ice rinks especially over in the European Union. Here’s the thing though, even with it’s danger and risk to public safety the R-717 market isn’t expected to shrink over the next few years. In fact, just the opposite. With all of the pressure around the world to phase out or phase down Ozone depleting or high Global Warming Potential refrigerants the industry has only two options to turn two: HFO refrigerants from Chemours and Honeywell or Hydrocarbons such as Ammonia.

The question on my mind folks is when does saving the environment become more important then safety? Should we keep switching units over to Ammonia in an effort to reduce Global Warming, or should we begin switching to HFC alternatives until a more suitable refrigerant that provides low GWP and is non-toxic arrives into the market place?

I looked through Honeywell and Chemour’s website going over their Solstice and Opteon HFO lines but I did not see anything specifically referencing industrial applications. I’m wondering if the rush to find an alternative to R-717 is on the back burner because it doesn’t actually affect the climate whereas all of the other HFC refrigerants are affecting Global Warming. So, again, I feel like safety is taking a backseat to Global Warming.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

First and foremost let me state right now that the word ‘Freon’ is not a generic name for all refrigerants on the market today. In fact Freon refers to a specific type of refrigerant and is a specific brand of refrigerant. Confused? Well let me explain it this way. Using the name Freon to refer to all refrigerants is like using the term ‘Accord’ to refer to all cars. Obviously, there is a large difference between a Camry, Accord, and a Fusion. They are all different cars and all have different capabilities. It is important to realize that the same applies when it comes to refrigerants.

The term Freon is a registered brand name by the DuPont company and the Chemours company. The name was trademarked all the way back in the 1930’s when the first mainstream CFC refrigerant was invented. This refrigerant known as R-12 was the first ‘Freon’ refrigerant. That is also why the name stuck. It was the first major refrigerant used widely across the world. Because of this everyone referred to it as it’s brand name of Freon. Not much later another refrigerant was developed by DuPont known as R-22. The R-12 and R-22 refrigerants in tandem are responsible for the revolution of the refrigerant industry and were used in nearly every automobile and home air-conditioner for decades and decades.

Sometime in the 1980’s a problem was found with these CFC and HCFC refrigerants that had the Freon brand name. These refrigerants contained Chlorine and Chlorine was found to be damaging the Ozone layer in the Stratosphere. This Ozone layer is what protected us from the ultraviolet rays from the sun. Without it the world would heat up, we would be exposed to more radiation, along with a host of other problems. Because of the world’s demand for refrigeration a hole began to form in the Ozone layer. Scientists found this hole and sounded the alarm. Soon after a treaty was signed across the world announcing the ban of CFC and HCFC refrigerants. This included the Freon branded refrigerants known as R-12 and R-22.

The EPA’s Refrigerant Sales Restriction

In past years end users or do-it-yourselfers were not able to purchase R-22 or R-12 refrigerant due to the Environmental Protection Agency’s refrigerant sales restriction. This restriction stated that in order for you to legally purchase these types of refrigerants you would need to be either 608 or 609 certified with the EPA. The section 608 and section 609 clauses come from the Clean Air Act of 1990. The point of this regulation was to prevent people who did not know what they were doing from accessing and handling refrigerant that contained Chlorine. Remember now that Chlorine was a main contributor to the hole that formed in the Ozone layer.

This restriction was a nuisance to a lot of do-it-yourselfers but it wasn’t an all out deterrent. After all, most of the refrigerants used in today’s world are known as HFC refrigerants. These include your ever popular R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A. Users could buy these refrigerants without requiring a license. However, after January 1st, 2018 the EPA passed a new regulation stating that HFC refrigerants would now need a proof of section 608 or 609 certification in order to purchase. As I write this article in March of 2018 the country is still seeing the effects of this change. People who used to buy thirty pound cylinders of 134 at their local NAPA dealer are now being turned away due to them not being certified.

Please note that there is one exception here. If the user wants to purchase two pounds or less cans of refrigerant they still can without needing a certification number. So, instead of buying your thirty pound tank of 134a you now have to buy fifteen cans at a higher price. The good news though is that you can still buy it. Some of the other refrigerants out there don’t have the option to purchase in one our two pound cans.

All of this criteria above is dictated by the EPA. For more information on the refrigerant restriction rules please click here to be taken to the official EPA page.  If you are seriously considering purchasing refrigerant then please do you research, obtain the proper certification, and then continue on reading this article for a list of distributors and contacts. Click here to be taken to our official refrigerant licensing guide.

So, What Kind of Refrigerant Do You Need?

Alright, so you are looking to purchase Freon/Refrigerant. The question now is what kind of refrigerant do you need? Just like in the example I used above with the Honda Accord there are hundreds of different types of refrigerants on the market today. Now, I can give you some basic knowledge and form a hypothesis as to what refrigerant your unit is using but I can not know for sure. It is always best to be absolutely certain as to what kind of refrigerant you need. Most of the time you can find this information when looking over your air conditioning unit. If it’s a car then you can most likely find the information under the hood or in the instruction manual. If it is an outside traditional split system then there should be a sticker on your outside unit that displays a whole host of information about the product. Somewhere on this sticker you will see the refrigerant that is used.

Below is a short listing of what the most likely refrigerant that your unit is using:

  • 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.
  • Window Air Conditioners – Over the past few weeks I have done numerous articles and reserach on window air conditioners and throughout this research the most common refrigerant that I found used was R-410A.
  • 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.

How Much Are You Buying?

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

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

When To Buy

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

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

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

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

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

Where To Buy From?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weitron Inc – http://www.weitron.com/

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

Refrigerants Inc – http://refrigerantsinc.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chinese Product

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

Conclusion

Alright folks well I hope that after reading this article that I have accomplished two things for you. The first is that you now have a better understanding of what Freon is and how it differentiates from other refrigerants. The second point is that I hope that you feel more comfortable about purchasing refrigerant, how to purchase it, and where to go to receive quotes and other information.

I hope that this guide was helpful to you and thanks for reading!

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Good morning folks and welcome to RefrigerantHQ!  As I write this article it’s a nice cold March Sunday morning. Things haven’t begun to warm up yet for the upcoming refrigerant season but everyone knows that it is just around the corner. In fact April is really the beginning. It is the point where we begin to see maintenance calls start to come up and then slowly but surely as the days and weeks pass we inch closer and closer to summer and to those long, but profitable, days.

Something new this year that a lot of people may have overlooked is that HFC refrigerants such as R-134a, R-404A, R-410A are now subjected to the Environmental Protection Agency’s refrigerant sales restriction regulation. What that means folks is that you are no longer able to purchase these types of refrigerants unless you are section 608 or section 609 certified with the Environmental Protection Agency. For more on the refrigerant sales restriction please click here to be taken to the EPA’s official site.

While these restrictions are new to HFC refrigerants those of you who have been in the industry for a while know exactly what I am talking about. In the past CFC and HCFC refrigerants were subjected to the EPA’s refrigerant sales restriction as well. So, if you wanted to purchase one of these refrigerants you had to go through the training and the certification.

This change on HFC refrigerants caught a lot of the do-it-yourselfers off guard. A lot of the larger companies knew this was coming and had prepared for it by getting their techs and purchasers already 609 certified back in 2017. These garage mechanics and other do-it-yourselfers are now finding that they do not have a way to purchase thirty pound cylinders of 134a any longer.

It should be noted that there is an exception to these rules for the weekend warriors out there. People who are not certified to handle refrigerants can still purchase two pounds or less canisters at their local stores. So, if I needed to recharge my Camry then all I would need to do is go to my local parts store or Amazon.com and purchase a few cans of R-134a. This can be done without a license. So, there is hope!

However, if you are confident that you need a license or certification then keep on reading folks and I will do my best to guide you along the process.

Section 609 Certification

Section 609 is in fact the easier license to get on refrigerants. 609 deals strictly with the automotive side and covers refrigerants such as R-12 and R-134a. So, if you are a mechanic or an at home repair guy then 609 is what you will need. Today there are more than one million people certified under this section 609. There are a few ways for you or your employees to become certified with the Environmental Protection Agency. Some of these options are listed below:

  • A licensed 609 certification trainer comes to your place of employment, puts on a class, and then hands out testing to each attendant. After the tests are completed they will then be mailed to MACS Worldwide to be graded. If passed you will then receive your license through the mail. In my experience these work great as a ‘lunch and learn.’ Cater in a lunch, bring in a trainer, and get your staff qualified in just an hour.
    • A 609 trainer can either be from an outside party like a vendor/salesmen or it could be a designated person at your company. I have seen both. A good trainer will go over all of the details and help attendees with questions that they are unsure of. Ideally, most everyone should pass this test.
  • The other option is to go directly through MACS Worldwide. MACS is the primary provider and manager of 609 tests and license granting. They started their program only a few years after the 609 rules were introduced back in 1990. Ever since 1992 MACS has been the leader in granting 609 tests and certifications. Review the links below to read up a bit more about them, order a study book, and even order a test.
  • Please note that for each of these scenarios it will take twenty dollars per person in order to take a test.

Section 608 Certification

608 is where things get a little bit more complicated and where the ‘meat and potatoes,’ of air conditioning is. If you’re going to be working on anything other than vehicles than you need your 608. 608 comes in four different types of EPA level certification and each one contains it’s own specialized section.

  • Core Test – The core test is necessary for all technicians to take rather you are going for sections 1, 2, or 3.
  • Type 1 608 Certification – This covers small appliances that are manufactured, charged, and hermetically sealed with five pounds or less of refrigerants.
  • Type 2 608 Certification – This covers high pressure and very high pressure appliances. Some example high pressure refrigerants are as follows: R-12, R-22, R-114, R-500, and R-502. Also note that this type 2 certification will allow you to legally purchase and handle R-410A refrigerant.
  • Type 3 608 Certification – This covers low pressure appliances with some example refrigerants being R-11, R-113, and R-123.
  • Universal Certification – Just as it sounds a universal certification can be obtained by passing certification for all types 1, 2, and 3. If you are going to be working in the industry then I would suggest going for the universal and just to cover your bases. The worst thing that can happen is having to turn down a job because you are not certified to handle that type of refrigerant.

Unlike 609 the 608 certification is much harder to achieve. Unfortunately, most 608 certifications have to be taken in person at a certified training facility. These training facilities can be a third party company, your trade school or college, or your employer. Depending on how large your employer is they may put on their own 608 training courses. It should be noted that you are able to take the type 1 section 608 certification online. Click this link to learn more.

If you are looking to achieve a higher level 608 certification and am not quite sure where to go then I would suggest a few things. Contact your employer first to see if you can get free training and certification. If they do not offer that then check with your local trade schools. Lastly, if you are still not finding a provider then check out this link to the EPA’s website for featured training areas.  

Lastly, check out this resource for a free 608 practice test. This should definitely help you out and get you prepared for the real thing!

Intent to Resale

There is one more option for users to purchase refrigerants without having a certification license. While this won’t help the at home mechanics it will help those of you who are purchasers or resalers. If you are purchasing refrigerant from a wholesaler you can provide them with a formal letter stating that you are intending to resale the product and that you or your company will not be using the refrigerant. According to the EPA’s website“(The) EPA recommends that wholesalers obtain a signed statement from the purchaser indicating that he or she is purchasing the refrigerant only for eventual resale to certified technicians.” This covers you as a purchaser and also covers the seller. Once this is bought please be aware though that it will be up to you or your company to track all of the refrigerant sales.

Conclusion

Well folks, that about covers it for refrigerant licensing. I hope that this guide was able to answer your questions on what license to get, how to get it, and where to get it. I have a feeling most of you will be looking at that 609 certification over the 608. Either way though, when you are dealing with refrigerant remember to be safe and to be certified!

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Greetings ladies and gentlemen and welcome to RefrigerantHQ! Today we will be doing another one of our product reviews. Over the past few weeks our sole focus has been on everything window air conditioners and I can assure you that today is no different. The featured product for today is Koldfront’s WAC12001W 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner.

Depending on where you are in the country window air conditioners could be an unnecessary tool or it could be a lifesaver. Our climate is so different depending on the state. For me, a Kansas resident, air conditioning is a must. We routinely have summer days that break over one-hundred degrees. On particular bad weeks we may have an entire five to seven day spread of straight one-hundred degrees temperatures. The majority of people cope with this heat by using their traditional split air conditioner system at their home. But how do the people who have older homes without central air or people who live in apartments with no air conditioners cope? Well folks their best option is window air conditioners. They provide a cheaper alternative and an easy installation to allow all of us no matter where you are to enjoy the nice cool air during a hot summer day.

But the question now is what window air conditioners are the best? Should you get the Koldfront WAC12001W 12,000 BTU unit? Or, should you be looking at a different product? A different size? Or even a different brand? Well folks, let’s dive in and find out exactly what you need!

KoldFront

Now before I get into the actual details, Pros, and Cons of a product I always like to take some time and look at the company behind the product. After all, the manufacturing company can say a lot about the quality of the product. Brand names have power. Don’t believe me? Just ask Coca-Cola or Toyota. These names mean something to people when they hear them. While a window air conditioner bran d may not mean anything to you I can assure you that the same differences can apply.

Koldfront WAC12001W 12,000 BTU
Koldfront WAC12001W 12,000 BTU

The Koldfront name is a brand from the Livingdirect company. (Think of it like how Pepsi owns the Mountain Dew brand name.) Koldfront was originally founded back in 1999 by Rick Lundbom. While that may not sound like a lot of years of experience Rick and his company have made it their mission to provide new and innovative appliances and have not relented over the yeras. Think about this for a second: Koldfront is competing with the names out there such as Frigidaire and General Electric. Two gigantic companies that have been around for over one-hundred years but yet Koldfront has thrived and grown since their 1999 beginning. That says a lot about the company right there.

While their brand name can be found on portable dishwashers, wine coolers, and other appliances their main focus and drive are window, wall, and portable air conditioners. With a Koldfront air conditioner you can count on three key factors: High-quality craftsman ship, affordability, and durability.

Product Features

The Koldfront WAC12001W  is rated at 12,000 BTUs. 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. In this case 12,000 BTUs is rated to cool around five-hundred and fifty square feet. That could be the size of a large master bedroom, a living room, or a small apartment. 

The Koldfront WAC12001W comes with a two-hundred and twenty volt outlet. Please, please, please be aware of this! If you have a two-hundred and twenty volt outlet you have in mind then it is no big deal but I have seen so many homeowners buy one of these units only to realize that they only have one-hundred and fifteen volt outlets available.

This window air conditioner will fit windows between twenty-six inches up to thirty-six inches in width. While the height doesn’t really matter as most windows are taller than the air conditioner this unit comes in at sixteen and a half inches. Please be sure to measure your window before purchasing so you don’t accidentally buy the wrong sized product. It also comes with side curtains and insulation strips to prevent any leaks or air from coming in from outside. It does not come with an outside mounting bracket that I could find. I would recommend purchasing an extra support bracket just in case. This unit weighs in at eighty-eight pounds and I would hate to have it fall out your window and damage or ruin the unit.

This unit uses the HFC R-410A for it’s refrigerant. This is a VERY common refrigerant that is found in most offices and homes across the country. If you do need a repair down the road you don’t have to worry about finding or paying an arm and a leg for a refrigerant refill.

The  WAC12001W comes with a 11,000 BTU heater as well as the 12,000 BTU window air conditioner. This is a big deal as you are getting a unit that will keep your room cooled year round and not just in the summer. (Please note that this heater has lower BTUs then the air conditioning side and will not heat as large of a space as it cools.) Along with the heater you also get an energy saver mode, fan speed control, and a twenty-four hour timer.

Pros

The most satisfying part about this Koldfront unit is the price point. As I write this the price on Amazon is in the four-hundred dollar range. (Prices are subject to change at any time.) That is quite the bargain especially when you look at other 12,000 BTU units on the marketplace today. Remember folks that you also get that 11,000 BTU electric heater along with your air conditioner. That’s quite the bargain!

The WAC12001W comes with basic settings such as sleep mode, twenty four hour on/off timer, a remote control that comes with two triple a batteries, varying fan speeds, and cool/energy saver/fan only cooling modes. While most of these modes and options are pretty standard I am going to point again to the price point on this unit. For a 12,000 BTU with these features at this price you are saving a lot of money while getting all the standard features.

The last Pro I’ll mention on this Koldfront unit is that it comes with a two year manufacturer warranty.  This is a great insurance policy if for whatever reason your new unit doesn’t last the year. There are always outliers out there and having this warranty to back you up ensures you that your investment is protected. (Also, for those of you who do not know this is a full extra year when comparing to Frigidaire’s one year warranty.)

Cons

As far as the Cons on this Koldfront window unit there really aren’t that much to go through. There are few main things that I want to make you aware of before you purchase. A lot of these are ‘bad luck’ type of situations but I would be amiss if I didn’t make you aware:

Koldfront WAC12001W Energy Saver
Koldfront WAC12001W Energy Saver
  • This is an 12,000 BTU window air conditioner. I mentioned this above in our product features section but you should be aware that this unit is rated to cool a five-hundred and fifty square foot room. If your room is bigger or smaller than that then you should look at getting a different sized BTU unit. If you are unsure of what size unit you need please check out our window air conditioner buyer’s guide which can be found by clicking here.
  • When buying things online there is always risk of damage from the transport carrier. This is moreso when you are dealing with a machine with a lot of moving parts like an air conditioner. While most people who order this item receive it in fine condition there is still the risk of the unit arriving to your home damaged. If this does happen then I would recommend filing a complaint with Amazon on your order. If you aren’t having any luck in that avenue then you could file a claim on Koldfront’s website under their two year warranty.
  • The last complaint that I have found in my research is that through usage and the passage of time the fan can become loosened and begin rubbing up against other components of the unit. While this isn’t a big deal mechanically it does result in a larger noise when the air conditioner is running. So, if this happens to you you may have a noisy unit to contend with. While this may not matter during the day it may make it difficult to sleep with if the WAC12001W is in your bedroom.

Something else to take into consideration when it comes to air conditioners is if they are Energy Star Certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. When a product is Energy Star Certified it means that that product has met strict energy efficiency guidelines set fort by the US EPA. A Energy Star certified unit will have higher seasonal energy efficiency ratios as well as having improved energy efficiency ratios. In order to meet Energy Star certification the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) on a unit should be at 10.0 or higher. The WAC12001W is NOT Energy Star Certified with the EPA. I’m not sure why that is since it is a full 0.9 EER above the threshold but I figured I would let you know anyways.

Conclusion

Overall I would say that if you are looking for a new window unit that will cool your living room, master bedroom, or small apartment then this would be a great fit for you. It comes with all of your standard features you would need on an air conditioner as well as coming in at a great low price point. If you would like to purchase or learn more about this unit then please click here to be taken to Amazon’s product page.

If you find that your room is too big or too small for this unit then I would recommend checking out our official RefrigerantHQ Window Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

What Is It?

Before we get into what window air conditioners are and how they work let me take a moment and paint a picture for you. Let’s say it’s August you are in Oklahoma. The outside temperature is one-hundred and four degrees. Nobody dares go outside unless they are working or going to the pool. The moment you step outside the heat hits you like a furnace. While most people are hunkered down in their homes with their central air conditioners running you find yourself in a one-hundred year old farm house. Sure, you got the house for a great deal and it’s pretty up to date. There’s just one thing missing. There is no central air conditioning. You have no ducts in between your walls. You have no vents to route the air. You have nothing. All you can do is plug in a couple of fans and hope that you can survive the summer’s excruciating heat.

Frigidaire ffre1533s1 15,000 BTU

Well my friends, this is where window air conditioners come in to save the day. Window air conditioners work exactly the same way as a standard split system air conditioner. The only difference is that they are much much smaller and are able to be mounted to any window in your home. I won’t get into all of the details on exactly HOW an air conditioner works in this article, but if you are curious please click this article to be taken into my ‘how does it work,’ guide.

Window air conditioners are an amazing invention. They give the guy who is stuck in that farmhouse in the dead of summer an option. The installation is easy as well. On most units you can get away with securing it to your window, pulling the curtains out, and locking it in place. All in all it may take ten to fifteen minutes for a summer of cool air. Some of the larger window units will require mounting brackets to be put on the outside of your home. This is to ensure that your unit stays in place and doesn’t accidentally fall out the window and slam into the ground.

Speaking of sizes there are dozens of varying sizes on window units. The sizes are measured by British Thermal Units, or BTUs. 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. You can get a unit as small as 5,000 BTUs or some as large as 30,000 BTUs. If you are unsure exactly what size of air conditioner you will need please click here to check out our window air conditioner buyer’s guide. This guide will go into each size and what sized rooms they are rated for.

Rather you are in an old farmhouse like our first example or you are in a high rise in Miami that has no air conditioning a window air conditioner will provide you with the comfort and relief to help you get through the summer. Some people just buy one of these for their bedroom so that they have a nice cool place to sleep. While others will buy two or even three units to have installed through out their home. So, the next time you suffer through a summer without air conditioning remember that there is a cheap and relatively easy alternative out there called window air conditioners.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Greetings ladies and gentlemen and welcome to RefrigerantHQ! Today we will be doing another one of our product reviews. Over the past few weeks our sole focus has been on everything window air conditioners and I can assure you that today is no different. The featured product for today is Frigidaire’s FFRE1533S1 15,100 BTU window air conditioner.

Depending on where you are in the country window air conditioners could be an unnecessary tool or it could be a lifesaver. Our climate is so different depending on the state. For me, a Kansas resident, air conditioning is a must. We routinely have summer days that break over one-hundred degrees. On particular bad weeks we may have an entire five to seven day spread of straight one-hundred degrees temperatures. The majority of people cope with this heat by using their traditional split air conditioner system at their home. But how do the people who have older homes without central air or people who live in apartments with no air conditioners cope? Well folks their best option is window air conditioners. They provide a cheaper alternative and an easy installation to allow all of us no matter where you are to enjoy the nice cool air during a hot summer day.

But the question now is what window air conditioners are the best? Should you get the Frigidaire FFRE1533S1  15,100 BTU unit? Or, should you be looking at a different product? A different size? Or even a different brand? Well folks, let’s dive in and find out exactly what you need!

Frigidaire

Now before I get into the actual details, Pros, and Cons of a product I always like to take some time and look at the company behind the product. After all, the manufacturing company can say a lot about the quality of the product. Brand names have power. Don’t believe me? Just ask Coca-Cola or Toyota.

The Frigidaire company was my runner up for best brands in window air conditioners. If you haven’t heard of the company Frigidaire before I have to ask where have you been? You’ll see this brand name all over your house. I don’t care if it’s on your refrigerator, your dishwasher, or your laundry machine. These guys are into every home appliance you can imagine.

The Frigidaire company knows exactly what they are doing with air conditioners and refrigeration units and have been around for over one-hundred years. Frigidaire was a pioneer in the refrigeration and cooling industry. They invented and began commercially selling the first self-contained refrigerator all the way back in 1916. Think about that for a moment. Over one-hundred years ago and Frigidaire was around and selling refrigerators. In fact one of their principal investors was William Durant, a founder of General Motors. GM went on to develop the first ‘Freon’ refrigerant in the 1930s while they were partnered with DuPont. This company has a solid history in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry. I can assure you that you are getting a great product when you purchase under the Frigidaire brand name.

Product Features

The Frigidaire FFRE1533S1  is rated at 15,100 BTUs. 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. In this case 15,100 BTUs is rated to cool around eight-hundred square feet. That could be the size of a large master bedroom, a living room/kitchen, or a full sized apartment. This unit is also rated to dehumidify at 3.8 pints per hour.

Frigidaire ffre1533s1 15,000 BTU
Frigidaire ffre1533s1 15,000 BTU

This unit comes with a one-hundred and fifteen volt plug in. While this may seem like an odd thing to mention it is worth noting that larger BTU window units make as witch over to a two-hundred and twenty volt outlet. These types of outlets are the ones you find in your home for your oven or your dryer. With this one-hundred and fifteen volt outlet you are good to plug it in in any room without worry. The power cord on the FFRE1533S1 extends to six feet. That should be more than enough space to reach the nearest outlet, but worst case you can always use an extension cord.

This window air conditioner will fit windows between twenty-eight inches up to forty and a half inches in width. While the height doesn’t really matter as most windows are taller than the air conditioner this unit comes in at eighteen and a half inches. Please be sure to measure your window before purchasing so you don’t accidentally buy the wrong sized product. It also comes with side curtains and insulation strips to prevent any leaks or air from coming in from outside. It does come with an outside mounting kit known as a ‘Pleated Quick Mount.’ (Excerpt from Frigidaire’s official website.) Please note that this unit weighs in at one-hundred and two pounds. You will most likely need assistance when installing.

This unit uses the HFC R-410A for it’s refrigerant. This is a VERY common refrigerant that is found in most offices and homes across the country. If you do need a repair down the road you don’t have to worry about finding or paying an arm and a leg for a refrigerant refill.

The  FFRE1533S1 comes with a cool and economy mode. The cool mode does just that, it cools the room to your desired temperature. The economy or ‘econ’ mode will cool your room to the desired temperature and then turn on again when the temperature begins to rise. This is a great feature to have for those of us who go to work during the day and want to come home to a nice cooled room.

Pros

The most satisfying part about this Frigidaire unit is the price point. As I write this the price on Amazon is in the four-hundred dollar range. (Prices are subject to change at any time.) That is quite the bargain especially when you look at other 15,000 BTU units on the marketplace today. You also get the Frigidaire brand name that has a century of reputation behind it.

Frigidaire ffre1533s1 Energy Guide
Frigidaire ffre1533s1 Energy Guide

Something else to take into consideration when it comes to air conditioners is if they are Energy Star Certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. When a product is Energy Star Certified it means that that product has met strict energy efficiency guidelines set fort by the US EPA. A Energy Star certified unit will have higher seasonal energy efficiency ratios as well as having improved energy efficiency ratios. The FFRE1533S1 is Energy Star Certified with the EPA. On top of that it is also rated at 11.8 for it’s Energy Star Efficiency ratio. In order to meet the Energy Star requirements a unit must be rated at 10.0 EER or higher. This unit is at 11.8 and is exceeding expectations. Lastly, this unit’s Energy Guide estimated cost is set at one-hundred and fifteen dollars a year. That’s pretty cheap for a year round window unit.

The FFRE1533S1 comes with basic settings such as sleep mode, twenty four hour on/off timer, a remote control that comes with two triple a batteries, varying fan speeds, and cool/econ/fan only cooling modes. While most of these modes and options are pretty standard I am going to point again to the price point on this unit. For an 15,000 BTU with these features at this price you are saving a lot of money while getting all the standard features.

The last Pro I’ll mention on this Frigidaire unit is that it comes with a one year manufacturer warranty.  This is a great insurance policy if for whatever reason your new unit doesn’t last the year. There are always outliers out there and having this warranty to back you up ensures you that your investment is protected.

Cons

As far as the Cons on this Frigidaire window unit there really aren’t that much to go through. There are few main things that I want to make you aware of before you purchase. A lot of these are ‘bad luck’ type of situations but I would be amiss if I didn’t make you aware:

  • First and foremost please know and realize that this unit is BIG at over one-hundred pounds and you will need a few people to help you install it. While it does come with a support bracket you may want to purchase one of your own separately just in case. Also, please be sure to measure and measure your window again and again to ensure that this unit will fit correctly. The other option is to cut a hole out in your external wall and have the unit mounted that way.
  • This is an 15,100 BTU window air conditioner. I mentioned this above in our product features section but you should be aware that this unit is rated to cool a eight-hundred square foot room. If your room is bigger or smaller than that then you should look at getting a larger or smaller BTU unit. If you are unsure of what sized unit you need please check out our window air conditioner buyer’s guide which can be found by clicking here.
  • When buying things online there is always risk of damage from the transport carrier. This is moreso when you are dealing with a machine with a lot of moving parts like an air conditioner. While most people who order this item receive it in fine condition there is still the risk of the unit arriving to your home damaged. If this does happen then I would recommend filing a complaint with Amazon on your order. If you aren’t having any luck in that avenue then you could file a claim on Frigidaire’s website under their one year warranty.
  • The last complaint that I have found in my research is that through usage and the passage of time the fan can become loosened and begin rubbing up against other components of the unit. While this isn’t a big deal mechanically it does result in a larger noise when the air conditioner is running. So, if this happens to you you may have a noisy unit to contend with. While this may not matter during the day it may make it difficult to sleep with if the FFRE1533S1 is in your bedroom.

Conclusion

Overall, I would say that the Frigidaire FFRE1533S1 is a definite buy if you are looking for a price point air conditioner to cool your apartment or living room/kitchen. The reviews on Amazon.com are overwhelmingly positive and as I said above the only negative complaints that I could find throughout my research was related to shipping of the product. If you are interested in purchasing this unit please click here to visit Amazon.com’s product page.

If you find that your room is too big or too small for this unit then I would recommend checking out our official RefrigerantHQ Window Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

Hello folks and welcome to RefrigerantHQ! Today we will be focusing on another one of our product reviews. If you haven’t noticed by now the past few weeks our focus has been on window air conditioners. Today is no different. Our featured product is Frigidaire’s FFRE1233S1 12,000 BTU window air conditioner.

Depending on where you are in the world window air conditioners can be an unnecessary tool or a life saver. If you are like me and live in the mid-west then you know that the summer’s heat can be excruciating especially if you don’t have air conditioning. Window air conditioners provide all sorts of people an option for a cool home or bedroom even if their house isn’t routed for a central air conditioning system or if they are short on cash and can only afford to spend a few hundred dollars instead of the thousands it takes to install a new split system.

But what window air conditioners are the best? Is the Frigidaire FFRE1233S1 the right unit for you? Or, should you be looking at a different unit, a different size, or even a different brand? Well folks, let’s dive in and find out!

Frigidaire

Now before I get into the actual details, Pros, and Cons of a product I always like to take some time and look at the company behind the product. After all, the manufacturing company can say a lot about the quality of the product. Brand names have power. Don’t believe me? Just ask Coca-Cola or Toyota.

Frigidaire FFRE1233S1 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner
Frigidaire FFRE1233S1 12,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner

The Frigidaire company was my runner up for best brands in window air conditioners. If you haven’t heard of the company Frigidaire before I have to ask where have you been? You’ll see this brand name all over your house. I don’t care if it’s on your refrigerator, your dishwasher, or your laundry machine. These guys are into every home appliance you can imagine.

The Frigidaire company knows exactly what they are doing with air conditioners and refrigeration units and have been around for over one-hundred years. Frigidaire was a pioneer in the refrigeration and cooling industry. They invented and began commercially selling the first self-contained refrigerator all the way back in 1916. Think about that for a moment. Over one-hundred years ago and Frigidaire was around and selling refrigerators. In fact one of their principal investors was William Durant, a founder of General Motors. GM went on to develop the first ‘Freon’ refrigerant in the 1930s while they were partnered with DuPont. This company has a solid history in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry. I can assure you that you are getting a great product when you purchase under the Frigidaire brand name.

Product Features

The Frigidaire FFRE1233S1  is rated at 12,000 BTUs. 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. In this case 12,000 BTUs is rated to cool around five-hundred and fifty square feet. That could be the size of a large master bedroom, a living room, or a small apartment. This unit is also rated to dehumidify at 3.8 pints per hour.

This unit comes with a one-hundred and fifteen volt plug in. While this may seem like an odd thing to mention it is worth noting that larger BTU window units make as witch over to a two-hundred and twenty volt outlet. These types of outlets are the ones you find in your home for your oven or your dryer. With this one-hundred and fifteen volt outlet you are good to plug it in in any room without worry. The power cord on the FFRE1233S1 extends to six and a half feet. That should be more than enough space to reach the nearest outlet, but worst case you can always use an extension cord.

This window air conditioner will fit windows between twenty-three inches up to thirty-six inches in width. While the height doesn’t really matter as most windows are taller than the air conditioner this unit comes in at fifteen and a half inches. Please be sure to measure your window before purchasing so you don’t accidentally buy the wrong sized product. It also comes with side curtains and insulation strips to prevent any leaks or air from coming in from outside. It does not come with an outside mounting bracket but it is not needed as the unit only comes in at seventy pounds.

This unit uses the HFC R-410A for it’s refrigerant. This is a VERY common refrigerant that is found in most offices and homes across the country. If you do need a repair down the road you don’t have to worry about finding or paying an arm and a leg for a refrigerant refill.

The  FFRE1233S1 comes with a cool and economy mode. The cool mode does just that, it cools the room to your desired temperature. The economy or ‘econ’ mode will cool your room to the desired temperature and then turn on again when the temperature begins to rise. This is a great feature to have for those of us who go to work during the day and want to come home to a nice cooled room.

Pros

The most satisfying part about this Frigidaire unit is the price point. As I write this the price on Amazon is in the four-hundred dollar range. (Prices are subject to change at any time.) That is quite the bargain especially when you look at other 12,000 BTU units on the marketplace today. You also get the Frigidaire brand name that has a century of reputation behind it for a great a price.

Something else to take into consideration when it comes to air conditioners is if they are Energy Star Certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. When a product is Energy Star Certified it means that that product has met strict energy efficiency guidelines set fort by the US EPA. A Energy Star certified unit will have higher seasonal energy efficiency ratios as well as having improved energy efficiency ratios. The FFRE1233S1 is Energy Star Certified with the EPA. In order to meet Energy Star certification the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) on a unit should be at 10.0 or higher. This Frigidaire unit has an EER at 12.0. That’s a full two points higher than the required amount. On top of that you the estimated annual energy cost on this unit is only eight-three dollars. That’s not a bad price at all to pay for a cool apartment during the summer.

The FFRE1233S1 comes with basic settings such as sleep mode, twenty four hour on/off timer, a remote control that comes with two triple a batteries, varying fan speeds, and cool/econ/fan only cooling modes. While most of these modes and options are pretty standard I am going to point again to the price point on this unit. For a 12,000 BTU with these features at this price you are saving a lot of money while getting all the standard features.

The last Pro I’ll mention on this Frigidaire unit is that it comes with a one year manufacturer warranty.  This is a great insurance policy if for whatever reason your new unit doesn’t last the year. There are always outliers out there and having this warranty to back you up ensures you that your investment is protected.

Frigidaire FFRE1233S1 Energy Guide
Frigidaire FFRE1233S1 Energy Guide

Cons

As far as the Cons on this Frigidaire window unit there really aren’t that much to go through. There are few main things that I want to make you aware of before you purchase. A lot of these are ‘bad luck’ type of situations but I would be amiss if I didn’t make you aware:

  • This is an 12,000 BTU window air conditioner. I mentioned this above in our product features section but you should be aware that this unit is rated to cool a five-hundred and fifty square foot room. If your room is bigger or smaller than that then you should look at getting a different sized BTU unit. If you are unsure of what size unit you need please check out our window air conditioner buyer’s guide which can be found by clicking here.
  • When buying things online there is always risk of damage from the transport carrier. This is moreso when you are dealing with a machine with a lot of moving parts like an air conditioner. While most people who order this item receive it in fine condition there is still the risk of the unit arriving to your home damaged. If this does happen then I would recommend filing a complaint with Amazon on your order. If you aren’t having any luck in that avenue then you could file a claim on Frigidaire’s website under their one year warranty.
  • The last complaint that I have found in my research is that through usage and the passage of time the fan can become loosened and begin rubbing up against other components of the unit. While this isn’t a big deal mechanically it does result in a larger noise when the air conditioner is running. So, if this happens to you you may have a noisy unit to contend with. While this may not matter during the day it may make it difficult to sleep with if the FFRE1233S1 is in your bedroom.

Conclusion

Overall I would say that if you are looking for a new window unit that will cool your living room, master bedroom, or small apartment then this would be a great fit for you. It comes with all of your standard features you would need on an air conditioner as well as coming in at a great low price point. If you would like to purchase or learn more about this unit then please click here to be taken to Amazon’s product page.

If you find that your room is too big or too small for this unit then I would recommend checking out our official RefrigerantHQ Window Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

 

Honeywell Solstice Branded Refrigerant Line

Here’s something that a lot of us just don’t think about. Believe it or not our grocery stores and supermarkets that we visit once a week or so are some of the most energy intensive commercial buildings in the country. Why is that you may ask? Well folks it all boils down to refrigeration. (No pun intended on the boils!)

Seriously though, think about all of refrigerated and freezer units lining aisle after aisle. Now imagine how much power it takes to run all of those. Some reports put it at fifty percent of a store’s total power usage is dedicated to keeping food cold. That has to be quite the hefty bill to pay each month. I would imagine that store managers or owners are always looking for ways to shrink monthly expenses. But what options are out there? Well folks Honeywell has a fairly new alternative refrigerant under their Solstice brand name known as N40.

Honeywell’s Solstice N40

N40, also known under it’s refrigerant name R-448A, is a Zeotropic HydroFluroOlefin blend. It was designed to serve as a replacement to supermarket refrigerators and freezers that are currently using R-404A or other R-22 in medium or lower temperature applications. It is listed as an approved refrigerant in the Significant New Alternatives Policy from the EPA. (Source from the EPA’s website.)

The energy savings on switching from R-404A over to R-448A range between five to sixteen percent. Let’s think about that for a second. These supermarket freezers have to run twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. Going back to that monthly power bill and putting myself in a manager’s shoes I would gladly take a savings of ten percent of my power bill. I’ve read some figures that state an average supermarket can easily spend two-hundred thousand dollars on power per year. Ten percent of that back is an easy twenty-thousand dollars to reinvest into the business instead of throwing it to the power company.

It’s not all about energy savings though folks. A big part of this switch to a new refrigerant has to deal with Global Warming Potential, or GWP. GWP is a measurement of how much heat a greenhouse gas can trap in the atmosphere. The zero based scale of this is Carbon Dioxide or CO2. CO2 has a GWP of 1. If we look at R-404A we find a GWP number of 3,922. That means that R-404A has 3,922 times the GWP of Carbon Dioxide. That is a huge number and puts R-404A as the ‘king’ of GWP numbers. This combined with the energy savings is why there has been a big push to switch over to a lesser GWP alternative. Honeywell’s Solstice N40 refrigerant has a GWP of 1,273. While this number isn’t fantastically low it is sixty-eight percent lower than R-404A. So, while it’s not a fix all it does help immensely with the GWP problem of R-404A.

Along with energy savings and lower GWP the N40, or R-448A, refrigerant offers a few more benefits when comparing to R-404A:

  • This falls in line with energy savings but N40 is an average eight percent more more efficient than R-404A.
  • The flammability rating on Solstice N40 is rated at A1. That means it is NOT flammable. For more information on refrigerant toxicity and flammability classifications please click here.
  • This is one that we haven’t mentioned yet. With N40 the actual capacity, or amount of space that is cooled, goes up by an average of seven and a half percent. So, you get to cool more area for less the cost.
  • The retrofit process going from R-404A over to R-448A is rather simple. Honeywell’s official retrofit document can be found by clicking here.

Who’s Using It?

So, who is using this new refrigerant? Like with most new refrigerants the European Union has taken the first leap forward. Going all the way back to 2013 we can look at the ASDA supermarket chain out of the United Kingdom. They began using N40 and haven’t looked back. They have seen the energy savings in real life examples and at the same time have lowered their environmental impact. Sticking in the European Union we can look at the company Precision Refrigeration. These guys are a manufacturer of catering and restaurant equipment. They have recently selected R-448A as a replacement for R-404A. Again, with the EU, the Tewis supermarket chain out of Spain carried out a full conversion of their systems from R-404A over to Solstice N40 nearly four years ago back in November of 2014. Another Spanish supermarket chain known as Eroski went through a remodel in April of 2015 and during their remodel they switched their units from 404A over to R-448A.

But hey, don’t think it’s all Europe having the fun with this new HFO refrigerant. A super market chain out of Wisconsin named Festival Foods launched a new location back in 2016 that is using R-448A based equipment. What’s unique about this store is that it was the first super market that was built specifically catering towards the Solstice N40 refrigerant. Previous applications have been conversions or retrofits, but this was the first truly new building geared for N40. There are further plans to convert the other twenty Festival Food stores over to Solstice refrigerants as well.

Lastly, we can’t leave out Asia from this mass conversion away from R-404A. Just a few days ago it was announced that the South Korean supermarket chain called Lotte Mart would be converting and adding new R-448A/N40 machines to their stores. They expect to see an eight percent energy savings by the year 2025 along with three percent less energy consumption. I didn’t even come close to touching all of the companies out there that have converted or are in process of converting. One thing is certain: The reign of R-404A is quickly coming to an end.

Conclusion

There’s a war going on back and forth between these newer HydroFluroOlefin refrigerants and the tried and true Hydrocarbons or Natural Refrigerants. It seems everyday I’ll see a news article stating that XYZ company has converted their machines over to HFOs but then the very next day I’ll see another article saying that a different company has just moved to R-290 or CO2.

It’s hard to say what side is going to win or if any side is going to win at all. Who knows? Maybe we’ll have a fifty percent split market between Hydrocarbons and HFOs. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of the natural refrigerants just because they’ve been around for decades and we are all familiar with them. Introducing more and more new refrigerants I feel is only going to muddy the water.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

 

Frigidaire FFRA1022R1 10000 BTU

Hello folks and welcome to RefrigerantHQ! Today we will be taking the time to do one of our product reviews. Over the past week or so we have been putting a lot of attention on window air conditioners and today is no different. Today’s featured product is Frigidaire’s FFRA1022R1 10,000 BTU window air conditioning unit.

Window air conditioners can be a lifesaver, especially in homes or apartments where a traditional split level air conditioner isn’t an option. But, what kind of product should you get? Is the FFRA1022R1  the right machine for you, or should be you looking elsewhere? Well folks, let’s dive in and find out!

Frigidaire

Now before I get into the actual details, Pros, and Cons of a product I always like to take some time and look at the company behind the product. After all, the manufacturing company can say a lot about the quality of the product. Brand names have power. Don’t believe me? Just ask Coca-Cola or Toyota.

The Frigidaire company was my runner up for best brands in window air conditioners. If you haven’t heard of the company Frigidaire before I have to ask where have you been? You’ll see this brand name all over your house. I don’t care if it’s on your refrigerator, your dishwasher, or your laundry machine. These guys are into every home appliance you can imagine.

Frigidaire FFRA1022R1 10000 BTU
Frigidaire FFRA1022R1 10000 BTU

The Frigidaire company knows exactly what they are doing with air conditioners and refrigeration units and have been around for over one-hundred years. Frigidaire was a pioneer in the refrigeration and cooling industry. They invented and began commercially selling the first self-contained refrigerator all the way back in 1916. Think about that for a moment. Over one-hundred years ago and Frigidaire was around and selling refrigerators. In fact one of their principal investors was William Durant, a founder of General Motors. GM went on to develop the first ‘Freon’ refrigerant in the 1930s while they were partnered with DuPont. This company has a solid history in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry. I can assure you that you are getting a great product when you purchase under the Frigidaire brand name.

Product Features

The Frigidaire FFRA1022R1 is rated at 10,000 BTUs. 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. In this case 10,000 BTUs is rated to cool around four-hundred and fifty square feet. That could be the size of a large master bedroom, a living room, or a small studio apartment. This unit is also rated to dehumidify at 2.7 pints per hour.

This unit comes with a one-hundred and fifteen volt plug in. While this may seem like an odd thing to mention it is worth noting that larger BTU window units make as witch over to a two-hundred and twenty volt outlet. These types of outlets are the ones you find in your home for your oven or your dryer. With this one-hundred and fifteen volt outlet you are good to plug it in in any room without worry. The power cord on the FFRA1022R1 extends to six and a half feet. That should be more than enough space to reach the nearest outlet, but worst case you can always use an extension cord.

This window air conditioner will fit windows between twenty-three inches up to thirty-six inches in width. While the height doesn’t really matter as most windows are taller than the air conditioner this unit comes in at fourteen inches. Please be sure to measure your window before purchasing so you don’t accidentally buy the wrong sized product. It also comes with side curtains and insulation strips to prevent any leaks or air from coming in from outside. It does not come with an outside mounting bracket but it is not needed as the unit only comes in at sixty pounds.

This unit uses the HFC R-410A for it’s refrigerant. This is a VERY common refrigerant that is found in most offices and homes across the country. If you do need a repair down the road you don’t have to worry about finding or paying an arm and a leg for a refrigerant refill.

The  FFRA1022R1 comes with a cool and economy mode. The cool mode does just that, it cools the room to your desired temperature. The economy or ‘econ’ mode will cool your room to the desired temperature and then turn on again when the temperature begins to rise. This is a great feature to have for those of us who go to work during the day and want to come home to a nice cooled room.

Pros

The most satisfying part about this Frigidaire unit is the price point. As I write this the price on Amazon is in the two-hundred dollar range. (Prices are subject to change at any time.) That is quite the bargain especially when you look at other 10,000 BTU units on the marketplace today. You also get the Frigidaire brand name that has a century of reputation behind it.

Something else to take into consideration when it comes to air conditioners is if they are Energy Star Certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. When a product is Energy Star Certified it means that that product has met strict energy efficiency guidelines set fort by the US EPA. A Energy Star certified unit will have higher seasonal energy efficiency ratios as well as having improved energy efficiency ratios. The FFRA1022R1 is NOT Energy Star Certified with the EPA. While this is a downside I should point out that the Energy Efficiency Ratio is rated at 10.9. That is nearly 1.0 above the EPA’s recommended 10.0 rating. So, while you are not Energy Star certified with the EPA you do get an energy efficient machine that exceeds EPA expectations.

Frigidaire FFRA1022R1 10000 BTU Energy Guide
Frigidaire FFRA1022R1 10000 BTU Energy Guide

The FFRA1022R1 comes with basic settings such as sleep mode, twenty four hour on/off timer, a remote control that comes with two triple a batteries, varying fan speeds, and cool/econ/fan only cooling modes. While most of these modes and options are pretty standard I am going to point again to the price point on this unit. For an 10,000 BTU with these features at this price you are saving a lot of money while getting all the standard features.

The last feature I’ll mention on this Frigidaire unit is that it comes with a one year manufacturer warranty.  This is a great insurance policy if for whatever reason your new unit doesn’t last the year. There are always outliers out there and having this warranty to back you up ensures you that your investment is protected.

Cons

As far as the Cons on this Frigidaire window unit there really aren’t that much to go through. There are few main things that I want to make you aware of before you purchase. A lot of these are ‘bad luck’ type of situations but I would be amiss if I didn’t make you aware:

  • This is an 10,000 BTU window air conditioner. I mentioned this above in our product features section but you should be aware that this unit is rated to cool a four-hundred and fifty square foot room. If your room is bigger than that then you should look at getting a larger BTU unit. If you are unsure of what sized unit you need please check out our window air conditioner buyer’s guide which can be found by clicking here.
  • When buying things online there is always risk of damage from the transport carrier. This is moreso when you are dealing with a machine with a lot of moving parts like an air conditioner. While most people who order this item receive it in fine condition there is still the risk of the unit arriving to your home damaged. If this does happen then I would recommend filing a complaint with Amazon on your order. If you aren’t having any luck in that avenue then you could file a claim on Frigidaire’s website under their one year warranty.
  • The last complaint that I have found in my research is that through usage and the passage of time the fan can become loosened and begin rubbing up against other components of the unit. While this isn’t a big deal mechanically it does result in a larger noise when the air conditioner is running. So, if this happens to you you may have a noisy unit to contend with. While this may not matter during the day it may make it difficult to sleep with if the FFRA1022R1 is in your bedroom.

Conclusion

Overall I would say that if you are looking for a new window unit that will cool your living room, master bedroom, or small apartment then this would be a great fit for you. It comes with all of your standard features you would need on an air conditioner as well as coming in at a great low price point. If you would like to purchase or learn more about this unit then please click here to be taken to Amazon’s product page.

If you find that your room is too big or too small for this unit then I would recommend checking out our official RefrigerantHQ Window Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

Frigidaire FFRA1222R1 12000 BTU

Hello folks and welcome to RefrigeranHQ! Today we will be doing one of our product reviews and our featured product is Frigidaire’s FFRA1222R1 12,000 BTU window air conditioning unit. Depending on where you are in the world and how hot your summers get the idea of an air conditioner may have never crossed your mind. But, if you are like me and live in the heart of Kansas then I can assure you that air conditioning is a necessity. The best thing about window air conditioners is that they give people a much cheaper alternative to the traditional split AC systems found in most homes today. Here’s the question though, is the Frigidaire FFRA1222R1  the right air conditioner for you? Or, should you be looking at a different product? Let’s find out!

Frigidaire FFRA1222R1 12000 BTU
Frigidaire FFRA1222R1 12000 BTU

Now before I get into the actual details, Pros, and Cons of a product I always like to take some time and look at the company behind the product. After all, the manufacturing company can say a lot about the quality of the product. Brand names have power. Don’t believe me? Just ask Coca-Cola or Toyota.

Frigidaire

The Frigidaire company was my runner up for best brands in window air conditioners. If you haven’t heard of the company Frigidaire before I have to ask where have you been? You’ll see this brand name all over your house. I don’t care if it’s on your refrigerator, your dishwasher, or your laundry machine. These guys are into every home appliance you can imagine.

The Frigidaire company knows exactly what they are doing with air conditioners and refrigeration units and have been around for over one-hundred years. Frigidaire was a pioneer in the refrigeration and cooling industry. They invented and began commercially selling the first self-contained refrigerator all the way back in 1916. Think about that for a moment. Over one-hundred years ago and Frigidaire was around and selling refrigerators. In fact one of their principal investors was William Durant, a founder of General Motors. GM went on to develop the first ‘Freon’ refrigerant in the 1930s while they were partnered with DuPont. This company has a solid history in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry. I can assure you that you are getting a great product when you purchase under the Frigidaire brand name.

Product Features

The Frigidaire FFRA1222R1 is rated at 12,000 BTUs. 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. In this case 12,000 BTUs is rated to cool four-hundred and fifty square feet upwards to five-hundred and fifty square feet. That could be the size of a large living room, a great room, or a small sized apartment. It also dehumidifies a room at up to 3.8 pints per hour.

This unit comes with a one-hundred and fifteen volt plug in. While this may seem like an odd thing to mention it is worth noting that larger BTU window units make as witch over to a two-hundred and twenty volt outlet. These types of outlets are the ones you find in your home for your oven or your dryer. With this one-hundred and fifteen volt outlet you are good to plug it in in any room without worry. The power cord on the FFRA1222R1 extends to six and a half feet. That should be more than enough space to reach the nearest outlet, but worst case you can always use an extension cord.

Frigidaire FFRA1222R1 12000 BTU
Frigidaire FFRA1222R1 12000 BTU

This window air conditioner will fit windows between twenty-three inches up to thirty-six inches in width. While the height doesn’t really matter as most windows are taller than the air conditioner this unit comes in at fifteen and a half inches. Please be sure to measure your window before purchasing so you don’t accidentally buy the wrong sized product. It also comes with side curtains and insulation strips to prevent any leaks or air from coming in from outside. It does not come with an outside mounting bracket but it is not needed as the unit only comes in at sixty-eight pounds.

This unit uses the HFC R-410A for it’s refrigerant. This is a VERY common refrigerant that is found in most offices and homes across the country. If you do need a repair down the road you don’t have to worry about finding or paying an arm and a leg for a refrigerant refill.

Something else to take into consideration when it comes to air conditioners is if they are Energy Star Certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. When a product is Energy Star Certified it means that that product has met strict energy efficiency guidelines set fort by the US EPA. A Energy Star certified unit will have higher seasonal energy efficiency ratios as well as having improved energy efficiency ratios. The FFRA1222R1 is NOT Energy Star Certified with the EPA.

This Frigidaire unit comes with two turn dials that allow you to set the temperature and the fan speed of the unit. You do not get a digital temperature display on this unit but for those of you who are on a budget and aren’t concerned about all the latest and greatest features then this product may be just for you. For an example of the turn dial knobs reference our picture to the right.

Pros

The most satisfying part about this Frigidaire unit is the price point. As I write this the price on Amazon is in the three-hundred dollar range. (Prices are subject to change at any time.) That is quite the bargain especially when you look at other 12,000 BTU units on the marketplace today. You also get the Frigidaire brand name that has a century of reputation behind it.

The FFRA1222R1 comes with basic settings such as sleep mode, energy saver mode, exhaust control, twenty four hour on/off timer, a remote control that comes with two triple a batteries, and varying fan speeds. While most of these modes and options are pretty standard I am going to point again to the price point on this unit. For an 12,000 BTU with these features at this price you are saving a lot of money while getting all the basic features that you would need.

The last feature I’ll mention on this Frigidaire unit is that it comes with a one year manufacturer warranty.  This is a great insurance policy if for whatever reason your new unit doesn’t last the year. There are always outliers out there and having this warranty to back you up ensures you that your investment is protected.

Frigidaire FFRA1222R1 12000 BTU Energy Guide
Frigidaire FFRA1222R1 12000 BTU Energy Guide

Cons

As far as the Cons on this Frigidaire window unit there really aren’t that much to go through. There are few main things that I want to make you aware of before you purchase. A lot of these are ‘bad luck’ type of situations but I would be amiss if I didn’t make you aware:

  • This is an 12,000 BTU window air conditioner. I mentioned this above in our product features section but you should be aware that this unit is rated to cool a four-hundred and fifty square foot room to five-hundred and fifty square foot room. If your room is bigger than that then you should look at getting a larger BTU unit. If you are unsure of what sized unit you need please check out our window air conditioner buyer’s guide which can be found by clicking here.
  • Remember how I said that this Frigidaire product is not Energy Star certified with the EPA? Well folks, there is a reason for that. The EPA bases their certification on the Energy Efficiency Ratio of the product. The EPA’s baseline EER rating is 10.0. The FFRA1222R1  comes out at 9.8 in Energy Efficiency. It is just shy of the EPA’s standard, but I would say that it is still not going to cost you that much. Remember, in the Pros section and in the picture to the right we can see that it costs about ninety-nine dollars per year. While that it is higher than other window units out there it still isn’t a bad expense per year.  It works out to be about eight dollars a month.
  • When buying things online there is always risk of damage from the transport carrier. This is moreso when you are dealing with a machine with a lot of moving parts like an air conditioner. While most people who order this item receive it in fine condition there is still the risk of the unit arriving to your home damaged. If this does happen then I would recommend filing a complaint with Amazon on your order. If you aren’t having any luck in that avenue then you could file a claim on Frigidaire’s website under their one year warranty.
  • The last complaint that I have found in my research is that through usage and the passage of time the fan can become loosened and begin rubbing up against other components of the unit. While this isn’t a big deal mechanically it does result in a larger noise when the air conditioner is running. So, if this happens to you you may have a noisy unit to contend with. While this may not matter during the day it may make it difficult to sleep with if the FFRA1222R1 is in your bedroom.

Conclusion

Overall, I would say that the Frigidaire FFRA1222R1 is a definite buy if you are looking for a price point air conditioner to cool your apartment or living room. The reviews on Amazon.com are overwhelmingly positive and as I said above the only negative complaints that I could find throughout my research was related to shipping of the product. If you are interested in purchasing this unit please click here to visit Amazon.com’s product page.

If you find that your room is too big or too small for this unit then I would recommend checking out our official RefrigerantHQ Window Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

 

Donald Trump's Affect on the Refrigerant Industry

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the Montreal Protocol

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

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

Will He or Won’t He?

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

 

How does it work?

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

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

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

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

How Do They Work?

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

Split System Versus a Window Unit

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

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

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

How They Work

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

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

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

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

The Process & Components

Home AC Cycle – Picture Credit from ConsumerReports.Org

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

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

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

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

Shop Online

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ