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The days of easily obtaining R404A are definitely numbered.

R404A is an HFC refrigerant. As you are aware, a quota system is now in place for importing HFC refrigerants and this reduces every two years. The available import quantity of HFCs is based on the global warming potential (GWP) of each refrigerant. The higher the GWP the less that can be imported. R404A has the highest GWP of the common HFCs currently imported. As an example, you could bring in 3 times as much R134a as you could R404A as their GWPs are 1300 and 3943 respectively. R404A’s high GWP will limit its import and its price is likely to elevate quickly. Lower GWP alternatives are now available for retrofi tting most common refrigerants.

These are blends of HFC and HFO refrigerants (where HFO refrigerants have nearly zero GWP) and the blends have characteristics very similar to the HFC refrigerant they are replacing. Importantly they are non-flammable. Changing to low GWP will prolong the availability of refrigerants that can be used on existing systems.
The days of easily obtaining R404A are definitely numbered.

The confusing part now is choosing which alternative to use. Already we see a lot of contenders and the following table lists the main choices.

Type

ASHRAE No

Brand name

GWP (AR5)

Glide

Flammable

HFC R404A R404A 3943 0.9 No (A1)
HFC R407A Suva 407A 1923 4.1 No (A1)
HFC R407F Performax LT 1674 4.3 No (A1)
HFO/HFC R448A Solstice N40 1273 3.5 No (A1)
HFO/HFC R449A Opteon XP40 1282 3.3 No (A1)
HFO/HFC R449B Forane 449B 1296 3.4 No (A1)
HFO/HFC R452A Opteon XP44 1945 1.8 No (A1)

The lowest GWP alternatives are R448A, R449A, and R449B. Excluding R449B for the minute as it is yet to be released in Australia, we compare R448A and R449A.

R448A has a slight improvement over R449A in:

- Refrigerant capacity

- Charge size

- COP

With this comparison in mind, we recommend R448A as the preferred alternative. Replacement refrigerants are available through all Prime refrigerant outlets. Ask at any Actrol branch.

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