R22 Air Conditioning Compliance

R22 gas is the refrigerant found in the majority of air conditioning equipment over 10 years old. It’s a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) which can potentially cause ozone depletion if leaked into the atmosphere. In 2003, R22 refrigerant was banned from use in newly-manufactured air conditioning systems.

From 1st January 2015 it has been illegal to use R22 gas to service AC equipment, and recycled or reclaimed HCFC may no longer be used. This means that it is permissible to continue using equipment that contains HCFCs beyond the R22 phase-out dates, but there must be no maintenance or servicing undertaken on the equipment that involves breaking into the refrigerant circuits.

An estimated 750,000 systems using R22 refrigerant are still in use today. If you or your customers have an air conditioning system which relies on R22 gas, and it fails, it is essential you have a plan in place to phase out the use of the gas as soon as possible.

What are your R22 options?

1.     Switch to using clean ‘drop-in’ refrigerants

These alternative gases are similar to R22 refrigerant, however, they are less harmful, with zero ozone depletion potential. They are legal to use in air conditioning systems under EC regulations.

Pros

  • Minimal initial capital outlay
  • Minimal disruption in short-term

Cons

  • As an R22 replacement, manufacturers do not recommend the use of ‘drop in’ refrigerants
  • Performance of ‘drop in’ gases is untested and there is no evidence to support their reliability
  • Availability of spare parts for R22 refrigerant systems is decreasing
  • Running costs of R22 systems are significantly higher than new systems
  • Energy usage and impact on the environment of R22 systems is far greater than modern alternatives

2.     Replace the whole system including pipework

Pros

  • Modern systems are much more efficient at climate control than R22 systems
  • They are designed to use significantly less energy, reducing running costs
  • Environmental impact is greatly reduced
  • New units come with the benefit of a warranty period, offering peace of mind in the unlikely event of a breakdown

Cons

  • High initial capital outlay
  • Significant short-term disruption

3.     Replace only the indoor and outdoor units, leaving existing wiring and pipework in place

Pros

  • Improved efficiency and performance
  • Increased reliability
  • Reduced running costs
  • Minimal capital outlay, compared to replacing the whole system inclusive of pipework
  • Faster and less disruptive than replacing the whole system
  • Reduces waste by taking advantage of the infrastructure already in place
  • Reduced CO2 emissions

Cons

  • Some pipework may not be reusable, and as such the entire system will need to be completely replaced
  • Initial capital outlay
  • Short term disruption

If you’re looking to replace or amend your R22 gas system due to the R22 phase out, then give AMP a call. Our team are on hand to help you plan and implement your R22 replacement. Contact us now on 01707 378 670, email sales@ampair.co.uk

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