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Reconciling different EPA statements on R410A`

I'm trying to figure out how much of R410A skeptic to be. Obviously the EPA-industry cabal thinks it has to go because even while its the prominent refrigerant for new equipment during an era of vast expansion of # of units they are busy looking for a replacement and setting up to phase it out.

so as i debate my friends who don't work in the industry and believe every regulation is a good regulation, one anamoly i'm seeing is that EPA has published GWP (global warming potential compared to CO2) figures from under 2000 (2014 greenhouse gas inventory guidance) up to 3000 (2021 open book test refrigerant service manual) while R-22 is not listed in the 2014 inventory ( i guess it was illegal for new equipment so they ignored installed base or something), but it is in the 2021 manual, it isn't possible to say whether EPA changed its opinion of R-22 GWP.

On top of this I notice that there is a single figure for leakage for all domestic HVAC regardless of refrigerant. That doesn't seem likely to me but what do I know? Or, I'm really asking what do you know.




  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,456
    Welcome to the wonderful and weird world of expert government regulatory agencies.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,895
    edited July 2022
    410A was an short term replacement for R22. I do find it funny now that the patient is expiring there coming up with new regulations. While the EPA is concerning itself with NOT releasing refrigerant the DOE is making rules that cause refrigerant to leak into the atmosphere. 
  • archibald tuttle
    archibald tuttle Member Posts: 1,085
    edited July 2022
    pecmsg said:

    410A was an short term replacement for R22. I do find it funny now that the patient is expiring there coming up with new regulations. While the EOA is concerning itself with NOT releasing refrigerant the DOE is making rules that cause refrigerant to leak into the atmosphere. 

    i didn't take 410 to have been considered temporary at the outset in 2010 albeit the GWP of HFCs began to be looked at in the decade prior. Perhaps the writing was on the wall, albeit if you can see the graffiti, what i can't figure out is why they wouldn't have instead delayed the phaseout of R-22.

    As I mentioned, if the GWP for R410A is truly only 2000 then it is only 15% worse than R22 in theory but if it is 3000 that is 75% worse–if this is something you really worry about. In any event, how do you take a treaty aimed at limiting ozone depletion and make it into a global warming treaty? Sure, you can think about several things at once, walk and chew gum, but the widespread agreement for montreal does not really exist for global warming and using a refrigerant treaty to get at this means you put all the burdens on one industry and ultimately on the consumer who are now madly buying R410A systems that are effectively defunct on purchase in regulatory respect. Sure, they will be able to operate in grandfathered space but what was the point of creating two grandfathered regimes at once when the ODP (ozone depletion potential) was 2 orders of magnitude less than the R-11 based case for R22. Maybe they should have slower walked R22 off the plank!

    And even that is under the notion that leakage/recovery rates would be the same for R410A as R22. Given that R410 high side and static pressures are much higher than R22, this seems unlikely. Meanwhile the modest efficiency related to the refrigerant itself disappears with more extreme operating conditions which we depend upon heat pumps to withstand if they are going to substantially supplant fossil heat across more climate zones (with their fossil electricity but, nevermind I guess). From what I can see, most of the efficiencies we are seeing in comparing R22 and R410A are new variable flow control strategies and ECM compressors and the like which would have given similar efficiency gains in R22 equipment as well.

    update: I want to add a caveat here and maybe somebody in the know can set me straight. the key material efficiency touted for R410A is the higher rate of heat transfer. When I look at ph diagrams it sure looks like you have to move the same amount of refrigerant more or less as R22 but if that could be moved through less evaporator or condensor, or variable flow, electronic expansion control and ECM evap and condensor fans could be possibly thus be adjusted to save kwhs but at least aircon research comparing the two (I can't date it yet so it might predate a lot of these innovations which could actually contribute to R410 advantage) didn't put much light between the two refrigerants at low condensing temps and showed R410 as exhibiting more degradation in COP at higher condensing temps. Now this is obviously an aircon setup and the higher R410 pressures contributing to higher heat of compression could be better recovered in heating mode of a heat pump (and I imagine that is some of what occasionally contributes to slightly more btus available in heating mode on R410 units). I try not to be stuck in the mud on yesterday's technology but I also don't want to be stuck in the swamp by the swamp with the new stuff :-).

    And I kind of get suspicious that the quoted GWP for R410A was lower during the in run of conversion away from R22 but now that there is a massive installed base for R410A and they are looking to potentially orphan that after getting everybody into it, the GWP quoted suddenly jumps 50% . . . (akin to incentives attempted to be injected into the lead remediation classes I took, largely attended by men, where the focus was on lead's contribution to erecticle dysfunction :-)

    welcome indeed @Jamie Hall to the weird world of [in]expert regulation. :-)