Did you know that you can substantially reduce your air conditioning costs by converting your existing air conditioner system?
Did you know that there are specially made air conditioners already on the market?
The choice is yours.
While legal elsewhere in Australia and supported by Australian Standards, the QLD government doesn't want you to have it. Best be ringing them up to ask them why - someone is probably being bribed.
Contents outline (If you want to skim through this page): • Disclaimer • Technicians • I've heard this before somewhere! • Why hydrocarbon refrigerant?
• Technically speaking • Safety
• The dangers of R32 refrigerant • Is it legal?
• Does it harm equipment?
• Governments conflict • Pioneer Air (off the shelf air conditioners on sale now!)
The following is for information and awareness only. While out of thebox solutions are available (except for QLD), and conversions of existing systems are absolutely technically possible for superior performance and efficiency, such services are not offered here due to current QLD government restrictions.
Who doesn't want to save some 27% off the running costs of their fridge, car, and house air conditioners!?
Are you a technician? I have been devising a conversion formula which was tested in NSW and works with incredible results. The system of concern was designed for R410A and now runs R290. Other refrigerant combinations are supported, such as the conversionfrom R32 to R134A for specific industrial requirements. Contact me if you want ghe conversion formulas for your own use.
I've heard this before somewhere...
So you've probably heard of some idiot whose car air conditioner doesn't work and they fill it up using a BBQ gas bottle or even nitrous oxide - it turns out that this crazy idea is not far from the truth! I wouldn't recommend using BBQ gas, and I wouldn't recommend refrigerant grade propane for car air conditioning for that matter either as the excessive gas pressure could damage the system.
Typically operates at a lower gas pressure than R404A, R410A, or R32.
Offers superior thermal efficiency and performs at greater temperature extremes.
Easier to service and repair than traditional fluorocarbon refrigerants.
Much safer for technicians to service than R32 refrigerant.
Reduced fuel consumption in car air conditioning.
Slim to nil flammability risk (depending on installation scenario and risk assessment & management).
Converting to hydrocarbon refrigerant is an art. Despite naysayers in the industry who don't know how an expansion valve works, an R410A or R32 system technically can be converted to run R290. It can be done, and works exceptionally well when selected and implemented properly by someone who knows what they're doing. If not done properly, it offers poor performance at best and damage your system at worst.
Hydrocarbon refrigerant is safe in small quantities. Fridges and freezers already come with hydrocarbon refrigerant (R600a). Hydrocarbon refrigerant is safer in larger quantities such as commercial systems with sensors and special safety procedures. There are Australian Standards that outline general system requirements. Fire requires fuel, air, and heat - remove one of these and you don't have a fire. Hydrocarbon refrigerants only ignite when there is a certain percentage of hydrocarbon gas in the air - not enough or too much gas in the air and it won't catch fire.
The dangers of R32 refrigerant:
R32 + Air + Compression = Explosion.
Air conditioners containing R32 refrigerant have hit the market. They are cheaper to run than their R410A predecessors. The explosions from R32 systems are worse than that of hydrocarbon refrigerant systems. If you mix air with R32 and compress it (such compression comes from normal operation of an air conditioner), it goes off like a bomb. People have been killed when working on R32 air conditioners, but the government allows it.
The University Of Tokyo and one other university have documented it.
Is it legal? Yes and No.
The conversion of fridges and air conditioners is legal in every other state of Australia except for QLD.
Technicians must understand that if they modify a system, they become the designer and manufacturer of the system and take responsibility if something goes wrong. They must also label the system to warn other technicians that the system contains a different gas to that specified by the original manufacturer of the equipment.
Australian Standards contain details on the requirements of fridges and air conditioners that contain hydrocarbon refrigerant.
QLD does allow some hydrocarbon fridges and air conditioners, which must go through a QLD specific approval process (excessive nanny state legislation, federal legislation allows it straight off the bat) and be installed by hydrocarbon refrigerant licence holders (fair enough).
So why is it not legal in QLD yet? I suspect someone is pocketing money from the prohibition of converting systems to use hydrocarbon refrigerant. Contact the Department of Natural Resources Mines & Energy and get back to me if you hear anything interesting.
Does hydrocarbon refrigerant harm equipment? Absolutely not, in fact quite the contrary, as long as the conversion has been carried out by a licensed professional who has at least also done some hydrocarbon refrigerant training. Hydrocarbon refrigerant is also more universally compatible with a wider range of refrigerant oils and offers better heat transfer over fluorocarbon refrigerants. It is very easy to convert back to fluorocarbon refrigerant if you ever needed to for whatever reason.
Governments conflict on the legality of hydrocarbon refrigerant usage:
To quote the WA Government: "Where an alternative refrigerant is being considered, the compatibility of this refrigerant with the system must be assessed and documented by a competent person prior to the substitution. A person changing a refrigerant to a more flammable refrigerant takes on a role similar to that of a designer of a refrigeration system. For example, for a fixed system a refrigeration engineer must assess the suitability of the system for use with the alternative refrigerant, and ensure compliance with relevant standards including AS/NZS 5149, and the AS/NZS 3000 and other electrical standards."
• In Queensland hydrocarbon refrigerant must only be installed by licensed persons. (Of course!)
• Refrigeration systems including air conditioners (vehicle and fixed), cold rooms, and refrigerators using hydrocarbon refrigerant in Queensland must be approved by an authority approved by the Chief Inspector of Petroleum and Gas. (What!? A certificate, like that required in the electrical trade, is not enough!?)
• Installation owners must ensure that only licensed persons use hydrocarbon refrigerant in their system and that their systems are approved for its use. Do not retrofit hydrocarbon refrigerant into existing air conditioning units that are not built or approved for its use. (Slight modifications to the unit and risk assessment are required, risk management to be implemented where necessary in accordance with Australian Standards)
• Report all suspected illegal instances of hydrocarbon refrigerant to the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate. (Recommendations? Legislation? Other states allow it? The laws of physics are the same no matter where you are, as long as the unit is done to Australian Standards and works properly to customer satisfaction.)
A ready to go solution already for sale (excluding QLD):
If you live outside of QLD and you're after energy efficient air conditioning, I strongly recommend getting in contact with Pioneer Air who sell hydrocarbon refrigerant air conditioners straight out of the box. They produce colder air than other air conditioners, while using less power too. Pioneer Air will not ship to QLD due to current QLD government stoppages.
For those of you in QLD, contact the Department of Natural Resources Mines & Energy and get back to me if you hear anything interesting regarding these units being allowed to be available for sale in QLD.