Gas (nothing to do with the elections)

I just had a guy here to service my heat pump. It’s 13 years old, hasn’t given us any trouble. Early on it was regularly serviced (though I think that amounted to just opening the covers and clearing out any leaves) but then the company I bought it through went bust. So I thought “hmmm… 10 year life expectancy and it’s now 13, probably a good move to get it checked out.”

Long story short. The unit uses R22 gas. This, says the technician, is no longer available and so when anything fails on this unit that’s it. Replacement is the only option.

Now I get that those old gasses were not the nicest things for the environment, and the new ones are kinder and more efficient so you can go a bit lighter on the compressor. He confirmed that the new one will use less and can heat to a higher temperature (the current unit is limited to 60 degrees). Also you get nice stuff like remote control via an app on your phone.

But it got me thinking. What about all these old systems that use these old gasses. Does this mean that I won’t be able to get the A/C in my old Hyundai regassed?

Taking what he said at face value, if anything mechanical goes wrong with an old fridge then that’s it. Chuck it away (sounds like a lot of pollution to me) and buy a new one. New compressors aren’t suitable for the old gas and vice versa.

I presume it’s still working so keep running it until it dies then replace it… :slight_smile:

My father just had an old AEG freezer repaired and converted to the new gas. Let me explain, this freezer was bought in the mid 90s, when AEG was still properly German. It is a chest freezer, something that is becoming increasingly rare. And the thing lasted 30 years and was still working, except the rubber bushings the compressor sits on had perished completely. This meant new compressor… which meant new gas type. The conversion was successful and according to the tech, the freezer should last another 30 years.

So, I think it is quite feasible to convert a heat pump to something else. The question is whether it is economically viable.

Probably the trick is to find somebody not too tightly tied to the manufacturer. Kwikot have no interest in doing such a job because they’d much rather sell me a whole new unit. They measure their business in sales, not in keeping old stuff running past it’s life expectancy (which this one now is).

And there’s a markup too for the guy who actually buys it from them and installs it for you.

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You can’t make a living fixing things! (I speak from personal experience)
I don’t have a problem with this as long as the stuff is recycled responsibly.

Maybe the tech misspoke. I think what is happening is that replacement compressors that use R22 gas is no longer available. That isn’t only the gas, but also the combination of gas and lubricating oil. If you use the wrong oil with the compressor, it can get destroyed pretty quickly.

Converting the system also requires very carefully cleaning out the old lubricant. At least, that is what I heard. In some cases it is almost impossible to do. Case in point, this little BMW i3 EV we bought a year ago. Runs R134a, with POE oil. You must never under any circumstances get any PAG into the system, which literally means buying new clean equipment if your existing equipment has been used on a PAG system.