What is R22?
R22 is a refrigerant gas, commonly used in air conditioning, chiller and industrial refrigeration plants before 2004 – when its use in new units was banned. R22 has been gradually phased out since 2004 because of its potential to contribute towards ozone depletion. As a ‘Greenhouse Gas’, the use of R22 is governed by environmental legislation.
In the past, R22 was commonly used with other (since banned) CFC gases. In 2004, banning R22’s use wasn’t seen as high-priority as restricting other CFC gases as its ozone depletion potential (ODP) wasn’t as high. However, environmental legislation has since increased to cover low-ODP refrigerants that contain potentially harmful components, like chlorine, and its use was prohibited entirely in Europe by the start of 2015.
What is the legislation on R22 refrigerant?
Since January 2015 it has been illegal to top-up air conditioning and refrigeration systems with recycled R22 refrigerants. If you rent or lease a property that has pre-2004 AC or refrigeration units, you’ll have to ensure that appropriate replacements or ‘drop-ins’ are used. Commercial landlords must inspect their leases to find out who is liable for equipment in their buildings. Even if a tenant is responsible for replacing equipment, the landlord is still legally responsible for making sure that the law is complied with.
Does my air conditioning or refrigeration unit use R22?
If your air conditioner or refrigeration systems pre-date 2004, it is highly likely that they will contain R22. If the system was manufactured after 2004, it should already be compliant with new regulations.
What refrigerant replaced R22, and is it better?
Overall, newer refrigerants are an improvement on the older R22 refrigerants. Since being phased out, better refrigerants have been developed that are not only better for the environment but better for your business too. One such refrigerant, R410A, has already proved itself to be more energy efficient in newer systems than R22 and also has zero ODP.
What are my options on R22?
If you are using equipment manufactured before 2004 and do not wish to upgrade to a newer system, you can use a direct ‘drop-in’ replacement, such as R417A.
Many businesses are using this time as an opportunity to update their air conditioning systems to newer systems that were designed specifically for new types of refrigerants. By upgrading, you are ensuring maximum efficiency by using equipment designed specifically to work with the new types of refrigerants. For example, using R410A inverter air conditioning instead of R22 equipment has been demonstrated to increase efficiency by more than 30% in some cases, reducing energy costs.
Many businesses have successfully replaced their old air conditioning systems with modern, efficient systems using R410A refrigerant, and it has proved to be an easy, affordable process that provides demonstrable benefits.
The owners of the St Clements Services in Daventry, who were the first to replace their R22 air conditioning system in 2005, were still benefiting from lower energy bills seven years later. Monitoring before and after installation proved that, even in 2005, the new system was able to deliver a COP of 3.28 and was 28% more efficient than the old R22 system. You can find more examples of the ‘Case for Replace’ here.
Things to consider when looking at what R22 solution is right for your business:
- How old your current system is
- How efficient the current equipment is
- Whether you have any leakage issues
Can Carlton Services help?
Yes, we have both the knowledge, experience and training to assist. We are well-versed in current and forthcoming environmental regulations, and all of our engineers hold the 2079 Safe Handling of Refrigerant Qualification – which is required for servicing or converting refrigerant systems.
We can advise you on your obligations regarding R22 legislation, how to upgrade your air conditioning and refrigeration systems, or about our ‘drop-in’ replacement service. We are a Mitsubishi Electric accredited installer, up-to-date with all the relevant legislation, and all of our air conditioning engineers have received the latest training for servicing and maintenance. Contact us today to discuss your options!