What is R22 and why is it being phased out?
R22 is a hydrochloroflurocarbon (HCFC), a gas that was previously used in air conditioning systems. Due to its ozone depletion potential, the government passed legislation in 2009 to ban the use of R22. It is now illegal to sell equipment containing R22 and many manufacturers don’t even sell spare parts for these older model units.
The production of R22 for air conditioning equipment has already ceased, so no new equipment will contain R22 refrigerant. Reliable leak free R22 equipment need not necessarily be replaced immediately as even when new R22 refrigerant is no longer available, reprocessed R22 can be used until 2015. However, there are a number of potential problems with waiting until the last minute to replace them.
It should also be highlighted that due to significant technological developments in heat pump technology, coupled with the fact that most modern air conditioning systems now use R410A, the efficiency of most units can be increased by as much as 30%.
What should be considered when thinking about replacement?
For companies or private dwellings that rely on air conditioning as a means of climate control, the key to a smooth transition lies with the project management of the removal of the R22 refrigerant and professional installation of a replacement system.
The majority of R22 refrigeration units are at least one third of the way through their foreseeable life. As existing R22 refrigeration systems begin to require modernisation, the majority of companies are choosing to phase these out rather than go to the expense of needlessly repairing or maintaining them.