What is R1234yf and what should I know?
You may have heard a lot of people talking about "old" and "new" gas in the world of vehicle Air Conditioning and wonder what it's all about? Well, firstly, there is no need to panic.
R134a, referred to as the old gas, will not be phased out. It will, however, be regulated and taxed heavily. Newer vehicles are being fitted with Air Conditioning Systems that operate using a new gas known as R1234yf.
The change is environmentally driven. More precisely, it is to do with the length of time refrigerants can remain in the upper atmosphere. R134a can take up to 10 years to breakdown into a non-greenhouse gas. About 25 years ago this was considered a vast improvement on R12 which had some 100 years plus life span before it broke down. R1234yf is another step forward in protecting our environment, taking between only three and four years to break down in the upper atmosphere.
You have Time
Relax! Now is the perfect time to train, tool up and offer vehicle air conditioning services using responsible air conditioning tools and systems. R1234yf has only recently been introduced, so there is plenty of time to understand the processes for dealing with the new gas. Currently, around 80% of vehicles will still be on R134a.
With the quick breakdown of R1234yf comes the need to purchase an up to date machine to recover and recycle the new refrigerant. You will also need to understand the new oil compatibility issues with R1234yf and what happens when refrigerants mix.
The performance of R1234yf is very similar to R134a. There will be no major changes to system components. There will however be to the H-block, hoses and the programming in the module that controls the HVAC system.
Your New Air Con Refrigerant
Current prices for the new refrigerant are high, at around double the cost of the old R134a. It's expected that this price will come down significantly in the next few years as production plants around the world ramp up output.