Votsch chambers mainly use the following gases: R134a, R404A and R23.
Until recently any machine with > 3 kgs of refrigerant gas had, by law, to be leak tested annually by a qualified Engineer and a log kept of those tests.
In January 2015 the law changed. Now the threshold is expressed in equivalent tonnes of CO₂. If the equivalent tonnage is between 5 and 50 tonnes you must leak test annually. Each gas has a conversion factor called its Global Warming Potential. The three GWPs are:
R134a: 1,430 so the threshold for leak testing is 5000/1428 = 3.5kg
R404A: 3,922 so the threshold for leak testing is 5000/3922 = 1.27kg
R23: 14,800 so the threshold for leak testing is 5000/12240 = 0.34kg
It is the responsibility of the end user/owner of the chamber to adhere to these regulations and to only employ a registered company, see http://www.fgasregistration.ie. You can be subject to an audit by the EPA at any time and if not compliant the owner/end user can suffer heavy fines.
On installation, during a PM visit or on request DACTEC Ltd perform a leak test and supply/add to a gas log.
In addition gases after 2020 gases with a GWP > 2500 cannot be used in the manufacture of new chambers but R404A can be used in different forms until 2030. R23 is not covered by this regulation.
After 2030 gases with a GWP > 2500 (Excluding R23) cannot be used for service work and will be considered hazardous waste if removed from a chamber.
New chambers come as standard with R404A which can be serviced until 2030. However if you wish they can be made with R449A for a nominal charge. R449A has a GWP of 1,397 so is well below the threshold.
Our new range of ClimeEvent chambers will supersede the existing designs & will come with R449A as standard. They also have an improved air flow design and temperature control system. Their new control surface is up to date and intuitive. They can be controlled from the internet by multiple users without the need for special software or an app. You can also set the run time as well as doing a ramp in the manual mode.
In the case of a chamber with R404A Weiss/Votsch recommend using R452A (GWP of 2,141) as a ‘drop in’ substitute if really necessary. Some minor adjustments are required of the refrigeration components.
Votsch/Weiss have performed thousands of hours of testing with R449A and R452A to check their performance successfully.