We are often asked whether a retrofit of newer refrigerants is recommended for environmental chambers. Our answer is:
- If your chambers are functioning properly, there is no legislated reason to change-out CFCs in favor of non ozone-depleting refrigerants.
- If your equipment is in need of service, you should consider several options.
- If the repair is minor and the replacement CFC refrigerant is available, you may elect to continue using the CFCs.
- If the repair is major and requires changing the compressor(s) as part of the service, follow a recommended flushing procedure and upgrade to the new HFC or PFC refrigerant. Be certain to ask for specific recommendations from the chamber manufacturer because of the possible need to change valves or other components.
- If the repair is extensive and the chamber is rather old, obsolete the unit and purchase a new chamber which may incorporate many new performance features in addition to the new refrigerants.
- If there is a corporate mandate to eliminate CFCs from your facility, always follow the original equipment manufacturer’s recommendations on the advisability of simply flushing the system and changing to HFCs or PFCs. The more expensive option is to perform a compressor change-out with components designed for HFCs or PFCs. The OEM will then decide whether the new system will result in performance that meets your original specifications while retaining acceptable reliability.
- We recommend that hermetics over three years old should be replaced and semi-hermetics over five years old should be replaced, rather than simply flushing the system. These guidelines should be confirmed for your specific environmental chamber.
Remember that other components, such as valves, oil separators, filter/dryers, or expansion tanks may need to be modified to accommodate the newer refrigerants. And, with the passing of the Clean Air Act and its updates, all refrigerants must be handled as controlled substances by properly certified service personnel.
We Can help
We can help if you have a question about retrofitting HFCs or PFCs in your CSZ chambers. Please call us at (513) 772-8810 and ask to speak to our Technical Service Department, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
. We can develop a detailed recommendation for you or your local service company to implement.