This video stems from the HVAC School podcast where Jason Obrzut discusses Big Refrigerant Changes to A2L. Jason is a member of AHRI’s Safe Refrigerant Transition Task Force and author of the RACT manual. To learn more about A2L refrigerants, check out the AHRI Safe Refrigerant Transition Task Force’s webinars, newsletters, and fact sheets at https://ahrinet.org/saferefrigerant.
Since the release of the podcast, the EPA has released its ruling on the HFC phase-down. Learn more by visiting the EPA’s site and checking their resources on the ruling at https://www.epa.gov/climate-hfcs-reduction/final-rule-phasedown-hydrofluorocarbons-establishing-allowance-allocation.
You can also check out the official EPA fact sheet at https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2021-09/hfc-allocation-rule-nprm-fact-sheet-finalrule.pdf.
ASHRAE designates refrigerants into categories based on toxicity (A or B) and flammability (traditionally 1, 2, and 3). So, the new A2L designation indicates that a refrigerant is relatively non-toxic but has a flammability value between 1 (low) and 2 (moderate). While propane (R-290) is a good refrigerant because it is natural and has low toxicity, it is very flammable (A3).
Future refrigerants will likely fall under the A2L designation; the mild flammability will probably be the tradeoff for efficient, low-toxicity refrigerant with a low environmental impact. However, A2L refrigerants cannot be vented, even despite their low GWP. We also cannot use these refrigerants in retrofits.
A2L refrigerants will likely become much more prevalent around 2023 as HFC refrigerants phase down. The phase-down period will be specified shortly, and it will begin with a 10% reduction; the specific parameters of the phase-down have yet to be set.
When working with A2L refrigerants like R-32, you can expect little to no change in how you work on equipment if you’re already employing the best practices. Sizing and capacity will hardly change in the residential market. In the commercial sphere, these systems still look and operate quite similarly to current units.
Jason and Bryan also discuss:
Refrigerant detection systems (RDS)
Flowing nitrogen and other best practices
Non-A2L HFC alternatives
Non-standard safety practices
To find A2L-compatible tools, check out https://www.trutechtools.com/a2l-compatible-tools.html.
Check out ESCO Group’s website at https://escogroup.org. Check out their EPA 608 training at https://escogroup.org/training/epa608.aspx.
We have also written an article about this topic, which you can read at https://hvacrschool.com/what-techs-need-to-know-about-a2l-refrigerants/
Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.