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R410a substitute

Under the Montreal Protocol, R-22 had to be phased out, prohibiting its further import or distribution. 

The need for drop-in replacements for HVACR companies is paramount, but do they exist for R-410A? Let’s dig deeper.

What Is a Drop-In Replacement?

A drop-in replacement refers to a hardware replacement that doesn’t entail updating the configuration. In other words, it’s a simple, straightforward, and often cost-effective replacement. 

Does R-410A Have a Drop-In Replacement?

R410a replacement options
Alternatives to R410a

As of now, there’s one drop-in replacement for R-410A, and it’s R470A, also known as ComStar International RS-53.

RS-53 is a retrofit replacement for R-410A that’s nonflammable and has a much lower global warming potential or GWP. It meets ASHRAE standards and EPA SNAP approval and is available throughout the United States. 

The A1 coolant is nontoxic and nonflammable, making it a safe option to replace R-410A. It doesn’t require technicians to flush out the polyol ester or POE oils that R-410A air conditioning systems use.

So, what exactly is RS-53? It’s a hydrofluoroolefin, a type of unsaturated compound comprised of organic carbon, fluorine, and hydrogen. HFOs are classified as olefins, making them different from saturated HCFCs and chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs.

The HFO blend of RS-53 is even better for the planet than R-410A. 

How Difficult Is It to Replace an R-410A System with RS-53?

It isn’t, which is the good news. You don’t have to replace or upgrade functioning R-410A system components, including compressors, as RS-53 is compatible with them all. 

You’ll recall that even if there is remaining oil in the lines, RS-53 is designed to work with it. You should still perform a chemical flush on the line. 

There’s no need to swap out the recovery machines, test instruments, and tools you’ve become accustomed to while servicing R-410A systems. 

ComStar Drop-In Replacement Guidelines

ComStar has the following guidance for drop-in replacements of RS-53 for an R-410A system that your HVACR business should strongly consider following.

  • Produce or purchase labels that mention the refrigerant is RS-53 or R470A instead of R-410A to reduce confusion. The labels should be adhered in a visible place on the system. 
  • Every time you install and then service the unit, inspect for leaks and repair them immediately.
  • Confirm that the HVAC unit has the proper cylinders, weighing scales, recovery unit, replacement drier, vacuum pump, and container for recovered lubricant for proper operation. 
  • Run a test of the unit and record its data to get a baseline for how it should function. This can help you detect abnormalities later. 
  • Adjust the thermostatic expansion valve if your unit has one, although residential systems will not. 
  • Review the specifications and guidelines from the manufacturer about how much RS-53 coolant to use in the system. 
  • Check the drier/filter regularly and replace it as needed. 
  • Add a charge amount of RS-53 that’s the equivalent of 90 percent of the R-410A’s charge amount. Then operate the system and use your baseline data to determine if the unit runs efficiently. Look for changes and fluctuations to discharge temperature, suction line temperature and pressure, and sight glasses. 

The Benefits of Drop-In Systems

Switching out R-410A for a drop-in system like RS-53 is advantageous for the following reasons. 

More Support

RS-53 is a newer coolant technology, and as such, runs on units with current support. This ensures the components you need will remain in manufacture and maintenance for longer so that if you have to do repairs, you will have access to the materials you need. 

Easy to Do and Cost-Effective

Switching from R-410A to RS-53 couldn’t be simpler, a saving grace for HVACR companies feeling surprised by the EPA’s phaseout requirements for the former. There’s no need to dump the entire unit or replace major components. 

If you reviewed our guide on converting R-22 to R-410A, you’ll recall that it’s a time-consuming, expensive process. You can save time and money (both of which are precious) by selecting RS-53 instead. 

Better for the Planet 

The EPA has enforced its regulations on R-410A due to its high GWP. RS-53 is much better for the environment. Your HVACR business can feel good about the impact you’re making and the positive change you’re fostering in.

Easier Training

Another inconvenience of retrofitting old systems is learning the ropes all over again. Since RS-53 is a simple drop-in replacement for R-410A, there’s no need for that. Your team won’t have to spend time learning to work with a different system, as it will be the same one they’re already familiar with. 

This will also improve customer satisfaction, as your HVACR company can continue delivering the same sterling level of quality service.