Air Conditioning Terms That May Leave You Tongue Tied!

With spring in the air property management thoughts turn away from the cold winter's bite toward much warmer climates. Along with this turn comes the conversations of the budget associated with air condtioning repairs.

Chances are management teams and maintenance technicians who perform refrigerant repairs have begun discussing strategy. To ensure that the discussion is done with understanding, here are some terms, all starting with R that the conversation will include and their understood definitions:  

Recovered Refrigerant: R-22 removed from a system and placed into a container. This is done to comply with requirements to keep all refrigerants out of the atmosphere. To perform this task a technician will need gauge manifold and hose set, a recovery machine, recovery tank (Grey body and yellow top) and scale to properly document the refrigerant’s usage.

Recycled Refrigerant: This is R-22 refrigerant that is removed from one system and placed in another system on site (owned by the same owner). This is a method that can be used to cut down on the amount of new refrigerant that a property needs to purchase. <Beware: Contaminants in the refrigerant can damage the second system if not handled properly. To properly recycle refrigerant a technician will need to test for acids, know how to identify and remove non-condensables in the recovery tank and filter out moisture and debris in the refrigerant before its reuse.>

Reclaimed Refrigerant: R-22 that is recovered from a system and is not reused on site is turned in to be chemically reconditioned to be used again. This refrigerant is sent to a chemist to be made like the “virgin” refrigerant. It cannot be done on site.

Replacement Refrigerant: A refrigerant that is destined for long term use in a new system designed specifically for that refrigerant. (Examples R-407C and R-410A) In many situations using replacement refrigerant requires removal and replacement of most or all of the existing equipment.

Retrofit Refrigerant: This is a refrigerant that is used in place of the refrigerant that the system was designed for. Generally this is done to enable the continued operation of existing equipment while saving money on the cost of refrigerant. (Example R-438, R-427A and R-422B) <Beware: Often this type is misleadingly referred to as a “drop in”.  Refrigerants are NOT to be mixed in a system. The proper installation of a retrofit refrigerant includes removal of the original R-22, pulling a 500 micron vacuum and then installing the new refrigerant determined by Superheat or Subcool calculation.>

 These “R” terms at times can be confusing.  To understand the need for these terms, roll your tongue while rrrrrepeating the following rrrrregularly: 

"Rapid Reduction in Ready amounts of R22 Refrigerant Require Righteous Remedies of Resident Repair Requests!"

See you somewhere! (Bonus points if you can tell me how many times the "R" key was pressed in this post)