The EPA Authorizes TdX 20 Refrigerant as Safer Alternative for R22

The EPA Authorizes TdX 20 Refrigerant as Safer Alternative for R22

The Environmental Protection Agency has authorized TdX 20, made by Bluon Energy, as a safe alternative for other older refrigerants under the Significant New Alternatives Policy scheme. This scheme aims to highlight substitutes for a range of substances that could present an environmental risk or a risk to human health. Global Warming Potential is just one of the things that the program looks at.

TDX 20 is a refrigerant for air conditioning systems and refrigeration systems, and it can be used as a replacement for Freon (R-22), R404A, and R507a.  It is designed to work well with existing HVAC and refrigeration systems, and can be used in both food and retail, as well as home systems. TdX 20 was authorized for use in residential air conditioning systems, and commercial air conditioning systems, in May 2015, and was later authorized for refrigeration use too.

At the time that it was authorized under the SNAP program, TdX 20 had the lowest GWP of any of the R-22 replacements. There are some other refrigerants that are out there which have lower GWP and lower ODP ratings, but most of those will not work with R22 based systems. The thing that sets TdX 20 apart is that it can be used as a drop-in replacement for R22, meaning that owners of older air conditioning systems that were powered by R22 will not need to spend a lot of money replacing the system if that is not an option for them at this time.

In the long term, it may be a better option to upgrade an air conditioning unit to a newer one that uses one of the latest generations of air conditioning refrigerant that could be more energy efficient. However, this can be quite an expensive proposition, especially if you have a large building and a lot of units to replace.  It may be that changing the refrigerant, and perhaps changing the compressor at the same time, would be a good short-term option for improving the efficiency of your system.

How Air Conditioner Efficiency is Measured

Air conditioner efficiency is the ratio between the heat removed from the unit and the power (wattage) that is used. These can be expressed as the EER (Energy Efficiency Ration) and the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio).  The ratings will usually be posted on the label for newer air conditioners, but a very old system may not have that rating.

Some air conditioner makers use the Energy Star program, and the Energy Star label will give you an idea of how the air conditioner compares to other similar units. The Energy Star scale of ratings has changed a few times to add newer ratings as products have become more and more efficient so the scale used will depend on when the product was made.

Why TdX 20?

There was a time when R22 was one of the most efficient refrigerants. Indeed, that is why it became ubiquitous. When it was discovered that R22 was damaging the ozone layer, just like the CFCs that came before it, governments and scientists got together to discuss what could be done. The Montreal Protocol was born out of a desire to phase out substances that are depleting the ozone layer, and one of the substances targeted was R22. The final stage of the Montreal Protocol will complete in January 2020. Industry experts have reached an agreement to find alternatives, and TdX 20 was one of the ones that managed to come to market as a reliable, low ozone depleting potential, low global warming potential products.

TdX 20 is a good choice as an alternative to R22 because it can reduce the electricity consumption of your existing HVAC-R system by at least 5% and by as much as 25%, depending on the type of system that is being used.  The substance has become quite popular with technicians and with homeowners because of this.  It is so efficient because it transports heat at a lower pressure than other systems. This means that you can get better, more efficient use of the compressor and coil compared to other systems. It took Bluon Energy several years to come up with the system that they are using now. They found that by stacking several different refrigerants to make this blend, they ended up with something that was more energy efficient than any of the individual gases in the blend.

TdX 20 is a comparatively inexpensive blend compared to some of the other refrigerants out there. R22 is much, much more expensive already and the price is set to increase year on year as the phase-out draws nearer. Indeed, after the phase-out date it will skyrocket even further in price because no new R22 at all will be getting made. Every leak will deplete the available supply. Every time a decommissioned unit has the gas safely disposed of instead of salvaged, the supply will deplete too.

TdX 20 will work with most HVAC-R systems, and you shouldn’t need to make extensive changes to your unit. Therefore, you can extend the life of your unit and protect the environment at the same time. This makes it a very good investment, and one of the easier options too.

If you’re not sure whether TdX 20 would work in your air conditioning unit then you should contact a local HVAC company to ask them for advice. Do not try to swap out your refrigerant yourself. While there are some ‘guides’ to help people do so, it is illegal for anyone who is not properly certified to work with R22 and other common refrigerants. If the refrigerant leaks then it may damage the environment, and it can also be toxic. Prolonged exposure to it in a confined space could lead to asphyxiation. Rather than taking the risk, have a qualified technician examine and service your air conditioning, and complete any work such as performing a gas recovery or change out. Servicing a unit is far more affordable than having to get the entire unit replaced.


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