Many new R22 compressors are now being shipped with POE oil in place of the mineral oil traditionally used with R22. For example, a Copeland scroll compressor that is used in many 2.5 ton air conditioning CUs, ZR28K5-PFV-830 will now be replaced with a ZR28K5E-PFV-830. The E in the 7th position indicates this compressor is charged with POE oil. The same thing is true with Copeland reciprocating compressors. The old CR28K6-PFV-775 will be replaced by the CR28K6E-PFV-775 charged with POE. The questions that keep being asked are why are they doing this? Can we even use POE oil with R22?
As we get closer to the total phase-out of R22 in 2020 and we look at alternate replacements, one of the closest matches for R22 is R407C. R407C has the best capacity match with R22 however it requires POE oil to ensure proper oil return. By shipping the new or replacement R22 compressor with POE oil, it becomes an R22/R407C compressor, making the retrofit from R22 to R407C much simpler. Replace the Schrader cores, caps, filter drier, evacuate and recharge with R407C. Many dry R22 condensing units are also coming with POE oil in the compressor. In these cases retrofitting to R407C becomes much simpler as well. Make sure to check with your equipment manufacturer before retrofitting any dry R22 units. Bryant now allows the use of R407C when R22 is not available in there dry R22 units that have been shipped with POE oil in the compressor. See TIC2015-0002 for full details.
Using POE with R22 is not a problem. However, a problem may arise when introducing POE oil into a less than “clean” air conditioning system. The sludge and soot left behind from a burnout or improper system maintenance may become the problem. POE is a great cleaner, so when introduced into a dirty system it will clean it up! Sounds good but all of the soot and sludge that POE will clean out of the pipes or line set will end up plugging the drier or metering device. Care needs to be taken when installing a replacement compressor or unit containing POE oil into an existing R22 system. If the existing systems have ever experienced a burnout or if you suspect it to be less than “clean” you should consider flushing all lines and coils with RX11 Flush before installing the new compressor. As long as the POE oil goes into a clean and dry R22 system no problems should be encountered.