If you are at all involved in the HVAC/R trade, you know that new equipment may not be manufactured or imported beginning January 1, 2010. This imminent date has most of us at least a little apprehensive about the future. Right now, all the details and rules have not been firmly established. In most people’s minds, the date a unit is “manufactured” is when it is made in the factory. The EPA has proposed a rule change that would set the date of “manufacture” as the date of final charge. For split systems, this would be when the unit is installed. Adopting this rule change would effectively mean that R-22 split systems could not be installed beginning January 1, 2010. This would make inventory of existing R-22 systems essentially worthless on January 1, 2010.
AHRI has launched a site dedicated to monitoring the issues regarding the HCFC phase out and passing on information to the industry: www.phaseoutfacts.org.
Another good web site to keep an eye on is the EPA site devoted to the HCFC phase out: www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/phaseout/hcfcfaqs.html
Although R-22 will continue to be available for servicing existing systems, the amount of new R-22 available will be substantially less than is available this year, see EPA web site for details
R-22 systems will still be with us for some time since the majority of the current installed base of air conditioning systems use R-22. However, R-22 systems represent the past; R-410A air conditioning systems represent the future. All HVAC/R training labs should have a full complement of R-410A systems. We need to prepare our students for the future, not the past. The training materials you use should support training using the refrigerants of the future, including R-410A. Fundamentals of HVAC/R includes extensive coverage of R-410A. We don’t just talk about R-410A in Unit 23 Refrigerants and Their Properties, but throughout the book whenever specific refrigerant pressures and temperatures are mentioned in examples. In Unit 17 Refrigeration System Components and Operation, the refrigeration cycle diagram uses R-410A as the refrigerant. Unit 27 Refrigerant System Evacuation and Charging uses R-410A for many specific examples of charging charts and operating specifications. Specific details of handling zeotropic refrigerants like R-410A are given in Unit 26 Refrigerant Management and the EPA. In all, 14 units have specific examples of working with and using R-410A refrigerant. R-22 has certainly not been left out. There are still plenty of examples and details using R-22. After all, we will be working on R-22 systems for several years to come. If you have not already moved towards incorporating R-410 your curriculum, now is the time to take the first step. If you are looking for materials that will help your students meet the challenges of the future, please take a look at Fundamentals of HVAC/R.