More contractors are ready, trained and quoting R-410A products, according to a survey from Emerson Climate Technologies. The results come from the company’s third contractor and distributor survey designed to measure readiness for the 2010 transition away from R-22 equipment.
In this third survey, 57 percent of the
participants responded that their technicians and staff are ready to support
R-410A, and 14 percent reported that they are exclusively quoting R-410A. This
is a slight 3 percent increase from the survey sent six months
Although the survey shows that the industry continues
to prepare for the transition, Emerson officials report that some contractors
and distributors seem to be pushing their conversions closer to the 2010
deadline. Almost one-fourth of those residential contractors and distributors
who initially planned to convert by 2008, according to the November 2007
survey, have now pushed their transition out to
Commercial contractors and distributors have pushed
their conversions out even further to 2010.
When asked why
they recommend R-22 equipment over R-410A, the predominant answer was the
current cost associated with R-22 system repair versus replacement with an
R-410A system. However, technical issues like line flush requirements,
technician inexperience, lack of training with R-410A and retrofitting existing
equipment are starting to become a larger concern.
latest survey tells us that the industry continues to embrace R-410A, but that
we need to further address contractor and distributor concerns, including
technical issues and technician training, while also continuing to communicate
the importance of earlier conversion,” said Brent Schroeder, president of
Emerson Climate Technologies air-conditioning division.
survey shows that over half of those who said that they bought or stocked ahead
for the 13 SEER transition will do the same this time around, primarily for use
in normal system replacements. However, 58 percent of those surveyed also said
that they expect to see more repairs of R-22 systems as opposed to R-410A
system replacement, primarily due to economic reasons.
“This learning causes us particular concern. A significant increase in demand
for R-22 during the last half of 2009 could have an unsettling effect on the
entire industry. We all remember the shortages, inventory fluctuations and
supply chain issues that made the 13 SEER transition a very tumultuous time for
everyone in the industry. At Emerson Climate Technologies, we are working with
all of our partners to more effectively manage through the R-22 phase-out and
ensure that the customer gets the best long-term solution that meets his
needs,” said Schroder.
Although there are some similarities
between the 13 SEER transition and the upcoming phase-out of R-22, there are
also vast differences. Stocking up on 10-SEER equipment was either necessary or
beneficial from a business perspective in some cases. Stockpiling R-22
equipment may be much less ideal because of the expected increase in
refrigerant price as the supply of this diminishes over the next several years.
In fact, the latest survey results show that contractors and distributors are
definitely noticing that R-22 refrigerant is getting more expensive,
collectively reporting an increase of 59 percent over the past one to two
years. Whereas, according to those surveyed, R-410A refrigerant has only
increased an average of 4 percent over the past year.