As an HVAC professional, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest cooling technology available, especially when it comes to products like R410a. R410a has largely taken the place of hydrofluorocarbons in residential HVAC systems since the phasedown began of R22 and other similar high-global-warming refrigerants. Indeed, R410a has become the residential HVAC industry standard. However, when R410a prices increased due to a shortage, it made waves in the industry. Contractors and HVAC professionals were left wondering, what happens next?
With talk of there being nonflammable, eco-friendlier R410a replacement products in the works for months, one is now ready to be unveiled. The provisional number it has received from ASHRAE is R466a. This refrigerant could be a viable R410a alternative and a potential rival for R32 refrigerant.
Benefits of R466a
R466a is poised to be the next big global advancement in residential HVAC refrigerants. It has been called “nothing short of a breakthrough” by the vice president of Honeywell. This innovative R410a replacement refrigerant is only possible after years of research and development from HVAC industry scientists.
The goal has always been to find a new refrigerant to replace R410a that’s safe, efficient, and easy to adopt. R466a has the potential to achieve all this and more by offering the following benefits:
Other proposed R410a replacement refrigerants are flammable, but R466a is different. It has received a preliminary A1 designation from ASHRAE, meaning it’s nonflammable and nontoxic. This is welcome news for residential HVAC contractors who have long been concerned about the training required to safely adopt flammable refrigerants.
Lower Global-Warming Potential
R466a offers a GWP of 733, compared to R140a’s 1980. That’s about 65 percent lower, making R466a the more energy efficient, environmentally friendly choice. R32 has a similar GWP, but R466a has the added benefit of being nonflammable.
Lower Cost to Convert
Preliminary data shows that minimal equipment changes are needed to switch to R466a. OEM parts allow homeowners to easily convert their existing systems to this R140a alternative. In addition, no extra training would be required for HVAC installation and repair technicians.
These characteristics differ from other R410a replacements that require cumbersome changes to building codes and safety standards if they’re to be adopted. For instance, R32 has an A2L designation from ASHRAE, meaning it’s mildly flammable. While R32 has a lower GWP than R410a refrigerant, this rating means it’s not a straightforward replacement. As a result, the costs of moving to R466a pale in comparison to converting to R32 and other alternative refrigerants.
Still, the majority of DX AC manufacturers have already incorporated R32 into their equipment, meaning they have made the necessary design changes required for a refrigerant rated A2L. However, other manufacturers have delayed making the switch in anticipation of a nonflammable R410a alternative. If R466a delivers on its promises, these manufacturers may benefit greatly.
When Will R466a be Available?
R466a is expected to be available commercially sometime in 2019. As of right now, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) says it’s too early to tell if R466a is a viable refrigerant for residential HVAC systems. Field studies and testing are still required to determine any possible adverse side effects.
CE is committed to informing our customers of the latest HVAC updates and shifts in technology. We’ll continue to keep you up-to-date with future announcements about R466a as they become available. To learn more about this new refrigerant to replace R410a, please contact CE.