Technological advances and changing regulations have resulted in the HVAC
and refrigeration industry moving away from hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) to
hydro fluorocarbons (HFC) and natural refrigerants that reduce their ozone
These trends will have an effect on the behaviour of refrigeration
gauges: While old-style analogue devices will require calibration every time a
new substance is required to be measured, digital gadgets come pre-programmed
to tackle a number of different refrigerants, ensuring technicians can save
time and minimise errors.
For instance, the R22 refrigerant is being phased out internationally
through new regulations. In accordance with the Montreal Protocol on Substances
that Deplete the Ozone Layer, countries from across the globe have agreed to
limit the use of refrigerants and other substances that cause undue
environmental harm. Towards this objective, R22 import quotas have been
reduced, and the refrigerant is expected to be completely phased out by 2030.
The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Airconditioning and Heating
CEO Phil Wilkinson explains that companies will need to react quickly to find
replacements for these soon-to-be phased out refrigerants. The continued use of
R22 presents a risk to owners or managers of building assets, while the reduced
availability is pushing up the price of the refrigerant, where available. The availability
of the refrigerant is expected to be highly constrained from 2016 onwards.
In a June 19 interview with Climate Control News, Australian
Refrigeration Association President Tim Edwards outlined his view of the
industry’s future. Mr Edwards strongly believes the next few years will be
defined by synthetic and natural refrigerants, mostly due to environmental
He notes that HCFCs have become history and will be followed by HFCs,
with the available choices coming down to natural refrigerants and HFOs.
According to Mr Edwards, these replacements are likely to offer
increased efficiency over their HCFC counterparts, provided the systems are
running as intended.
As an industry-leading test equipment provider, testo offers digital
measuring devices already equipped to handle a range of refrigerants. The new
flagship of the range, the testo 557, is ready to handle 60 different
refrigerants straight out of the box.