F-Gas News: ‘Don’t try to retrofit R32 in an R410A system’ warns FETA

HVACR body warns of flammability risk, warranty invalidation and system issues from ignoring manufacturer advice

HVACR body FETA has warned the industry not to attempt to retrofit R32 to R410A systems, arguing the practice is not just unsuitable for the system, but poses serious safety risks.

The association said it had been advised of instances of non-flammable R410A being completely removed from an air conditioning system, and the system simply being recharged with mildly flammable R32.

It said: ”It is not good practice to charge a system with a refrigerant that the system was not originally designed to use and is strongly discouraged.”

In a strongly worded statement, FETA said, such practice was a cause for serious concern for at least half a dozen reasons.

These include:

1) Refrigerant manufacturers have clearly stated that A2L refrigerants are not suitable for retrofit;

2) A system that was originally designed for R410A will not have taken into account the safety factors required when using an A2L refrigerant and could create a significant safety hazard. Systems designed for use with R32 have different pressure switch regimes, altered inverter profiles, and specially-designed heat exchangers.

3) Charging an existing system with R32 would leave the system non-compliant with the refrigerant safety standard EN378, leading to the possibility of forming a flammable atmosphere in the event of a leak;

4) Such a refrigerant change would be strictly against the system manufacturer’s instructions, and would render any relevant warranty invalid. It would also mean that the system would no longer be compliant with its original CE marking or the Pressure Equipment Directive specifications – and could have insurance implications;

5) R32 has a higher compressor discharge temperature than R410A, and will increase wear on the compressor, reducing its life significantly;

6) Should any problem arise from a system change from R410A to R32, any liability would rest entirely with the person who carried out the change.

Source: RAC plus