Gas detection / analysis has become increasingly complex and thereby advanced due to fast-changing regulatory and market conditions. What unfolded in 2019 is no exception — from Bacharach introducing several new solutions to winning numerous awards, it was an action-packed year for gas detection / analysis, and HVAC-R stakeholders should take note.
Notable Highlights & New Trends
Whether you have been closely following this blog throughout the year or just more recently joined us, this article highlights the best of gas detection / analysis in 2019 and helps you plan (and make sense of what is to come) for 2020. Let’s get started.
Best of Gas Detection / Analysis in 2019
Two new solutions, two award-winners, and one new app—Here are five highlights of 2019 as we head into the new year.
1. MGS-400 Simplifies Gas Safety Compliance
In January, we launched our MGS-400 Series Gas Detectors, and this comes in at number one on our list of highlights; with the MGS-400, gas safety compliance has never been more intuitive.
In fact, built for extreme temperature refrigeration environments as cold as -40° F/C with optional IP41 or IP66-rated enclosures, MGS-400 Series Gas Detectors help protect personnel and achieve compliance with refrigeration safety standards, such as ASHRAE 15, EN 378, and CS-B52.
Additionally, using the MGS-400 App, users can intuitively use, commission, and maintain gas detectors without the need for special training or tools. Even more, these detectors integrate with the MGS-408 Controller, which centralizes the status of up to 8 gas detection channels in a single location.
2. Legend Ensures Automotive Refrigerant Purity
Along with the changing automotive refrigerant landscape (e.g., numerous new refrigerant choices) brings a growing concern around refrigerant contamination and the rise of illegal refrigerant. As such, ensuring that one is using the right refrigerant through refrigerant identification is of increased importance.
Thus enters the Neutronics Legend Series refrigerant analyzer, which quickly and accurately determines refrigerant purity. It is SAE J2912 Standard certified to check for R-12, R-134a, and R-1234yf and helps ensure vehicle OEMs and shop owners meet requirements for safe air-conditioning system servicing practices.
It’s without surprise then that the Legend Series was chosen as a winner of MOTOR Magazine’s prestigious Top 20 Tools Award.
3. Parasense Refrigerant Management Software Awarded
The Legend Series was not the only award-winner in 2019; in fact, the Parasense Refrigerant Management Software was also one. This brings us to number three on our list of 2019 highlights.
Indeed, Bacharach’s Parasense Refrigerant Management Software was the Gold winner in the Contractor Services & Software category of the 16th annual Dealer Design Awards Program sponsored by The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration NEWS magazine.
4. Mobile App Improves Combustion Testing
In autumn of 2019, we also introduced a new Combustion App for our hand-held combustion and emissions analyzer portfolio, including for the PCA® 400, Fyrite® Insight Plus, and Fyrite® Intech®. The new app allows technicians to easily generate and send customizable combustion reports from their Apple and Android devices. It’s available in the Google Play Store for Android devices and in the App Store for iOS devices.
Ideal for use when conducting combustion tests on furnaces, boilers, and engines, the app is perfect for residential, commercial, and other industrial combustion systems.
5. Monoxor XR CO Raises the Bar for Emissions Testing
The number five spot on this list goes to the launch of the Monoxor® XR CO Analyzer, the latest addition to our line of hand-held analyzer. The Monoxor® XR is designed to measure high-range CO concentrations (up to 80,000 ppm) discharged by forklifts and other combustion engines burning propane, gasoline, diesel, LPG, and CNG.
Among numerous features, it has a flexible exhaust probe for hands-free sampling from exhaust pipes as well as a mobile app to create and share customizable emissions reports.
As you can see, 2019 was full of innovation to help HVAC-R stakeholders perform their jobs more safely and efficiently. Now that we’ve explored the highlights of 2019, let’s move on to what to plan for in 2020.
What to Plan for in 2020
From refrigerant container color changes to new chronically leaking appliance reporting, here is what to plan for in 2020.
1. Changing Refrigerant Container Colors
Holding the number one spot for what to plan for in 2020 is the changes to refrigerant container colors. The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute’s (AHRI) Guideline N, Assignment of Refrigerant Container Colors, calls for all refrigerant containers (except for recovered and recycled refrigerants) to have one uniform paint color, RAL 7044 (a light green gray), by January 2020.
The guideline makes clear that existing inventories are not required to be repainted, and flammable refrigerants must still have a red band on the top of the container.
With more and more refrigerants being introduced on the market, this update to AHRI’s Guideline N is meant to help eliminate confusion for refrigerant handlers. (Guideline N does provide a means for PMS colors to still be used on printed materials.)
2. Complying with U.S. DOE’s Energy Efficiency Requirements for Walk-In Coolers and Freezers
Commercial refrigeration stakeholders should be well-aware by now of the U.S. Department of Energy’s latest energy conservation standard for walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF) taking effect in 2020.
The standard puts in place minimum energy efficiency requirements for WICFs that have a total chilled storage area of less than 3,000 square feet. DOE enforcement takes effect on January 1, 2020, for WICFs with medium-temperature dedicated condensing systems and on July 10, 2020, for ones with low-temperature dedicated condensing systems.
3. New Reporting for Chronically Leaking Appliances
Number three on our list of what to plan for in 2020 is the EPA Section 608’s new chronically leaking appliance reporting requirement for regulated refrigeration and air-conditioning appliances. Specifically, if a regulated appliance leaks 125% or more of its full charge in a calendar year, it’s considered a chronically leaking appliance, and one must now submit a report to the EPA by March 1 of the subsequent year.
4. Keeping Up-To-Date on California’s Refrigerant Requirements
As many regulated facilities are already well-aware, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) annual refrigerant reporting window opens January 1 and closes March 1. Medium and large facilities, as defined in CARB’s Refrigerant Management Program (RMP), are required to report.
When it comes to refrigerant compliance in the state of California, however, the RMP is not the only factor that one should take into consideration for 2020. There’s also the HFC prohibitions, a part of the California Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP).
Most notably, these prohibitions affect retail food refrigeration and are end-use specific. In fact, as of January 1, 2020, several retail food refrigeration end-uses are impacted. See the chart below for details. (The effective dates refer to the date the equipment was manufactured.)
|Prohibited Substance(s)||Effective Date|
|Stand-Alone Medium-Temperature Units with a compressor capacity equal to or greater than 2,200 Btu/hour and Stand-Alone Medium-Temperature Units containing a flooded evaporator (New)||FOR12A, FOR12B, HFC-134a, HFC-227ea, KDD6, R-125/290/134a/600a (55.0/1.0/42.5/1.5), R‑404A, R‑407A, R-407B, R‑407C, R‑407F, R‑410A, R‑410B, R-417A, R‑421A, R‑421B, R‑422A, R‑422B, R‑422C, R‑422D, R‑424A, R‑426A, R‑428A, R‑434A, R‑437A, R-438A, R-507A, RS‑24 (2002 formulation), RS‑44 (2003 formulation), SP34E, THR‑03||January 1, 2020|
|Stand-Alone, Low-Temperature Units (New)||HFC‑227ea, KDD6, R‑125/290/134a/600a (55.0/1.0/42.5/1.5), R‑404A, R‑407A, R‑407B, R‑407C, R‑407F, R‑410A, R‑410B, R‑417A, R‑421A, R‑421B, R-422A, R‑422B, R‑422C, R‑422D, R‑424A, R‑428A, R-434A, R‑437A, R‑438A, R‑507A, RS‑44 (2003 formulation)||January 1, 2020|
5. Complying with the First F-Gas Service Ban
Last but not least on the list is complying with the first F-gas service ban that takes effect January 1, 2020.
Commercial refrigeration equipment with popular HFC refrigerants could be impacted, and it’s best for those with affected refrigerant to have a plan now. Check out our new free guide on the service ban now.
Well, that concludes our highlights of top gas detection/analysis insights of 2019 and what to plan for in 2020.
HVAC-R Professionals Can Rely on Bacharach
The biggest takeaway one can gather from this list is that, now more than ever, HVAC-R stakeholders are faced with increased responsibility due to fast-changing regulatory and market conditions. The good news is, Bacharach understands this; indeed, our mission is to provide the gas instruments and solutions to enhance safety, improve efficiency, and support environmental sustainability. ∎
What are you most concerned about in 2020 when it comes to gas detection / analysis? What are you doing to enhance safety and ensure compliance? Let us know in the comments below.