More contractors are ready, trained in and processing quotes with 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-using equipment.

In this 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 3 percent increase from the survey done six months earlier.

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 to 2009.

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 larger concerns.

“This 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.

This survey shows that over half of those who said that they bought or stocked ahead for the 13 seasonal energy-efficiency rating change in 2006 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,” Schroeder said. “We all remember the shortages, inventory fluctuations and supply chain issues that made the 13-SEER (seasonal energy-efficiency rating) 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,” he added.