R404A Replacement

Industrial Cooling Equipment Ltd provide a range of R404A replacement services, from free site surveys through to equipment audits, ensuring companies are compliant prior to the 2020 deadline.

On January 1st 2015, new EU F Gas Regulations relating to the use and emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases, including HFCs used as refrigerants, came into force. The regulations affect refrigerants with a Global Warning Potential (GWP) of more than 2500. With a GWP of 3922, R404A is in a group of refrigerant most affected by the regulations.

Although there are many other refrigerants that are affected, such as R507, R422A, R422D and R434A, the one that will affect the industry the most is the ban on R404A. R404A is a HFC blend which is used on low and medium temperature Refrigeration systems, serving applications such as Chill Stores, Cold Rooms and Freezer rooms.


Ban on R404A for Servicing

One of the headline features of the new regulations is a service ban for high GWP refrigerants such as R404A used in existing systems. From 2020, the use of refrigerants such as R404A with a GWP above 2,500 for servicing of refrigeration systems will be banned.


Ban on New Equipment operating on R404A

In addition to the above ban on the use of R404A for servicing, the new regulations also introduced a ban on the use of R404A in all new equipment from 2020.


Price and Availability for the supply of R404A

The price of purchasing R404A has dramatically increased over the past 12 months and is continuing to rise up to 30% month-on-month. Recently, one of the largest refrigerant manufacturers announced its decision to stop the sale of R404A in the EU by 2018 in order to meet the deadline set by the EU’s F Gas regulations.

With severe reductions in quota for the higher GWP refrigerants such as R404A, refrigerant producers have warned of shortages of R404A starting as soon 2018, with availability being predicted as the biggest issue for end-users.


R404A replacement advice & how we can help

  1. Avoid buying any new equipment using R404A or any refrigerants with a GWP above 2,500.
  2. Check whether you have equipment operating on R404A as ignoring the ban could drastically affect your business. If you will be affected, start to consider the best strategy for compliance with ban of R404A now.
  3. Consider the how the predicated shortage of the supply of R404A and the on-going increase in cost, will affect your business in the short term.
  4. Consider how the HFC supply phase down process will affect your strategy for leak prevention and purchase of new equipment.
  5. Check whether you have equipment affected by the new threshold for mandatory installation of automatic leak detection – if you are affected, you need to fit automatic leak detection systems.
  6. Contact ICE Ltd to conduct a free audit of your refrigeration plant.


Retrofitting of R404A Equipment

The most cost-effective way to overcome the R404A ban, is to retrofit to a low GWP refrigerant.

ICE Ltd can conduct a free audit of your refrigeration plant and advise the best way forward for your business. We will evaluate from the system information available to us, such as system model references, age, operating temperature, capacity of equipment and weight of refrigerant, and provide a retrofit proposal to a suitable low or medium GWP refrigerant.

Once confirming that retrofitting your R404A equipment is the best way forward and our proposal has been accepted, an ICE Ltd refrigeration technician will undertake an initial visit to obtain baseline reading to establish the equipment’s normal operating conditions. This information is used to compare readings with those from the new refrigerant and can be invaluable when calibrating the system.

The existing R404A will be recovered with weights recorded and then disposed of inline with F Gas regulations.

An evaluation of each component will be undertaken, and if required, we will replace expansion devices, oil, seals and filter driers. The system will be pressure tested, checked for leaks and evacuated before being charged with the new low or medium GWP refrigerant. Final readings will then be taken and the system will be labelled, detailing the new refrigerant type, weight and total GWP.


Replacement of systems containing R404A

Depending on the age, condition and operating conditions of your R404A plant, the best option could be the replacement of the entire system with new. Although not normally the cheapest option, replacing your R404A equipment with newer, more energy efficient technology could be the best long-term solution.

For R404A replacement with new, there are several options:

  • Medium GWP HFCs, such as R407A and R407F can offer a lot better energy efficiency and much lower GWP compared R404A. Medium GWP options represent good short to medium-term alternatives.
  • Low GWP refrigerants, including R448A and R449A, represent long-term solutions for new plants. Energy efficiency is a major plus point with savings between 5% and 10% on a typical large cold store application or supermarket pack.


There is no better place to make improvements than at the drawing board and design stage. ICE Ltd will carefully consider which refrigerant to use in your new plant with particular attention to leak prevention. Systems will be designed around your current or future business operations, rather than based on what is existing and currently installed.


For more information on R404A, or to arrange a free site survey and audit of your R404A equipment, then contact ICE Ltd by calling 01928 568800 or fill out our online form.