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Earlier this year, the French Heat Pump Association (AFPAC) reported that air-air AC/heat pump units had outsold condensing boilers. This is in line with BSRIA’s 2018 estimate that the market for ducted and un ducted single splits, multi splits, and VRF had increased to 589,000 units, while 532,000 condensing boilers were sold.
This is a very important milestone for the AC industry, which is fast becoming seen as the provider of a key building service. Furthermore, the AC sector is expecting a further sharp upturn in growth, with sales of air-air splits soaring to a record 700,000 units sold.
With this objective in sight, manufacturers need to expand their supply capacities and distributors need to monitor and plan their stock levels to avoid repeating the mistakes of 2018, when stocks held by wholesalers were depleted as the market experienced a period of high demand.
This rate of growth is having an impact on the level of HFC refrigerants in the market. BSRIA estimates that in 2018, about 880 tonnes of HFC R410A were sold with splits and VRF. This includes the factory charge, as well as the refrigerant charge in pipes as part of the installation of each product. This compares with 257 tonnes of HFC R32, which is taking over in products such as single and multi-splits. For the moment, R32 is only used in France with units below 5 HP, corresponding to about 14 kW of cooling capacity.
Should sales of R32 continue to grow at the expense of R410A in 2019, this would limit the impact the growth in sales of AC products could otherwise have on global warming.
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