Commercial Heat and Air Services in Georgia

Refrigerant Changes Starting in 2024

Estes Services 

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"BO KNOWS" ESTES EDUCATION CENTER

There are several important refrigerant regulatory changes starting in 2024 that could impact your commercial HVAC systems, including from a maintenance, repair, replacement, and/or new installation perspective. That's why, in this article, we will cover what you need to know based on our 75 years of experience serving commercial HVAC systems in the greater Atlanta area.


HFC Refrigerant Phasedown


The American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act is the new national HFC phasedown law in the United States that phases down HFC refrigerants by 85% over the next 15 years. This phasedown behaves in a stepwise manner, and it is important to understand when major reductions in HFC production occur.


Phasedown Schedule


Figure 1 below provides a depiction of the phasedown schedule. For example, January 1, 2022, marked the beginning of the phasedown and the first major step in the reduction of HFC production, which was 10% from the baseline.


40% Reduction Starting in 2024


As seen in Figure 1, January 1, 2024, marks the next major step in the phasedown. In fact, starting in 2024, there will be a 40% reduction in HFC production from the baseline, which is an additional 30% reduction from years 2022-2023.


In terms of the phasedown schedule, this is one of the most major reductions, which has numerous industry stakeholders issuing caution about possible HFC refrigerant shortages and price increases. It is best to take note now.


HFC refrigerants, such as R-410A and R-134a, are common refrigerant types used in commercial buildings and facilities. Commercial building owners, facility managers, property managers, and maintenance personnel should plan accordingly. In fact, preparation and understanding of the refrigerant transition may be an important factor to consider before hiring a commercial HVAC contractor in the Atlanta area.


Moreover, ensuring proper refrigerant handling and implementing preventative maintenance practices in regard to the phasedown will be paramount at your facility. Partnering with a commercial HVAC contractor, like Estes Services, who understands this and has the right licensing and training, will be particularly helpful throughout the phasedown.


At Estes Services, our technicians are EPA Section 608 certified, and we have an award-winning team that monitors such refrigerant changes that could impact how our technicians work on your commercial HVAC equipment. In fact, there is another important element of the AIM Act that you should be aware of that was finalized in October 2023.


Sector-Based Use Restrictions for HFCs


In October 2023, a new final rule under the AIM Act, known as the Technology Transitions Program, was signed that restricts the use of higher-GWP HFC refrigerants in certain refrigeration, air-conditioning, and heat pump equipment. This is an additional layer to the phasedown.


There are new GWP limits on HFCs or HFC blends that take effect on certain compliance dates (i.e., 2025 and beyond), and it varies based on sector and subsector. In essence, the final rule has three main functions:


  • Prohibit the manufacture and import of products* that use higher-GWP HFCs;

  • Prohibit the sale, distribution, and export of those products* three years after the manufacture and import restriction; &

  • Probit the installation of new RACHP systems* that use higher-GWP HFCs


*It is important to note that the final rule has a nuance between products and systems. According to the Fact Sheet on the new Technology Transitions Program, the U.S. EPA is "restricting the sale, distribution, and export of products containing higher-GWP HFCs three years after the manufacture/import restriction dates … EPA is not restricting the manufacture, import, sale, distribution, or export of components that are used to repair existing RACHP systems." However, as it currently stands, there is also a restriction on the installation of certain RACHP systems on certain compliance dates.


Restrictions vary by subsector and take effect on different dates with the earliest beginning January 1, 2025. If the EPA makes any changes to this rule as it stands now, we will provide an update.


Prepare for Refrigerant Regulatory Changes with Estes Services

As you can see, there are several important changes with refrigerants starting in 2024 that you should be aware of. Our team of experts at Estes Services make it easy for you and your team to keep on top of these regulatory changes.


We offer customized commercial HVAC services to help you navigate the HFC refrigerant phasedown, including top-quality repair, retrofit, and replacement. Plus, we offer a great commercial HVAC maintenance membership to ensure that your facility follows preventative maintenance activities and refrigerant handling best practices.


If you have any questions about the HFC refrigerant phasedown or would like to set up a consultation to discuss how this may impact your facility, schedule commercial service today. It's that Easy; It's Estes! Since 1949.