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R22 Replacement | R.H.E.S.

R22 Replacement

This has now been phased out under European-wide regulations

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It is now illegal to use Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), including the ozone-depleting refrigerant gas R22, in refrigeration, heat pump and air conditioning (AC) systems. R22 is commonly used in AC systems pre-dating 2004 and so this ban will have a major effect on air-conditioning costs.

One of the main refrigerants used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems, R22, has been phased out under regulations. We can advise on the options to safeguard your business.

R22 is a common refrigerant and continues to be used in up to 100,000 air conditioning systems across the UK. These are installed in shops, offices, restaurants, public buildings and leisure centres etc.

However, R22 is now phased-out under ozone protection legislation. The regulation EC: No 2037/2000 on (ODS) Ozone Depleting Substances came into effect on 1st October, 2000.

As a result of the legislation:

  • Use of R22 is now banned
  • It is now illegal to use Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), including the ozone-depleting refrigerant gas R22, in refrigeration, heat pump and air conditioning (AC) systems
  • The act of topping up existing “virgin” or new R22 air conditioning systems is also illegal
  • Top-up with any R22 is now against laws and should not happen under any circumstances

A recent survey of 350 companies, carried out by the Carbon Trust, showed that 70 per cent have at least one air conditioning or refrigeration system using R22. It concludes: “In most cases, these plants are of strategic importance, as they provide crucial cooling.”

Building owners and operators with air conditioning running on R22 need to act now to secure the continuity of their operations.

What to do

Companies who have air conditioning and refrigeration equipment that depends on R22 have three main options:

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Replace with new

This is the most radical option, as it entails replacing what might be a perfectly good plant – possibly with several more years working life left – with a new system. However, bear in mind that the cost of recycled R22 is likely to rise dramatically and there is unlikely to be sufficient supplies to go round.

Retrofitting

This entails removing the R22 from the plant, and replacing it with an alternative refrigerant. There are a number of alternative refrigerants on the market, designed to mirror the characteristics of R22. However, they can be very expensive.

Managed approach

Existing plant is retained and kept running on recycled R22 providing no problems occur with the system.

The right option for any given situation depends on a number of factors. These include:

  • The remaining life expectancy of existing R22 plant;
  • Possible efficiency gains (or losses) as a result of replacing or retrofitting;
  • The comparative cost of retrofitting;

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