Things are looking up for the refrigerant phaseout scheduled to begin in 2010. Emerson Climate Technologies, a business of Emerson, says results from the company’s second contractor and distributor survey has found 70% of respondents are quoting R-410A and R-22 equipment, while 64% say they are training their technicians to service and install R-410A equipment
Emerson conducted the surveys as a way to measure contractor readiness for the 2010 transition away from R-22 equipment.

The 64% who say they’re engaged in R-410A training represent an 11% increase over responses to the question six months ago.

Emerson says a key finding of the new survey is that more customers are requesting R-410A equipment; 15% of those surveyed (up from 10 percent in the last survey) reported that more than 40% of their customers are requesting R-410A equipment. Emerson links this trend to the increasing importance among end-users that equipment be more efficient and environmentally-friendly, as well as the growing awareness that R-22 equipment will become expensive to maintain in future years.

Two-thirds of those surveyed said they cite both environmental concerns and long-term costs when explaining the benefits of R-410A equipment to their customers.

"We're glad to see that more HVAC professionals are beginning to transition their business toward R-410A bearing equipment in advance of 2010," says Scott Barbour, president, Emerson Climate Technologies Air Conditioning Division. "This latest survey tells us that the industry is accelerating the transition, but we need to continue increasing the forward momentum to ensure we’re all prepared to provide the best, most responsible options for our customers.

"With contractors and distributors already reporting significant price increases for replacement R-22 refrigerant, the industry must focus on the realities of long-term cost and availability of replacement parts and refrigerant, and thus the importance of making the switch to HFCs like R-410A as quickly as possible."

Thirty nine percent of survey respondents say they will wait until 2010 to convert the majority of their sales to R-410A equipment. When asked why they recommend R-22 equipment over R-410A, retrofit concerns and short-term economics were the predominant answers. They pointed to the fact that R-22 has a lower price to their customers for outdoor and indoor equipment.

Both contractors and distributors have noticed that R-22 refrigerant is getting more expensive, and report increases from 20-100% over the past two years. In addition, 44% reported they worry about the availability of R-22 refrigerant and parts for service after 2010. Finally, 52% reported concerns over retrofit issues, including line set change-outs, equipment mismatch and size differences of the new equipment.

For additional information on R-410A readiness, including Emerson technical white papers, contractor checklists, and more, visit EmersonClimate.com/refrigerant/ac.