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R22 phase-out: fit for the future

Sanyo’s R22 Renewal system offers ac operators an upgrade from R22 kit, while keeping the existing pipework, as RAC reports

As most in the industry will know, from this month, R22 will no longer be able to be used to top up refrigeration and air conditioning systems.

With an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 air conditioning systems in the UK still reliant on R22, a lot of buildings are potentially exposed.

Despite a chorus of warnings from the industry in the run-up to the ban about insufficient supplies of reclaimed R22, end-users have been slow to invest in new plant. Of course, the downturn hasn’t helped, with widespread freezes on capital spending and investment.

In response, Sanyo Air Conditioners has developed technology that enables rapid conversion of existing R22 systems to new high-efficiency R410A systems at a cost dramatically less than complete new installations. By using existing refrigerant pipework, installation can be sped up and replacement costs cut by around 30 per cent, Sanyo says.

The increased energy efficiency of R410A equipment also offers significant ongoing savings in running costs, with COPs of up to 4.0 compared with 2.5 or less for
older R22 systems.

Sanyo Renewal can be used with existing Sanyo systems but is also compatible with virtually all types of other R22 systems, the firm says. And on mostinstallations, the existing wiring can also be used. Any flare connections are replaced to upgrade the system to allow connection to new system components.

For PACi split systems, installers need to carry out an oil test to check that the system has not been subject to a burn-out or been contaminated by dirt. Pipework isalso checked to ensure it is not damaged and that wall thicknesses are within acceptable guidelines.

For VRF systems, checks are also carried out on pipe lengths and branch networks to ensure they meet current design criteria. Existing indoor and outdoor units are
then replaced with Sanyo products range.

The concept also takes account of the different operating pressures of the refrigerants involved. Sanyo’s Graham Wright says: “For split systems, the pipework check will establish whether the system has the correct wall thickness and pipe-runs to accommodate the working pressures of R410A. This means that some older systems may not be able to be changed, but the vast majority of systems will be suitable for conversion.

“In relation to VRF systems, for some time now Sanyo units have been able to reduce the maximum working pressure to ensure that the system is as efficient as possible. We have effectively been able to reduce system pressures to the same as that in older R22 systems, without losing any capacity from the outdoor unit, by adjusting basic controls within the system.”

Where split systems are being replaced, the outdoor unit is selected from the company’s Classic, Standard or Elite ranges, depending on the level of efficiencyrequired. In the case of VRF systems, any of the firm’s two-pipe or three-pipe options can be applied.

For installers, no special training is required to carry out conversions and the refrigerant is reclaimed in the normal way. On VRF installations the suitability of
pipework needs to be confirmed by a Sanyo distributor or the manufacturer. The Renewal approach can also be applied to existing R407C systems.

Bob Cowlard, Sanyo’s sales and marketing general manager, says: “The arrival of R22 Renewal is great news for both contractors and end users. It enables R22
plant to be quickly replaced with modern, high efficiency air conditioning, saving around a third or more on replacement costs and delivering significant ongoing
savings in energy costs. With energy costs predicted to rise year-on-year for the foreseeable future, the costs of conversion should pay for themselves many times over.”

Mr Cowlard adds: “R22 is still a mainstay for much of the installed base of air conditioning. But there simply won’t be sufficient to go round, and the cost - where it is available - is likely to rise dramatically.”

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