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R-454B Refrigerant: Frequently Asked Questions

By jsg / in /

R-454B Refrigerant: Frequently Asked Questions

R-454B is a term you might not have come across – unless you happen to be someone associated with the HVAC industry in any capacity. It’s a new refrigerant which is set to replace the one that is currently being used in the HVAC industry.

What exactly is R-454B? How does it differ from other refrigerants? What are the advantages of using R-454B in HVAC systems? Let us take a look.

What is R-454B?

It’s a non-toxic refrigerant developed by Chemours. It is primarily made of two compounds – diflouromethane and 2,3,3,3-tetraflouropropene. Its trademarked names include Solstice 454B, Opteon XL41, and Puron Advance. It’s set to replace R-410A, which is currently the most commonly used refrigerant in residential as well as commercial HVAC units.

What is the Need for Replacing R-410A with R-454B?

R-410A contains hydroflourocarbons (HFC), which are known for their high global warming potential (GWP). Experts say that the production and consumption of HFCs is one of the major contributing factors to climate change.

The compounds contained in R-410A have an atmospheric lifetime of 30 years and a combined GWP of 2088, which is nearly three times higher than the GWP limit set for refrigerants in California. In order to meet the climate goals set under the UN Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment, R-410A is set to be phased out completely and replaced with R-454B.

What are the Advantages of Using R-454B in HVAC Systems?

R-454B has a GWP of 465, which is well below the GWP limit set of 750 under the Kigali Amendment. By adopting R-454B, the US HVAC industry will be able to meet the high GWP phase-down requirements set by the Kigali Amendment over the next decade as well.

One of the reasons why R-454B is considered the most suitable alternative to R-410A is that it matches R-410A’s properties and performance to a significant extent. Its compressor discharge temperatures and overall operating envelope are similar to that of R-410A and it can also improve energy efficiency by up to 5% which is awesome during a recession.

Several companies including Carrier, Mitsubishi Electric, Trane, and Johnson Controls have announced that they will be replacing R-410A with R-454B in their residential and commercial HVAC systems.

How Safe is the R-454B Refrigerant?

R-454B is non-toxic in nature. It belongs to the A2L safety class, which makes it slightly more flammable than the R-410A, which belongs to the A1 safety class. Based on this, R-454B is still safe to use, as it will not be ignited by static electricity. It can ignite only if there is a significant amount of leak – with a concentration level of 11.8% or higher.

The chances of such a leak happening are very low. Moreover, even in the event of an ignition, the resulting thermal energy is likely to be very low – about 2 inches per second of burning velocity. It makes the R-454B refrigerant much safer than propane and many other flammable substances people use on a daily basis.

Can Air Conditioners that Use R-410A Replace it with R-454B?

No. While R-454B is closer to R-410A’s properties than any other refrigerant, it might not be possible to use it in an R-410A system. It’s because the components in an R-410A system might not be able to handle the change in pressure resulting from switching to R-454B.


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