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Honeywell files EPA SNAP Application to Retrofit R-134a systems to R-1234yf

Honeywell has filed a SNAP application with the US EPA for approval to offer R-1234yf as a retrofit for R-134a.

In 2022, the EPA received a SNAP application from Koura. They are seeking approval for their R-456A to be used as a retrofit refrigerant for R-134a systems.  While the R-456A application is under review, a new but familiar candidate has been presented in anticipation of R-134a supply and price concerns.

The AIM Act

The AIM Act of 2020 sets forth the requirement for the EPA to promulgate rules phasing down the use of HFC refrigerants through production and sales allocations. However, beginning in 2024, the amount of available HFCs in the US will be only 60% of the baseline amount established in 2021. The last reduction at the start of 2022 saw R-134a prices spike to $15/lb. The traditional level is $3 – $4/lb. The new reduction in 2024 could see prices rise considerably. Moreover, availability could tumble depending on how the allocation holders choose to use their allotment. It also depends on which refrigerants they intend to produce.

“R-1234yf, a low-global warming potential (GWP), hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) refrigerant, has been broadly adopted. It has proven to be an important tool enabling the auto industry to reduce the environmental impact of mobile air conditioning.” Stated by Rick Winick, vice president and general manager, Automotive Refrigerants, Honeywell. “Allowing R-134a cars to be serviced with R-1234yf would help speed up the phase out of high-GWP hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) like HFC-134a. The R-134a to R-1234yf retrofit repair process is simple, economical, reliable, and safe. There would be a strong benefit for the environment. As well as for the auto repair industry should US EPA decide to approve our SNAP application for this.”


The EPA application for R-1234yf is not unexpected, however it is unknown how far reaching the application is. Will the application cover DIY retrofitting? How about EVs or applications other than passenger cars and light trucks? Logic tells us that they will begin with passenger cars and light trucks. These applications have been successfully using R-1234yf for 10+ years. This accounts for the bulk of the volume in the road transport industry.

EPA SNAP approval is not a fast process. It takes 1 – 2 years to complete before any approval or denial is issued. Even if an approval is granted, the EPA can publish use conditions associated with the fluid. This includes requirement for dedicated equipment, fittings, and/or labels.  This is where R-1234yf appears to have an advantage over R-456A.  If dedicated equipment and fittings were to be required, the R-1234yf A/C Service Machines already prevalent in the marketplace could be used to recharge the system. Meanwhile, the current R-134a Machines could be used to extract the Refrigerant from the R-134a system prior to recharging.

Many Questions Remain for EPA’s Decision

What will the price of R-134a be moving forward?

What will the supply look like?

When will the R-456A or R-1234yf price crossover point with R-134a make retrofitting a lower cost alternative to refilling with R-134a?

How long will SNAP approval take?

What will the use restrictions be, if any?

4 responses to “Honeywell files EPA SNAP Application to Retrofit R-134a systems to R-1234yf”

  1. Pam Oakes says:

    Curious to see how this application influences the already in-progress 456a (135a drop-in) application. 🤔

    • Peter Coll says:

      Hi Pam, It will be interesting but the two submissions have proposed some significantly different use conditions. R-456A proposes to keep the R-134a service ports intact and rely on the updated label to notify the service technician of which refrigerant is in the system. R-456A also uses an “Upcycled” R-134a machine with no refrigerant identification. From the MACS perspective, we have always had dedicated machines and fittings for each refrigerant and without those, we fear that mixing of refrigerants WILL be a problem.

      On the other hand, R-1234yf proposes to place a non-removable R-1234yf adapter on the service ports and use the shops R-134a machine to extract the refrigerant and an R-1234yf machine to charge the new refrigerant. Based on 10 years of experience with R-1234yf, the A2L flammability rating is far less of a concern than it was when R-1234yf was introduced and that was one of the major items holding back the thought of using it in R-134a systems.

      In the end, if all the use conditions are equal, the success or failure of either option will depend on the price and availability as compared with R-134a in the future.

  2. J.A. (Tony) Martin says:

    In the case of R-456a, will the mixing of refrigerants be an issue? The manufacturer claims that it can be loaded on top of R-134a in any proportion. While the refrigerant may be able to function adequately in varying proportions, I don’t know what terms of use have been proposed in their SNAP application.

    Is there any information available on the progress of the R-456a SNAP application?

    • Alexa Murphy says:

      For R-456A, as with any refrigerant, mixing is not consistent with good servicing practices. The EPA continues to consider the SNAP application and has provided no additional guidance. MACS has expressed our concern to the EPA over the mixing of any refrigerants and the need for unique fittings, labels and dedicated service equipment.

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