Frequently asked questions
No. There is no retrofit mandate. The need to retrofit systems will be driven by a variety of factors, including the age and condition of the equipment, type of unit, and refrigerant availability. If the R-22 equipment is relatively leak-free, the best option may be to simply maintain the equipment using R-22.
If the R-22 system has leaks and needs service but is no longer under warranty then a retrofit may be a good option. Replacing or converting the entire R-22 system with a new R-410A system can be costly, especially if existing line sets are buried; cost-conscious customers may prefer to do a retrofit instead of replacing the system. Also, environmentally conscious customers may prefer a non-ozone-depleting refrigerant alternative like Forane® 427A (R427A) - The EASY RETROFIT™.
Though no single refrigerant can replace R-22 in all applications, Forane® 427A (R427A) - The EASY RETROFIT™ was designed to closely match the properties of R-22 to minimize the work required when retrofitting existing systems. Forane® 427A has been shown to be an excellent choice for retrofitting air conditioning equipment and medium and low-temperature refrigeration systems and heat pumps. As with most all R-22 retrofit blends, Forane® 427A is not recommended for retrofitting systems with flooded evaporators.
Yes. After 2019, importation or production of R-22 will not be permitted in the United States, however, it can still be purchased, used, and sold from existing inventory and reclaim. R-22 is still the best refrigerant for R-22 equipment, and R-22 users should review all their options before making any major changes to their R-22 equipment.
No. R-410A has significantly higher pressures and capacity than R-22, and the use of R-410A in R-22 equipment may result in poor performance, system damage, and unsafe conditions. R-410A should only be used in equipment specifically designed for it. Retrofitting R-22 equipment should only be done with a refrigerant specifically designed for that purpose, such as Forane® 427A (R427A) - The EASY RETROFIT™.
Forane® 427A continues to be installed in many systems running with mineral oil, so an oil change may not be required when retrofitting an R-22 system with Forane® 427A. However, HFC refrigerant blends are not miscible with mineral oil, and system layout is critical when determining whether to change the oil to POE or to add some POE to improve oil return. Close-coupled systems or systems where the compressor is in a favorable position will generally facilitate adequate oil return. Therefore, technicians must examine and evaluate each aspect of an installation that might inhibit proper oil return. Vertical risers, evaporators positioned below the compressor, or systems with receivers, generally present challenges. . An oil change to POE is also recommended for systems designed to lubricate compressor bearings by pulling oil from the bottom of the oil sump, such as with Danfoss SM scroll and Trane® 3-D® compressors. Either changing the oil completely or adding 15% to 20% POE in these systems is recommended. Check with the compressor and equipment manufacturer for the correct and approved lubricants to use with a particular system.
Performance of the equipment following a retrofit will depend greatly on the application, equipment design, how the retrofit is conducted, choice of the retrofit refrigerant, and other considerations. Changes in performance are to be expected, and so the goal of the contractor conducting the retrofit is to minimize those changes. Poor retrofitting practices may result in poor equipment performance, complete system failure, or damage to the equipment. Experience has shown that the system performance of R-22 equipment properly retrofitted with Forane® 427A can be very close to or even better than with the original R-22.
For a refrigerant blend like Forane® 427A, that is typically not necessary. Fractionation, or changes in blend composition, can result from leaks. However, these changes tend to be small for regularly running DX systems or leaks of liquid refrigerant. In many cases, once a leak has been repaired the system charge can simply be topped off.