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US manufacturers line up behind R454B

USA: Lennox has become the latest US manufacturer to announce a switch to lower GWP refrigerant R454B across all its residential HVAC products.

Last month, Johnson Controls announced the launch of a brand-new suite of residential products optimised for use with the same refrigerant.

An A2L lower flammability refrigerant, R454B is a blend of R32 and R1234yf with a GWP of 466. 

Lennox’s new R454B residential line will include heat pumps and air conditioning units. The full line of commercial rooftop units and ducted split systems will also feature R454B, including its award-winning Model L and Enlight RTUs. The products will also include leak detection technology. 

Earlier this year, Lennox’s Advanced Distributor Products business launched a multi-refrigerant coil designed to help HVAC contractors and distributors transition from R410A to any low GWP refrigerant. 

Its Allied Air Enterprises business, responsible for the Armstrong Air, AirEase, Concord, Ducane, Allied Commercial and MagicPak brands, will also be transitioning to the new refrigerant.

Among other products making the switch are Johnson Controls’ entry, mid- and high-efficiency heat pumps, as well as the entry and mid-tier air conditioners. These products have improved features, which Johnson Controls says makes them faster to install and service.

The American Innovation and Manufacturing Act mandates an 85% reduction in HFC gases by 2036. For stationary air conditioning and heat pumps, the final rule calls for a 700 GWP limit for most new comfort cooling equipment, starting January 1, 2025.

Lower GWP refrigerants, led by R32 and its GWP of 677, were first introduced into Europe more than 10 years ago. Driven by Daikin, R32 became the refrigerant of choice to replace R410A, particularly in smaller residential DX systems. 

Arriving later to market, R454B was first developed by Chemours and has previously been adopted for equipment sold in Europe by US manufacturers Carrier, Trane and Johnson Controls, along with a number of leading European manufacturers. R454B benefits from having a lower GWP but R32 is preferred by some for being a single component refrigerant.

While Lennox in the USA has plumped for R454B, its former European subsidiary, Lennox EMEA, which it sold off last year, has majored on the use of R32.  

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