R-454b: The New Refrigerant on the Block

As we discussed earlier this year (read more here), new SEER ratings have been put into place by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for 2023 and beyond. But are those the only changes in store for HVAC this year? We don’t think so!

Refrigerant Standards Are Changing

One of the final changes that have been rumored to begin at the end of 2023 and early 2024 deals with all things refrigerant. But to better understand why these changes are happening, you first need to know what HFC is. *As concrete dates become available, we will update to reflect those changes.

What is HFC?

HFC stands for hydrofluorocarbon—say that five times fast! HFCs are a group of synthetic gases typically used in refrigeration and cooling. It’s also important to note that HFCs are considered and termed as greenhouse gases by the EPA. Now why is this important? Well, in recent years both the EPA and DOE have ramped up initiatives to combat climate change and the impact that carbon emissions/greenhouse gases are having on the environment.

But what does this mean for refrigerant(s) used in commercial HVAC?

It means that two types of refrigerants, that have been linked to having negative effects on the ozone, are being switched to a newer type that is more environmentally friendly. Refrigerants R-22 and R-410a are being moved away from and allegedly, the newer R-454b will be taking their place. The EPA is committed to reducing hydrofluorocarbon emissions as a whole and this will be a large step in moving towards that goal. (Read more on the EPA’s actions and position on reducing HFCs here.)

It also means that you are likely to see system overhauls in relation to newer refrigeration begin to pop up. Retrofits will not be an option for a variety of reasons with the use of these newer refrigerants. Older parts will begin to get phased out by the industry, opening up new project opportunities for you. Both you and the environment get a win!

To better familiarize yourself with the EPA’s standards and position on this new move towards more environmentally friendly refrigerants, read up on it here and here.

Need help with your next job that involves refrigerants? Give us a call today or visit kele.com to get what you need—Kele’s got you covered!

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