Air Conditioning Service / Furnace Repair

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  • Hydrocarbon refrigerant safety
    I have been thinking about this for a long time. Are hydrocarbon refrigerants really as dangerous as people claim? I am thinking that there is no way that a small leak will ignite, especially since a unit specifically designed for a flammable gas should have sealed, spark free contacts. And it sustaining a flame is even more unlikely. Think about it- The most common place for a leak is the coils. If the outdoor coil leaks, there is plenty of airflow over the coil to disperse the flammable gas, even from a fairly large leak. I would think that even a leak on the outdoor coil without the system running would be pretty safe because there is likely to be a breeze to disperse the gas. Even if the gas did build up in the unit somehow ignited it with sealed contacts, when the unit started up, I would think that the airflow from the fan would reduce the concentration of the gas to the point of not supporting the flame for more than maybe 1-2 seconds. A possible solution to this problem is to ensure that the outdoor unit is at least a certain distance from the house. An indoor coil leak could be a bit more disastrous though. A small leak with the fan running probably is safe, but if the gas builds up inside the indoor unit with the fan off, a spark from something could ignite it. Another possible risk is if the indoor coil suddenly... Read more »
  • Why are there always 2 refrigerants for air conditioning? Would 1 not work?
    This question has been on my mind for years. WHY are certain gases (R12, R134A and recently R1234YF) always used for car AC and another(R22 and R410A) always used for home AC? To me it would seem that the refrigerant that works well in a car AC would work well in a window or central AC unit also, or vise versa. They have the same basic goals: Keep your car or house at about 65-75 degrees while using as little energy as possible and being as environmentally friendly as possible, while still preferably being non flammable, running at reasonable pressures and being non toxic. Is that logic not accurate? I think that the reason the refrigerant for a car AC and home AC is different is so you have to buy and stock more types than really necessary, making the big chemical companies very wealthy. I think that almost all AC systems have WAY more in common than not. Any input is very much appreciated! Thanks!... Read more »
  • 407c retrofit
    If a person was to retrofit a 2 ton heat pump from R22 to 407 C I understand there is a five to 10% capacity loss. Does this mean that the 407c charged would be 5 to 10% less than the R22 charge has indicated by the sticker on the unit? Also to compensate for this could a person install a larger evaporator say a two and a half two three times that would allow you to make up the difference and for the 407c to perform the same as R22?... Read more »
  • Refrigerant prices
    There may be an easy answer to my question not that I am involved too much nowadays but I can remember the days of r502/r22 phase out,when the price of refrigerant is hiked as r404a is at the present time where does the hiked price go to? it's still in stock at wholesalers prior to the hike so production costs don't come into play does it go to the wholesalers profit or does the government get the extra payment it seems a grey area to me or am I missing the obvious?.... Read more »
  • R32 the hidden dangers besides A2L Flammability
    Hi all R32 has now been launched on us with all the manufacturers singing its praises and hiking the prices of refrigerants to force us to use this refrigerant. (Is it just to get around quota on imports?) R32 is difluoromethane (methylene fluoride) and it is an HFC type refrigerant. R32 has been used for many years as a component of both R407C and R410A. It is flammable on its own, but not when mixed with the other components of these blends. There is a plethora of blends being launched R448A and Leonardo DiCaprio's favourite, R458A. Flammability aside - Yes it burns don't believe the bull! Is heavier than air and will pool! The real danger is to us guys out in the field because at some point you will be carrying out hot works with this refrigerant coming out of the system. As is the case with all fluorinated refrigerants, R32 will decompose and produce toxic byproducts such as hydrogen fluoride and carbon dioxide when burnt. Hydrogen fluoride is a highly dangerous gas, forming corrosive and penetrating hydrofluoric acid upon contact with moisture. The gas can also cause blindness by rapid destruction of the corneas. Upon contact with moisture, including tissue, hydrogen fluoride immediately converts to hydrofluoric acid, which is highly corrosive and toxic, and requires immediate medical attention upon exposure. Breathing in hydrogen fluoride at high levels or in combination with skin contact can cause death from an irregular heartbeat or from fluid buildup in the lungs. For all of us working with refrigerants... Read more »
  • Solkatherm® ses36
    Is there anyone who has experience with SOLKATHERM® SES36? I wonder how to fill this coolant best as it only boils at 36.7 ° C? And how should I recover it, the traditional way or is there another way that has to be used?... Read more »
  • R22 Vs R417a
    Dear members, I'm new to this, and I've a small question that I faces on my daily work.. I know that R417a substitutes R22 with some loss of performance of course at about 5-10% , but my question is: on an equipment running with R22, can I just add R417a ontop of the existing R22 (leakage problem), OR should I need to empty the equipment first and fill it with R417a completely? please advise!! Urgent... Read more »
  • I refilled an R22 window AC with R134a and this is what happened
    I did this purely as an experiment, NOT because I thought it would work and I definitely do NOT suggest that anyone try this with a system that they care about. I got a free 8000 BTU Kennmore window AC from the 1990s that I use as a dehumidifier, don't ask. Over the winter, it developed a slow leak and was empty yesterday when I turned it on and did not cool at all. I installed a Bullet Piercing Valve and filled it with compressed air to find the leak. The condenser had a pinhole, which I soldered closed and vacuumed the system to remove any air or moisture. I turned it on, connected the gauges and started adding R134a refrigerant. It took about 12 ounces of the original 13.6 ounces until it was cooling well and was not developing frost on the evaporator. The performance of the system is identical to with R22 refrigerant. It blows 38 degree air with a room temp of 75 degrees with the fan on high speed. I thought that the air would be warmer because I thought that R22 was better than R134a in terms of efficiency. But what I thought was the most interesting is how much cooler the compressor runs. With R22, the compressor and discharge tube got so hot it would hurt to touch. With R134a, the compressor runs MUCH cooler. It is still hot, but I can hold my hand on it for at least 5 seconds without... Read more »
  • Small amounts of R134a
    I see that it is possible to buy small 900g cans of R134a on ebay. This is not the hydrocarbon substitute. Is it totally legal to have this or does the regulations only apply to larger quantities? I was reading that the law in the UK was subject to quantities over a certain amount. I ask because I want to try R134a in a tiny system I have using a bd35f dc compressor. I never vent refrigerants and always store and recover them properly. Read more »
  • Flow restrictors for regulating capacity with alternate refrigerants
    Hi all, this is my first post. I'm interested in the topic of trying modern refrigerants in antique GE monitor top refrigerators that originally ran SO2 back in the 1920s and 1930s. These machines use a flooded evaporator, with a high-side float. Field experience has shown that they work quite well with modern refrigerants such as R134a or R152a. For R134a in particular, the performance characteristics (compressor noise, power draw) seem to best match the original SO2 when the suction line is restricted (i.e. crimped, or with a narrower diameter tube inserted). I used CoolProp (a free alternative to REFPROP) to try to model the performance characteristics of several candidate refrigerants. Here is a thread in another (monitor top specific) forum where I crunched some numbers: The gist is that all alternative refrigerants have a higher refrigeration capacity than SO2 at the same volumetric flow, and all have a higher mass flow (which directly correlates with compressor noise, as far as I can tell. Compressor noise is important in monitor tops, since the compressor dome and condenser are out in the open, at ear level). Shaving the piston would theoretically reduce the compressor volumetric efficiency, and therefore reduce the mass flow of a given refrigerant. Reducing each refrigerant mass flow in the calculations until capacity equals the original results in some of the refrigerants (R152a in particular) being surprisingly close to match to the original SO2. In the real world, though, shaving a piston is... Read more »