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  1. #1
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    The R32 Elephant



    R32 has been with us for a year and a bit.

    The first thought is that it is nothing especially different, as the blend of gases is exactly the same as R410a but one of the three gases is missing. Slightly flammable means nothing different, really. The pressures are practically the same so carry on with the same gauges. The install is no different, even with topping up, so no real difference to the installing engineers.

    I went along to the Daikin seminar last year and was struck by the blasé presentation. There was a film of someone (must have been in Asia) who opened up a bottle of R32 to atmosphere (we all held our breath) and he held a spark-lighter in front of the jet of gas, sparking it up to see what happened with the gas. The R32 flashed into flames and, when the lighter stopped sparking, the flames went out. That was to demonstrate that the R32 needed a constant igniter (like a spark-plug in a car or a blowtorch) to create the flames and keep the R32 flames alight.

    And the instructor went on to say that if a room was full of the gas, the speed of the flame from the point of ignition was about (can’t recall exactly) something like one foot per 3seconds, and he assured us all that was “enough time for you to grab your toolbag and get out through the door safely”.

    Well, no worries we all thought. And with distributors taking advantage of the rationing to raise their R410a prices through the roof…… Tally Ho!

    But it’s not all that simple and safe, is it.

    The first thing is to search the internet for “R32” and “Explosion” and you will see a vid of the sidewall of a building blown out from an R32 explosion. And another vid of an engineer disappearing out of shot when working on an R32 condenser. Hmmmmm. They did not mention this in the nice Daikin Seminar, which is strange.

    And when I went looking for an engineer to reclaim the gas from an R32 system that had a leak, they all went a bit wobbly at the knees and said they were busy with 2-3wks work. When I asked around for engineers with an R32 reclaim unit (last autumn) I was surprised to find that none of the engineers I checked with had a shiny-new reclaim unit. One said he had TWO, which turned out to be two R410a units - he was using them for R32, as it was a load of old twoddle, treating R32 the same as R410a.

    I also asked Yellow Jacket about the reclaim unit used by another engineer, to see if it that model was good for R32 (the engineer was unsure and unwilling to use it on R32 btw). The YJ man said it was not quite up to R32 as it did not have all the safety features of the R32 reclaim units. Curious, I asked about the features, what sort they were. One feature was the 5m-cord 'eh, why 5m?' I asked. Well, it was so the switch on the plug was far away from the reclaim unit to guard against a spark at the plug setting off any gas around the reclaim unit (blimey!).

    The YJ man went on to say that when R32 is in the condenser and in the system, it is classed as “Slightly Flammable”. (I knew that.) When it gets reclaimed, as soon as R32 goes into the reclaim unit it is no longer slightly anything – it is a ‘flammable gas’. And when it goes into a reclaim bottle it is a ‘flammable gas’. (omg)

    Hmmmmm. That nice seminar Daikin instructor did not mention anything about this in the Daikin Seminar.

    Talking with engineers about this subject, I have also heard tell of R410a VRF systems being topped or refilled with R32 after leaks/repairs, due to the high cost of 410a. (That was not my engineers but they had spoken with others etc). Blimey. So, subsequent following engineers (unknowing) might come along to such systems, thinking it is pure R410a and use their trusty 410a reclaim unit to reclaim the “r410a” gas and …………………… well.

    Okay, show of hands:

    Who has installed R32 systems? (Quite a few hands)
    Who has reclaimed R32 or is willing to reclaim it? (less hands)
    Who has an R32 reclaim unit with all the safety features (not just an R410a unit)?
    Who is fully trained to handle flammable gases, such as reclaimed R32, and Propane etc?

    Any comments on this?



  2. #2
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    Re: The R32 Elephant

    Good post Makeit go Right...Rep points added
    I'm back on the Pale

  3. #3
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    Re: The R32 Elephant

    I totally agree with Frank.
    A brilliant post.
    I bet your Engineers appreciate your pragmatic approach.
    I recently attended the Flammable pink girly gas course.
    ( No disrespect to those that work with this stuff!)
    Just not a fan of being sold yet another line of Snake oil

    Nothing was a problem!

    Just sign here to say you have applied all the correct risk assessments and by the way if anything goes wrong its your fault! (Corporate answer!)
    Grizzly
    Rep points added.
    Last edited by Grizzly; 10-05-2019 at 06:00 PM.
    Despite the High Cost of Living it still remains Popular!

  4. #4
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    Re: The R32 Elephant

    Ive not worked with R32 yet but i work with R290, R600 and R1270 and have the correct recovery machine and cylinders to recovery the refrigerant.

    When i sat my hydrocarbon course they mentioned about transporting the reclaimed refrigerant and it being classed as flammable gas, when we questioned the safety of transporting it the tutor explained that the cylinder he would be more worried about would be the Acetylene as it would burn longer and quicker than any reclaimed refrigerant.

    As long as you know what your doing on the hydrocarbon units i dont see an issue with working on them, once youve had to braze in new components on a hydrocarbon unit the rest is a breeze

  5. #5
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    Re: The R32 Elephant

    I am facing this at the moment, new multi unit onto new indoor units that can take either R410a or R32.

    LG have both models available, the R410 version is last in the series before they have now switched manufacturer to R32 units and £50 cheaper.

    My thinking is that the R410 unit will be more refined in terms of software whereas the R32 might still need refining when the next revised version comes out.

    Plus the R410 version has the gold fin and the R32 the black fin so a slight difference there.

    Not sure what to do! On paper the comparison is that the R32 is slightly more efficient and forecasted Annual Energy consumption is 33kw more on the R410 unit.

    My concern is around longevity and reliability.

  6. #6
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    Re: The R32 Elephant

    Cooling Post Daikin will change over from R32 to another refrigerant in 2023.
    Didn't last very long did it.
    Gibbo

  7. #7
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    Re: The R32 Elephant

    Found this after you posted. Guess that is the next one:
    JAPAN: Daikin: "Announcing the air conditioning manufacturer’s latest financial figures last week, president and CEO Masanori Togawa told Japanese journalists that the company was employing AI technology to develop a new refrigerant with a GWP of 10 or less. This, he hoped, would be introduced in 2023. He did, however, indicate that, like R32, it would be a 'mildly flammable' A2L."

    This is not too good either, four years and all change again:
    "Plans for a new refrigerant are not unexpected. R32 was only ever perceived by Daikin as a medium-term solution in the drive to reduce air conditioning’s contribution to global warming."

    Last edited by Makeit go Right; 16-05-2019 at 11:35 PM.

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