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This sections contains information on the air conditioners in Singapore using refrigerant R410A and R22. It also has information on Montreal Protocol.



R410A or R22?

Introduction
Getting an air conditioner for your new home or a replacement for your already "expired" unit?
You probably would encounter people telling you about R22 and R410A. So what is that actually?

Montreal Protocol
This is because of the Montreal Protocol initated by United Nations Environmental Programme.
Singapore (we belong to Article 5 Parties, Developing Countries ), under the Montreal Protocol, has agreed to freeze all production and selling of Hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which includes R22 refridergant used in our air con, by 2016.

In others words,
1) there will not be anyone selling and producing R22 products and also trading of R22 refrigerant on 1st Jan 2016.
2) But using of R22 and its products will still be legal and users will still be able to attain R22 supplies and parts. And by 2040, there will be no R22 and its product in Singapore.
3) These dates are the lastest deadline, any countries can choose to implement the measures earlier. Or the airconditioners manufactuers can choose to introduce their R410A models and phasing out their R22 models earlier than the required deadline.

But what is so great about the R410A over R22???
What most people know abt R410A
1) it is environmental friendly*
2) more efficent thus lower electrical bills
3) able to cool faster using less energy**


*not entirely environmental friendly as R410A still has a high Global Warming Potential.
** contributes certain percentage to the improvement but most credit should be attribute to the improvement in technology.

But what most people do not know abt R410A
1) it has a higher operating pressure abt 1.5 times more than R22

2) Zero Ozone Depletion Potential
3) Higher heat carrying capacity
4) it requires slightly stricter installation procedures
5) those handling R410A must attend some sort of training
6) new equipment must be purchased for R410A installation as those used R22 is not suitable
7) more expensive to maintain airconditioners using R410A (at least as of 11th Dec 2006)

So should we buy a R410A air conditioner now?
Look at the timeline, it is a good 9 years away, enough time to do a replacement Airconditioner these days last between 6 to 7 years on average, subjected to usage pattern and maintenance, though it still may be possible to last 10 years or above (
http://www.daikin.com.sg/faq.asp).
** But replacing an airconditioner of 10years with a new more efficient model can save you up to 40% in your cooling bill according to US Department of Energy
So does it seems logical to get the R22 now and wait till it spoils and maybe then consider a R410A air con?

Then why in this case do manufacturers want to bring in their R410A model earlier instead of keeping to R22 till 2016?
1) They ,as international companies, need to play a part in making the world a better place, in terms of environmental matters. Understand? Image issue....
2) The trend is moving towards R410A and using this refrigerant does indeed allows a more efficient air conditioner.
3) The developed countries had already started phasing out R22 therefore it is not logical (economically) for the manufactuers to produce the same model of airconditiones using both R22 and R410A for all the markets.

How abt us? As consumers?
1) Will it be a risk to purchase the R410A now?
Basically, now in market most inverters use R410A while most non inverter are still using R22. But we will be seeing much more of R410A air conditioners in very near future especially with the ever increasing regulations on energy efficiency labels.

2)Will it be very expensive to 'refill' the R410A?
YES! Currently it is about 2 times more expensive than R22. Producing R410A requires more expensive raw materials, more manufacturing processes, and are still not having a production quantity that of R22. But as the Montreal Protocol takes effect on the developed countries and on a later time the developing countries, the trend will shift.
BUT wait!!! Why should there be a need to 'refill' or charge your airconditioner with R410A? or R22??
Both the refridergants do not 'used up' over the time like petrol in cars, the only reason why you should ever refill is because there is some kind of leakage in your piping system or it was not sufficiently charged in the first place.

So how now??? Get a R22?
My answer? Yes...go for R410A. For the environment.


Why R410A?
1) Environmental Friendly!!!!!!!!
R22 is a Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which is an Ozone Depleting Substance.

2) More Energy Efficient
Airconditioners using R410A usually have slightly better EER than those using R22.

3) More Reliable.
Airconditioners using R410A are designed for heavier duty and has a thicker compressor shell as compared to airconditioners using R22.

4) Slightly Quieter.
The parts generally smaller and sturdier thus has less vibrations.

5) 'Cleaner' Piping system
Most of the airconditioners using R410A has an additional device called “filter drier”. Its purpose is to filters, cleans, and dries the refrigerant and oil as 'moves' through the piping system.

Finally
1) Manufactuers will usually recommend that the installers and technicans be trained in installing, handling and servicing R410A and its equipment.
2) It will be advisable for you as a consumer to request to see the installers or technicans certification so to ensure they have gone through proper training and have the ability to install or service your unit properly.


Links to Montreal Protocol (General )
United Nations Environmental Programme (Main Website for Montreal Protocol)
http://ozone.unep.org/Treaties_and_Ratification/2B_montreal_protocol.asp
** U can download the Full Text of Montreal Protocol from the link below the above website

Alternative Flurocarbon Enviromental Acceptability Study
http://www.afeas.org/montreal_protocol.html

TheOzoneHole
http://www.theozonehole.com/montreal.htm

United Nations Development Programme
http://www.undp.org/montrealprotocol/montreal_new1.htm

US Environmental Protection Agency
www.epa.gov/ozone/record/downloads/Appendices.pdf (PDF)

Links to Montreal Protocal (Singapore Obligations)
Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources
http://app.mewr.gov.sg/press.asp?id=SAS598

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