Hydrocarbon refrigerants are now approved for use in both commercial and residential refrigeration equipment in Delaware and the greater United States. Widespread adoption began to happen in 2012, and the technology has become more and more popular in new applications ever since then.
So what do you need to know about hydrocarbon refrigerants and the equipment that runs with them? Here’s some information.
The United States Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP) for hydrocarbon was put out at the end of 2011, and featured two primary components:
- Charge limitations for refrigerators and freezers were 57g in any refrigerator, freezer or combination refrigerator and freezer. This is equivalent to the amount of liquid you’d find in a standard butane cigarette lighter—about two ounces.
- The charge limitation for propane R290 refrigerant for retail food refrigerators and freezers is 150g, or 5.3 ounces. This refrigerant is a substitute for R12, R502 and R22.
Replacing older refrigerants
As we already mentioned, R290 makes for an ideal replacement and alternative for several types of existing refrigerants, if you are still running equipment that uses those older refrigerants that are becoming less and less common. For example, it is an ideal replacement for R22, as the boiling and evaporating points for each are very close matches. As a result, R290 can be put into the same type of evaporator design as R22. R290 also has a lower discharge temperature than R22, which results in a more reliable compressor. Finally, it can function at higher pressure ratios and provides some extra extension in the capacity range of the equipment.
Why would you want to replace older refrigerants with R290 and hydrocarbon refrigerants in general? There are several reasons.
For one, there is significantly less environmental impact associated with the use of hydrocarbons. They are environmentally benign materials, with global warming potentials that are much lower than fluorinated refrigerants like R12, R22 and R134a, which have very high global warming potentials.
Hydrocarbons also have lower discharge temperatures in general. This puts less stress on the system to stay cool, allowing it to function more reliably for a longer period of time.
Finally, hydrocarbons reduce the refrigerant charge to a significant degree. R290, for example, has a 40 percent reduction in refrigerant charge versus R22 and R134a.
If you decide you will use R290 in your systems, you should know that the minimum evacuation level for the refrigerant is 200 microns. In addition, any refrigeration technicians servicing your equipment should use high-quality vacuum pumps that have specifically been designed for evacuation, and the vacuums should be pulled from both low and high pressure sides so you can be completely sure no condensables get left behind in the system.
For more information about the R290 hydrocarbon refrigerant and the various upgrades in technology that have occurred in commercial refrigeration equipment in Delaware over the last decade or so, as well as the certification required for working with these materials, we encourage you to contact the team at Commercial Equipment Service Inc. with your questions. We look forward to working with you soon!