Warnings on replacement refrigerants
The Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA) is warning of issues over incorrect and potentially harmful handling of refrigerants for air conditioning. FETA has advised that there have been some instances of R410A (classified as A1, nonflammable) being completely removed from some air conditioning systems which are then simply recharged with R32 (classed as A2L, low flammability).
The Federation says that given the differences in the properties of the two refrigerants, this is a cause for concern. Firstly, refrigerant manufacturing have clearly stated that A2L refrigerants are not suitable for retrofitting.
A system that was designed for R410A will not have taken into account the safety factors required when using A2L refrigerant, creating a significant safety hazard. Systems designed for use with R32 have different pressure switch regimes, altered inverter profiles and speciallydesigned heat exchangers.
Charging an existing system with R32 would leave the system non-compliant with the refrigerant safety standard EN378, leading to the possibility of forming a flammable atmosphere in a leakage situation. Such a refrigerant change would be strictly against the system manufacturer’s instructions, and would render any relevant warranty invalid. It would also mean that the system would no longer be compliant with its original CE marking or the Pressure Equipment Directive specifications, and could have insurance implications.
R32 has a higher compressor discharge temperature than R410A, and will increase wear on the compressor, reducing its life significantly. Should any problem arise from a system change such as this, any liability would rest entirely with the person/undertaking who carried out the change.
Further advice is available from the FETA website: See link below.