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R22/R134A conversion

R22/R134A conversion

R22/R134A conversion


I am a chronic do it yourselfer and I am putting some serious thought into converting my old electric tank water heater into a water preheat tank for my tankless gas water heater.  It will be preheated during the summer by a through-the-wall unit mounted in the garage blowing cold air inside the house and expelling heat into the water tank and (vented) garage.  The A/C will be fitted with a shell and tube consenser in series with the current condenser.  I have not been able to find a small window unit employing R134a, which is the only ype of refrigerant I can use since I am not licensed for anything else.  When the R22 is removed for the modification, what can I do to get the same performance from R134a?  I am afraid that if I make these modifications I will not be able to find anyone that will charge it back up for me.

RE: R22/R134A conversion

Even if you were licensed to do it, I don't think it's a good idea, because any refrigerant leak would go into your potable water.

How about making up a water to air exchanger (like a refrigerant condenser, but don't use a used one), and strap it onto the hot air exit of the a/c condenser?  Yeah, it's probably inefficient, but you're recovering waste heat, so who cares?

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: R22/R134A conversion

another problem...
the R22 compressor has a different pumping capacity than R134...
don't expect much heat


RE: R22/R134A conversion

To get the same performance from R-134A as R-22, don't you just add (134/22 x 1) as much refrigerant to the new system??

RE: R22/R134A conversion

No, that isn't how the refrigerant numbers work.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: R22/R134A conversion

Rather than try to guess the properties of refrigerants, you should get pressure/enthalpy diagrams and tables from the manufacturer or ASHRAE volumes.

When you compare the properties of 134a and R22, the problems will become obvious.

RE: R22/R134A conversion

I believe this is your best bet fo a retrofit
ISCEONĀ® MO59 is an easy-to-use, non-ozone-depleting HFC retrofit refrigerant for R-22 in direct expansion stationary air conditioning (AC) and medium-temperature commercial refrigeration systems.

RE: R22/R134A conversion

A unit was made about 20 years ago to do just what you want to do.  Maybe you can find one.  I have two in the garage that I am trying to give away.  Mine were branded by Lennox, but they didn't manufacture it.  I forget who did, but all the major brands put their name on them.

It installed between the compressor discharge and the condenser and had a pump that circulated water from the water heater tank no matter what the heat source would be.  It lowered the head pressure and helped the unit's efficiency.

A neighbor installed one on a 3 ton home unit (R-22) when I bought mine and it worked too good.  It made more hot water in an hour than he could use in a day with a family of four.

Plus, it produced water at about 190F and after a while (about an hour) the tank saturated at 190F.  It lost its effectiveness (on the A/C side) at that time.

He and I both had small children, 2-3 years of age, and upon seeing how well his system worked, my wife forbade me from installing mine.  I agreed with her that the potential for scalding a kid wasn't worth the savings on the light bill.  So I still have them.


RE: R22/R134A conversion


That is an interesting device you have.  What part of the country do you live in?  It would be handy if you were in North Texas.  I had planned on using an ac unit with manual controls and then use the water heater's thermostat to kill the power when it reached 120F.  If I had one of these, I could just kill the power to the pump with the thermostat.  The initial idea was to use the central ac, but proximity to the water heater was an issue, but since this is so effective, it would be worth the extra 30 feet to save a lot of work building stuff.

RE: R22/R134A conversion

Id be interested in getting those htexs from you if your gonna just unload them. Id like to tie them into a pool to help heat it up.

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