A2L (flammable) HFC R32 Refrigerant
What is R32? Is it Safe? Is it Legal? Is it worth it?
HFC R32 is a Single Component* A2L Classified flammable refrigerant introduced in 2012 in Japan and 2015 in Europe by Daikin to be used in air conditioning equipment. R32 is a short term refrigerant with a low GWP of 675 (if leaked), to replace the current A1 Classified non-flammable R410A in small AC Systems (RAC & Commercial up to 12.5 kW), which has a high GWP of 2088 (if leaked).
R32 (as a Single Component*) is the FIRST flammable refrigerant in air conditioning equipment since 1928.
* R32 has been used as multi component (mixture) in many other types of refrigerants for many years, namley A1 Classed R407C (R32+r125+r134a) and R410A (R32+R125). Reason for the mixture (especial with R125 high GWP) is to supress the flammability of R32 to be safe and optain A1 Classification
R32 refrigerant is flammable and requires:
Extra Manufacturers compliance , H&S 2016 no.1107 Stautory Instruments, and BEIS (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Stratiegy) UK Statutory Guidance 2016 published August 2017 in line with EU ATEX 34/2014 .
Extra Engineer Safety qualifications in handling A2/A2L refrigerants
Extra installation safety components for A2L Flammable. (ventilation, alarms, pipe protection electrical installation and location of equipment). The following manufacturers recomendation
End users MUST be Informed of the risks by giving them User Manual (example of various major manufacturers)
Responsibilities and Obligations
Manufacturers / Authorised Representative / Importers / Distributor / Specifiers / Installers
- Manufacturers, Authorised Representatives, Importers and Distributors are under Duty & Obligations to meet the following, including CE marking, Labeling :
- Manufacturers must follow " Code of practice on consumer product safety related Recalls and other corrective actions
- Sales leaflets, advertising, websites etc must follow Advertising Standards" The CAP Code".
- Specifiers and designers of building services needs to be aware of the EXTRA HSE requirements and compliance with Statutory Instrument when appyling A2L flammable refrigerants in buildings. They must obtain confirmation for Manufacturers.
- Risk Assesments to take into account of the PROXIMITY of Equipment containg A2L in a fire zones.
- Need to be aware and ensure their clients and users aware of the restrictions in the use and operation of equipment containing flammable refrigerants in Public Buildings and Residentialt premesis
- Multiple Sytems within a Building needs to be of one type of refrigerant to insure compliance, life cycle security and reduce multiple dicipline maintenance.
- AC equipment selection for any Building needs to take account the long term servicibility and availability of spares and long term refrigerant availability.. e.g. R410A non flammable willl be at least till 2040
Installers, Designers, Building Managers and Owners responsibility fall under
a) Written confirmation from Manufacturers, Distributors, importers that products containing flammable R32 meets H&S 2016 no.1107 & meets Code of Practice PAS 7100
b) Installation & maintenance meets the following manufacturers recommendations
c) Installer are qulified and certified to handle (A2/A2L) flammable refrigerants e.g. City & Guilds 6187-21 (in addition to City & Guilds 2079-11,12)
End users and occupiers must be clearly be informed, trained and made aware of risks associated with flammable or explosive refrigerant before installation...
40 years experiance
- Is R32 worth it? even when there is a fales argument that it is more efficient (maybe 5%) and low GWP [ IF LEAKED]? there are 96 million splits sold? how can you control safety? How conciously sell a product that might burn, explode and kill a human being? AND it will be replaced in 2023? It must be withdrawn and replace before another disaster.
-Space Air have been distributing AC equipment since 1980 and have followed all local, National & International Standrds, Dirctives and ISO Standards. The introduction by manufacturers of flammable refrigerent in 2015 by Daikin have created instability in our industry. Space Air have obligations under H&S 2016 no.1107 to inform the MArket Survailance Authority, the manufacturer and the advertising Authority.
-The restriction in the supply of A1 class R410A for small splits is only in the UK!. is unethical and illigal and creates overseas trading restrictions with the rest of the world. While countries like France (largest sale of Heat Pumps systems of over 1 million Europe) heavily restricts the use of any flammables in Public Buildings & insist on safer options.
-Same manufacturers operating in the UK supply R410A everywhere in the world! Why NOT in the UK? it is an illigal Business Cartel forcing flammable refrigerants in Domestic & Public Buildings that does not meet safety and CE regulations.
Space Air have asked the manufacturers to confirm that the product is compliant! so far no response ! Space Air have made a complaints to Trading Standards & Advertising Standards as part of H&S 2016 no.1107 obligations.
- NO BANS for any system or Heat Pumps for larger than 3 kg charge including, multi splits, VRF, Chillers etc.
-The Montreal Protocole / Kigali Amendment (International adopted by 197 Countries including UK) will replace the EU political guidelines, in international effort in the reduction of HFC phase down (A1 & A2L). see Extract EPEE presentation
It is our (all parts of the industry) legal, ethical, and moral duty to provide viable and safe CHOICES to customers . Commercial dictatorship or personal openion have no place when it comes to safety. We must learn from the Grenfell Tower disaster where it started from Refrigerator / Freezer exploded containg R600a a higly explosive refrigerants.
Refrierants used in a DX (direct expansion cycle) are circulated (not consumed) to perform efficient energy transfer from inside to outside (cooling) and outside to inside (heating).
The only release to the atmosphere is due to accidental leaks where F-Gas regulation needs to be adhered to as it is primarily an Environmental qualifications for engineers ensuring Environmentally safe handling of refrigerant.
Government Study of the impact of high GWP refrigerants in Heat Pumps concluded that the carbon benefit of displacing fossil fuels was around 17 times higher than the impact of refrigerant leaks.
Important: F-Gas certification of engineers does not cover any competency on personal or project safety. It sets targets to reduce GWP of refrigerants. There are 3 classes of refrigerants engineers need to be competant to handle (A1, A2/A2L & A3). BSEN378 dictates project installation safety.
Warning signs on all Space Air literature for R32 to meet regulations & directives
Q : Can an R32 system explode? Yes if :
a) Air is in the system with the possibility to ignite during compression cycle or
b) If the installation is in the PRXIMITY of a fire zone. Watch this video (Diesel Effect)
Space Air website have more guidance and advice to ensure the correct and safe use of all LG AC equipment that utilises HFC R32 Refrigerants (an A2L Class - flammable).The following is bad marketing and deceptive by some major manufacturers:
Space Air Terms & Conditions