New Refrigerant for Ductless Heat Pumps in North America

Mar 12, 2020

Daikin Industries announced that beginning in fall 2020, Daikin will ship a revised model line of ductless heat pumps to the United States charged with R32 refrigerant. Daikin is choosing to move towards the use of R32 refrigerant ahead of federal mandates. Federal and state policies, including policies in California and Washington, mandate global warming potential (GWP) reductions for air conditioning and heat pump refrigerants in the next five to seven years. Federal policy will require a GWP below 700, and the R32 refrigerant has a GWP of 675. R32 refrigerant also slightly improves the energy efficiency of ductless heat pumps in residential air conditioning applications compared to systems using R410A refrigerant, which is currently the most common residential HVAC refrigerant in North America.

Key considerations:

  1. Performance at outdoor temperatures: R32 appears to have similar or slightly better performance compared to R410A at a variety of outdoor temperatures. Under tested conditions, R32 increased efficiency 1%–2% compared to R410A under standard heat pump operating conditions.
  2. Drop-in replacement: Studies show R32 refrigerant can be a drop-in or replacement refrigerant for R410A in heat pump and air conditioning systems. Its properties allow it to operate with compressors designed for R410A.
  3. Technician familiarity: R32 is not new to the industry and is in fact a component of many other common refrigerant blends. Due to its use over the last two decades, it is more available than other exotic blends in the market.
  4. Classification as an A2L refrigerant: “A” classification indicates that R32 is toxic in high concentrations and the “2L” classification indicates it is mildly flammable. The EPA classified R32 and other refrigerants previously deemed mildly flammable as acceptable provided they are only used in new, self-contained equipment with limitations on refrigerant charge. These limitations fall within the typical parameters of ductless heat pump systems.

Other manufacturers have also indicated that systems with alternative refrigerants to R410A are likely to hit North American markets in the next 18 months. Fujitsu has released a partial lineup of R32 residential ductless heat pumps to date as well.

For more information on the evaluation of R32 refrigerant for the U.S. residential HVAC market, click here.