Marine A/C & New Refrigerant Regulations


January 27, 2010 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ About,AC/Systems,Cruisair,Maintence Tips,Marine AC,Marine Air




Due to new 2010 EPA regulations regarding the phase out of our long used R-22 A/C refrigerant systems...

Here's what I can share at this point from the Cruisair/Marine Air perspective & what I have been told.

Self Contained R-22 units are no longer in production...sort of...

Since 417a is a drop in replacement for R-22 you can get the R-22 units (but they are shipping charged with R-417a)

We are told that the R-417a drop in replacement refrigerant for R-22 is 17% less efficient than the R-22 in the same unit (like running 60Hz equipment on 50Hz power)

So if you bought a new R-417a unit...You can evacuate the R-417a and re-charge that unit with R-22 to realize the same performance as a R-22 unit that was purchased before the production change...

You can also evacuate a older R-22 system & recharge with 417a...But the 17% performance drop still applies...

R-22 refrigerant should still be available for quite some time yet...But...The price will climb pretty quickly.

Edit:  5/1/2011...2020 is slated to be the end of production of R-22 in the US...None will be imported either...But at that point, if you still have an operational R-22 system, it can be evacuated and re-charged with R-417a.

The new R-410a cannot be used in a R-22/R417a system even with evacuation...It's not compatible with the oil in the 22 system & the pressures will run too high in that system (metering devise is not set for it either)

My distributor has about 3 months worth of sales of units with R-22 available, but after they are gone he will only stock the new R-410a units....And is now only ordering Self Contained unit with the new R410a.

5/11/2011...R-22/R417 self contained units are no longer in stock.

Split or Remote systems are a whole different story...

One thing they are the same in is that none of the existing systems can run the new R-410a, but they can run the R-417a with the 17% drop in performance....but the problem is bigger with small split systems.

Typically the 16K & smaller split systems have always used piston type compressors as opposed to the rotary type that have been used in self contained units for many years now...

The reason for this is that the rotary type compressor does not lend itself well to long copper line runs...
Rotary crankcases don't hold enough oil for the migration of oil with the refrigerant throughout the longer line runs in split systems...
It's my understanding that the rotary can run out of oil before it has a chance to return with the refrigerant, and thus can ruin itself in a split system from lack of lubrication.

The compressor manufacturers are being forced to phase out production of the lower efficiency piston compressors by the EPA or whomever...

5/1/2011...We still have no info on when this might happen but as of this date...Replacement R-22 split system units with the older piston compressors are still in production...But only ship with R-417a which can be evacuated after installation & replaced with R-22 to maintain efficiency.

Scroll compressors would be a great alternative, but as of yet...The compressor manufacturers have not developed Scroll compressors in the smaller sizes that are required for our smaller Marine split systems (the larger than 16k marine units are using scrolls now)
I guess they figure the Marine market is too small to develop new small scrolls for, and that the rotary's are fine for the home window unit market (which is what the the rotary's were developed for)

I know that Dometic Cruisair/Marine Air has been testing small splits using rotary's for quite some time now...So far they aren't saying much...

Until then...They are only offering the same piston type smaller split systems and shipping with R-417a (the drop in replacement for R-22) to meet the new regulations....The Larger splits (over 16K) will be available as either R-417a (mainly for replacements of the older R-22 units) or the new R-410a units, but to utilize R-410a condensing unit you must also change the air handler...No need for new copper tubing runs.

Dometic is now offering their new "Emerald Series" split/remote systems with rotary compressors (16K & below) Also with  TXV's (thermostatic expansion valve) metering devises at both the condensing unit & air handler (2 TXV's)...Larger than 16K "Emerald Series" systems are Scroll compressors.

Steve~