Tag: r22

In this episode of the podcast Jeremy Arling from the EPA comes on and answers some common questions about the new rule changes that affect recovery, leak repair, record keeping and evacuation on HVAC and refrigeration systems. You can find the complete rule update HERE
s well as Jeremy’s presentation slides HERE as well as a quick sheet for technicians HERE

If you want an app to help you keep record of recovered refrigerant I would suggest looking at the R-Log app HERE

If you have an iPhone subscribe to the podcast HERE and if you have an Android phone subscribe HERE

If you remember my recent article on the company who went to my friends house for a PM and did nothing but leave a system quote.

Well it got worse….

Josh left them D rated review on a popular review site and the owner of the company responded with… an apology? A bottle of wine?


They responded with threats. Threats that they are going to report Josh and us to the EPA because we added 1/2lb of refrigerant to the system.

Here is a quote from this companies public review response… this is a DIRECT QUOTE

We advised him that the company that came out and added R22 to a leaking system is in violation of the EPA laws, and we would report the company with a copy of this review stating that the other company came out and added 1/2 lb of R22 freon

Before you get the wrong idea. I would never condone “gas and go” behavior. In this case the unit was about 3 degrees of subcool low and we weighed in 1/2 lb and performed an electronic leak check. We found the TINIEST of hits on the evaporator in the fin pack and we instructed Josh of his options.

Sometimes a system needs to be recharged to get the customer cooling or because the leak is very small and the customer chooses not to repair it at that time.

In systems containing UNDER 50 LBS of refrigerant this is not against EPA regulations.

I’m not sure where people get this from, other than THIS which applies only to systems over 50 lbs and even then, some recharging is allowed.

By all means, know and follow the EPA regulations, perform proper leak detection, give the customer all their options but leave off the high and mighty scare tactics.

Scare tactics are bad for our industry and bad for our customers.

— Bryan

The price of R22 is getting ridiculous and one of the #1 requests I have been getting is for recommendations on other refrigerants to use in place of R22 and best practices, so here we go.

No, you shouldn’t mix

There are NO refrigerants that you are supposed to use to top off an R22 system with. if you do it, you are going against industry best practices, contaminating the R22 for whomever might recover it later and above all else BEING VERY NAUGHTY!

Don’t “top off” an R22 system with something else. It isn’t supposed to be mixed and you are gonna have no clue what your saturation, superheat or subcool actually are.

Know the Consequences

A retrofit refrigerant will not perform as well either in capacity or efficiency. Before you retrofit make sure you disclose this to the customer.

The Oil Will Be an Issue

Most R22 systems had mineral oil in them. All approved HFC refrigerants are incompatible with mineral oil and require POE oil. Can you get away without removing and dumping the compressor oil and adding POE… maybe… but you are running the risk of oil logging. Sure you could add an oil separator, but “ain’t nobody got time for that”.

Tag it 

If you do retrofit, for heavens sake, make sure you properly mark the unit.

So my advice is, don’t retrofit unless it really makes sense. Most R22 systems are already older and may be replaced soon anyway. If you have an old system that you only want to limp through another year or two then maybe you can retrofit without oil replacement and cross your fingers. I’m not a huge fan of the idea because of the risk and hassle.

If you are going to do it I would suggest R-427a as a my favorite alternative. It is listed as a good option by the EPA, it is readily available and it has some of the best performance ratings in efficiency and capacity in testing.

R-438a (MO99) is also a decent option because it was specifically formulated to do better with mineral oil return than other option, however…. it still isn’t great at returning mineral oil.

My suggestions are based on typical A/C applications and R22 only. Different applications may require different retrofit options but most of this will still hold true.

Just consider your options wisely… and don’t call it a “drop in” please.

— Bryan

P.S. – here is a good write up by Forane on 438a and 427a

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