R32 Refrigerant: The Cleaner And Greener Refrigerant  

Let’s face it, not everyone is ready for change. Indeed, there are some who resist the future, but we believe in technologies that improve people’s lives. As R32 is already a familiar component of R410A, the switch doesn’t present any new challenges to installers. Procedures including piping and testing remain the same. There may be a need for slightly different tooling, such as recovery systems and leak detectors, but again this should not present a significant challenge. As with all refrigerants, R32 must be safely handled at all times and spaces properly ventilated when it is being charged and recovered from aircon units.

What exactly is the R32 Refrigerant?

It is a refrigerant gas. The type of gas that is in your aircon unit and what helps to run efficiently and to cool the air. Until recently, aircon units operated with a gas known as R410A. However, as part of the phase-down of environmentally harmful gasses known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), of which R410A was one, this is now being replaced. R410A has a high global warming potential, which means that it is more harmful to the environment by contributing to higher average temperatures and depleting the ozone layer. International agreements have, therefore, led to the search for alternatives that are less harmful and ones that will assist in the drive to reduce HFC refrigerant use by 79% by 2030.

R32 is a more efficient alternative to R410A, with realistic efficiency increases of up to 10%, leading to significant energy savings for building services managers. R32 also has a much lower impact on global warming when compared to its blended predecessors, its Global Warming Potential (GWP), is significantly lower than that of R410A, more and more manufacturers have launched products using it and have made the switch from the old gas to the new R32 heat pump or refrigerant.

What are the factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right refrigerant? 

1) Global Warming Potential (GWP) is a metric that allows us to compare the global warming impacts of different gasses on how much heat they absorb over a specified period. The higher the GWP, the more likely the gas is to cause overall temperatures to rise.

2) Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) tells us how hazardous gas is to the ozone layer. The ozone layer is a thin layer within our earth’s atmosphere that shields us from most of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Thinning of the ozone layer allows harmful UV rays from penetrating the atmosphere and reaching us on earth. With more of these harmful UV rays reaching the earth, there is a higher likelihood of contracting diseases like skin cancer, eye cataracts, and immune deficiency disorders. So it is good to know that the refrigerants currently in use have an ODP of 0.

3) Flammability of the gasses tells you how hazardous it is in general. When choosing between R410A and R32, you might have to take this one into consideration. Though R32 has better heat absorption and release capabilities and a lower GWP than R410A, it is more flammable than R410A.

With an increased focus on the protection of our environment, Singapore will be implementing a host of new initiatives to encourage manufacturers and consumers to put a focus on greener solutions.

Why focus on R32 Refrigerant?

The move towards R32 is part of an overall strategy to reduce the impact of refrigerants on the environment. In 2020 refrigerants such as R404A and R507, with a GWP higher than 2500, will be banned for use in stationary units and will have to be converted to R407A. By 2025 refrigerants with a GWP greater than 750 will be banned for use in split-type aircon units, and in 2030 use of R410A, R134A and R407C will be heavily restricted. 

The major difference is that R32 is mildly flammable, which means it must be properly ventilated when being charged and recovered because if the gas builds up it can be ignited by a naked flame. However, this should not present a significant issue to installers, as currently if R410A separates into its component gasses then R32 is present.

What are the benefits of switching to the R32 Refrigerant?

– It has lower toxicity, which is good for both human health and the wider environment.

– It is less flammable, making it a safer alternative.

– It has high energy efficiency, so will not increase your energy bills.

– It is easy to handle and can be reused, increasing its environmental credentials.

– It does not have ozone-depleting potential.

– It requires less volume of refrigerant per kW than other gasses.

– It is affordable and widely available.

The R32 heat pump is also a single-component gas, as opposed to its predecessors which were combined-component gasses. This is what makes it easier to handle and simpler to recycle and reuse. And while it requires more specialist handling than other refrigerants, this is a small disadvantage compared to all the benefits that it brings. And one final thing: if you are worried that it’s so new that it has not been tried and tested yet, you would think wrong. It has been in use for the last two years and there are over 10 million units already installed and operating in Japan alone.

The R32 heat pump has a global warming potential that is less than half that of R410A, while still being an efficient refrigerant gas. More and more manufacturers have launched products using it and have made the switch from the old gas to the new R32 heat pump.

But, isn’t it a flammable type of refrigerant?

There have been concerns surrounding the fact that R32 gas is partly flammable, however, this gas is extremely difficult to ignite. However, under normal, everyday circumstances, R32 possesses no risk to the aircon units or work environment. There is no possibility of an ignition caused by a spark within the aircon unit or in the magnetic switch of a power panel. Only under extremely specific circumstances might ignition occur. 

Classified at a grade of A2, R32 gas is a mildly flammable gas, but R32 has been used for many years, making up 50% of current R410A gasses. Not only is it a more efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to R410A, but it is equally as safe to use. 

Safety measures and precautions for the R32 Refrigerant: 

One of the main differences to consider when fitting R32 systems is the requirement for ventilation. All flammable refrigerants must be handled under restriction, including transit, storage, and work environments. Although this sounds like a large burden to bear, there is little change in procedure from R410A to R32 installation, bar the requirement to provide ventilation during both transportation and fitting.

Another concern for professional aircon servicing companies or installers when moving to a new refrigerant is that installation will require a separate set of tools and that additional safety measures and precautions need to be taken. However, many of the tools already in use can be used across both R410A and R32 and many of the safety measures will be already familiar. There are a couple of changes needed, and a few more precautions to consider, but as R32 has now been around for a number of years, most modern equipment has factored it into product development so is highly likely to be suitable.

FAQ’s:

How to check the refrigerant in a home aircon unit?

While some aircon maintenance tasks are suitable for you to tackle yourself at home, others need a professional aircon servicing company to do the job. Here’s a run-through of the checks you can carry out before calling out for a professional aircon servicing company to do them efficiently:

1) Aircon unit fan: Checking the fan is something you can absolutely do yourself.

You should switch on the aircon unit, then visually inspect the fan. It should start moving automatically. If it doesn’t move, there’s a chance the motor could be at fault.

Never put your hand inside the fan as this could be dangerous. Any problem with the fan’s motor should be dealt with by a professional aircon servicing company.

2) Air filter: The air filters can easily clog up with debris and dirt. If you’re comfortable with checking your filters in a safe way, ensure they are unblocked and clean. Often, cleaning your air filters thoroughly will get your aircon unit running properly again.

3) Presence of frost: If the coolant is leaking, this could cause a malfunction in your aircon unit. Luckily, it is easy to detect a leak since frost will start to accumulate on the motor, tubes, and other aircon unit parts. If you notice frost building up on your aircon unit, contact a professional aircon servicing company to get the aircon issue sorted out. Coolants can cause you to harm if they’re handled wrongly, so always get a professional aircon servicing company to deal with the leak.

4) When you hear a hissing sound: Another sign that your refrigerant level may be low will be a hissing sound from your aircon unit. Refrigerants won’t run out for no reason, so there must be a leak somewhere. A large leak will result in a bubbling or hissing sound as the refrigerant escapes. The noise could be coming from any part of the refrigerant line, so try listening to various points along the line to detect sounds.

Can I recharge the refrigerant on my own?

It might sound like a simple task to recharge an aircon unit’s refrigerant, and you may think that it’s a good way of saving money. However, recharging the refrigerant is actually very dangerous so you should never do this yourself.

Homeowners don’t have the necessary knowledge to carry out a refrigerant level recharge. Therefore, calling in a professional aircon servicing company is vital.

They will be able to properly charge your aircon unit as well as carry out maintenance checks to ensure your entire aircon unit is functioning to its optimal level.

By checking the entire aircon unit, it’s possible to diagnose any aircon issues and solve them quickly. Calling a professional aircon servicing company will also help you to avoid making an expensive mistake while also prolonging your aircon unit’s lifespan.

About 338aircon.sg

It’s always a good time to talk about the common issues that aircon units have. This way, you’ll be able to spot if there are problems with your unit or not and prepare for its replacement accordingly. If you require our aircon servicing services, Whatsapp us at +65 9222 4141 for a fast and transparent quote.

338 Aircon Servicing Singapore provides an extensive range of Aircon Services including Aircon Servicing, Aircon Repairs, Aircon Installation of the best aircon brands, Chemical Overhaul, Gas Top-up, Aircon Leaking Water, and Aircon Not Cold Fix, and more. We have a team of professional technicians who are equipped with vast knowledge and experience in the Aircon industry. 

We have over 15 years of experience in dealing with aircon works and have completed thousands of aircon works for both residential (Landed, Condo, and HDB) and commercial. We are a highly recommended Aircon Company in Singapore, with many delighted customers and reviews over the years on Google and Facebook. 

WhatsApp us at +65 9222 4141 for a transparent quotation and honest pricing for all your aircon needs or Call us at +65 9222 4141. We offer a fast and efficient service to serve any of your aircon needs!