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Are you ready for the new F Gas Regulations?

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Tens of thousands of supermarkets, shops and restaurants rely on commercial refrigeration and they should be starting to think about the impact of the new F Gas regulations which will make most current refrigeration equipment obsolete.

The use of HFC refrigerants with a GWP above 2500 will be outlawed in all new stationary refrigeration equipment, from January 2020.

Why are the F Gas regulations changing?

These new F Gas regulations are coming in to help meet the government’s climate change commitment by reducing emissions from fluorinated greenhouse gases.

Stocks of R404A, one of the most widely used higher GWP gases, with a GWP of 4000, are already being reduced in preparation for the change.

Refrigeration and air conditioning engineers are in a great position to be able to offer your customers some advice.

It’s in everyone’s interest that the changeover is smooth so that there will be no nasty shocks when the deadline arrives.

What should I advise my customers to do?

When it comes to servicing the refrigeration equipment for one of your regular clients here are some options you might like to discuss with them:

  • Option One – in your servicing and maintenance roll, you could continue to top up the units with existing higher GWP refrigerants, but as supplies dwindle (the supply of R404A is set to be cut by an estimated 37% this year) the costs of these gases is escalating quite dramatically. Some sources have suggested a 500% increase in the cost of R404A in just four months. As well as your regular servicing contract, it would be worth suggesting a routine maintenance plan. With prices rising, it will be important to keep up a regular regime to minimise the risk of leaking plant.

Ultimately, all old equipment will need replacing in two-year’s time, so it is better to encourage your customers to make the changes now if they can.

  • Option Two – you could retrofit the existing equipment so that it can run on the new lower GWP gases. In this instance, you’d recover all higher GWP gases to feed back into the supply chain.  Your customer would benefit from lower gas costs, but you’ll need to make sure you are up to speed with the best and latest alternatives.
  • Option Three – depending on the available budget, you could replace all the equipment sooner than later and move to the new refrigerants to ‘future proof’ your customer’s business.

What are the new refrigerants?

New refrigerant blends are being introduced by refrigerant manufacturers and most of these are blends of HFOs and HFCs.

They have been designed to have the properties of the high GWP refrigerants that they are replacing, but produce lower emissions.

Some blends, such as R-448A and F-449A, have properties similar to R-404A and the advantage of being non-flammable but they still have a fairly high GWP of around 1400 (the GWP of R404A is 4000).

Other blends (such as R-454A and R-455A) have much lower GWPs (239 and 148 respectively) but the disadvantage is that they are very slightly flammable.  There’s a lot to get your head around.

Don’t forget energy efficiency

F-Gas regulation only relates to avoiding green house gas emissions from the refrigerant itself.

When you’re recommending purchasing new equipment, you should always give consideration to the equipment’s energy efficiency.

Over the life of the plant the amount of energy it uses to run will be the most significant contributor to these emissions.

We deliver LCL’s Level 3 F-Gas Training Course which covers all the new legislation.

For more information, please click here

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