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  • Writer's pictureMegan Connor

Understanding R-454b: Key considerations for adjusters handling HVAC claims

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the environmental impact of refrigerants, HVAC manufacturers and contractors are looking for more sustainable solutions. One promising alternative is R-454b, a new refrigerant that has been developed as a replacement for R-410A.

R-410A has been a popular refrigerant in HVAC systems for many years, but it has been found to have a high global warming potential (GWP). R-454b, on the other hand, has a much lower GWP, making it a more environmentally friendly choice.

In this article, we define this promising new refrigerant, as well as review several ways in which the transition may impact HVAC claims in years to come and what adjusters should consider when handling HVAC claims.

What is R-454b?

R-454b is a hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) refrigerant that was developed by Honeywell. It is marketed under the brand name Solstice® L41y. This refrigerant has a GWP of 466, which is significantly lower than R-410A's GWP of 2088.

GWP stands for Global Warming Potential, which is a way to measure how much a substance contributes to global warming compared to carbon dioxide. The higher the GWP value of a substance, the more it contributes to climate change. It's used to compare the environmental impact of different substances, such as refrigerants used in HVAC systems.

R-454b is a non-flammable refrigerant that can be used in a wide range of HVAC systems, including air conditioners, heat pumps, and chillers.

It has similar thermodynamic properties to R-410A, making it an easy replacement for this refrigerant.

How will this new refrigerant impact HVAC claims? What adjusters should consider.

As HVAC systems begin to transition to R-454b, it's likely that we'll see a shift in the types of claims that are filed. Here are a few areas where we may see an impact:

1. Refrigerant leaks

One of the most common claims in HVAC insurance is for refrigerant leaks. As HVAC systems transition to R-454b, it's possible that we'll see a decrease in the number of claims related to refrigerant leaks. This is because R-454b has a lower GWP than R-410A, which means that smaller leaks will have a smaller impact on the environment.

2. System compatibility issues

When switching to a new refrigerant, it's important to ensure that the system is compatible with the new refrigerant. HVAC contractors will need to ensure that the materials used in the system are compatible with R-454b. This could lead to claims related to system failures or malfunctions caused by compatibility issues.

3. Retrofitting costs

In order to transition to R-454b, some HVAC systems may require retrofitting. This could involve replacing certain components or making other modifications to the system. HVAC contractors may face claims related to the cost of retrofitting systems to use R-454b.

Overall, the transition to R-454b is a positive step for the HVAC industry. It will help to reduce the environmental impact of HVAC systems and make them more sustainable. However, as with any new technology, there may be some challenges that arise. HVAC contractors and insurance providers will need to be prepared for these challenges and work together to ensure a smooth transition to R-454b.

No matter what refrigerant is being used, an HVAC claim should be investigated thoroughly to understand the claimed cause of loss, repair versus replacement options, and the best path to get the policyholder's property restored to pre-loss condition.

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