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R22 Phase Out

R22 Refrigerant Phase Out

The use of HCFC (R22) refrigerant, for service & maintenance purposes is the subject of a complete ban by the end of 2014. This is already seriously impacting the availability and cost of reclaimed/recycled R22, equipment parts and repairs.

Building operators must plan to replace their older equipment and we will help you discover the reality of and a solution for the R22 phase-out scheme.

Air conditioning equipment that is more than 5 years old is almost certain to be running on R22 refrigerant. Systems that are properly maintained could go on working for years but any servicing or repairs will rely on R22 and this is when the problems will start. There simply wont be enough R22 to go around and the costs will certainly escalate.

Replacing R22 systems gives greater energy efficiency savings, lower CO2 emissions, reduced maintenance, and with extended warranty. Replacement systems will now also satisfy legal and environmental obligations.

Dealing with Phase Out of R22

If you are using R22 or another HCFC refrigerant then you need to consider a plan for phase out in addition to ensuring low levels of leakage from existing plants. The phase out of HCFCs for refrigeration applications will occur in two steps:

Virgin HCFC phase out:

After 31st December 2009 you cannot use virgin HCFCs for plant maintenance (even if you bought the fluid before this date). You will be allowed to use recycled HCFCs, but there is no guarantee that supplies will be available at a reasonable price.

Recycled HCFC phase out: After 31st December 2014 you cannot use recycled HCFCs for plant maintenance. RAC2, Usage, last updated 16 June 2009 – Page 5 of 6

The best phase-out option depends on the age and efficiency of existing equipment. If your plant is old, unreliable or inefficient it is best to consider plant replacement. If the plant still has some years of useful life then it may be possible to retro fill with a “drop-in” replacement refrigerant. Your 3 main options are to:

  • Replace the whole plant with a new system. This is the most expensive option, but enables you to minimise leakage and maximise energy efficiency.
  • Change the refrigerant to a suitable alternative. This is much cheaper than a new plant, but you will still have to make additional investment to ensure leakage is minimised and reliability and efficiency maximised. There is also the potential problem of alternative drop in gases not being compatible with the existing mineral oils used to lubricate the system.
  • Delay a decision until nearer the 2014 final phase-out date. This is initially the easiest option, but it is only delaying the decision and it is a high risk strategy, as recycled R22 might be in short supply.

Energy EfficiencyIn many organisations RAC Systems can account for a significant percentage of the total energy costs. The steps necessary for compliance with the EC F gas and ODS Regulations provide an ideal opportunity to assess the energy efficiency of your RAC systems. If HCFC systems have to be replaced or retrofitted, this is particularly important.Typical issues to consider are:

  • Load reduction (e.g. better time and temperature controls);
  • Plant operating conditions (e.g. reduce head pressures);
  • Secondary loads (e.g. chilled water pumps);
  • Part-load operation (e.g. compressor controls and variable speed drives).

Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD) 2002/91/EC

The EPDB calls for regular inspection of heat pumps and of air-conditioning systems of an effective combined rated output of more than 12 kW in buildings. These inspections must include an assessment of the air-conditioning efficiency and the sizing compared to the cooling requirements of the building. The accredited expert inspecting the systems must provide appropriate advice to the users on the alternative solutions and the possible improvements or replacement of the air-conditioning system.


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