Dometic Changing to Eco-Friendly HVAC Refrigerant

By Jan. 1, 2010, all Dometic RV air conditioners and heat pump models
will use a new refrigerant called 410A, which does not affect the ozone
or contribute to global warming, according to Brad Sargent, vice
president of marketing.

The current refrigerant, R22, is being phased out by U.S.
government law requiring its elimination and the use of “green” gases in
such products beginning Jan. 1, 2010.

All DuoTherm, Brisk Air and Penguin brands will be affected. The
new products using 410A will be identifiable by a green leaf label
affixed to the shroud.

“In going to this new refrigerant we had to redesign our whole
refrigerant system, all the way from new compressors, evaporator and
condenser coils to the manufacturing process, in order to accommodate
the transition to this eco-friendly refrigerant,” said Sargent. “We did a
great deal of lab testing on each of our models to optimize performance
before launching a significant field test late 2008. We’ve done our
homework.”

“One thing that’s important for people to know,” he said, “is that
the new law affects only new production of HVAC products beginning Jan.
1, 2010. If a dealer or OEM has inventory of R22 air conditioners or
heat pump air conditioners, or RVs with R22 HVAC products built before
the Jan. 1, 2010, deadline, the law allows the market to sell out of the
R22 product without any penalties. For those who have existing
inventory, it’s fine to go ahead and sell them after the deadline.”

Consumers needing warranty or service work on a R22 unit after the
government mandated date will also see some changes. The cost of R22
will escalate until it is no longer economically feasible to repair the
unit, so if a warrantied product loses its refrigerant charge, Dometic
will replace the R22 system with the new 410A system.

Because the 410A refrigerant is characteristically less efficient
than R22, each Dometic model went from low-pressure to a high-pressure
system, which required design changes to rebalance the internal
components in order to reach the proper comfort performance levels for
each model.

“The new redesigned units will be more expensive due to a number of
factors, including more costly compressors that are designed for the
new refrigerant as well as new high-pressure tubing,” Sargent explained.
“We are still evaluating the overall cost impact of these design
changes. We’ve done the proper investment and testing to ensure we’ll
still be providing the high-quality product we’ve been known to provide,
right out of the gate.”

Besides using a green refrigerant mandated by law, Dometic has done
other things on its own during the redesign process to further extend
the environmentally friendly nature of its products. Engineering teams
evaluated the energy it takes to make the product and worked to reduce
that as much as possible, in addition to using recyclable materials, in
an effort to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

Prior to this project, Dometic has taken on several initiatives to
be more earth-conscious, such as using an eco-friendly blowing agent in
its foam insulation in all absorption refrigerators with zero Global
Warming Potential (GWP), recycling scrap aluminum and metal,
prioritizing environmental programs and optimizing products for
low-energy consumption.

For more information, contact Dometic at 574-294-2511 or visit Dometic USA.

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