The refrigerant R22, which was once very common in many refrigeration and air conditioning systems, has now been phased out.
Although it is now illegal to use R22 to maintain or repair your system, there are still systems running on the refrigerant today.
If your air conditioning equipment was installed prior to 2004, it’s very likely to be running on R22.
So what do I need to know about R22? – Read on!
What is R22?R22 is a refrigerant with the chemical formula CHClF2 or Chlorodifluoromethane.
It is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)
Why has it been banned?The Chlorine element of R22 is a proven ozone depleting gas and contributes to global warming when released in to the atmosphere.
When was it banned?• 1st January 2004: HCFCs including R22 refrigerant banned for use in new air conditioning systems throughout the EU.
• 1st January 2010: Virgin R22 refrigerant banned for use in maintenance and repairs.
• 1st January 2015: All R22, including recycled and reclaimed refrigerant, banned for use in maintenance and repairs.
How do I know if my system has R22 in it?If it hasn’t already been brought to your attention by your service engineer, or you don’t have an asset list which will document the refrigerant in your systems, you can check for yourself by looking for an information plate on your system’s condensing unit.
The condensing unit is the part of the system that is usually outside:
And the data plate, usually located towards the bottom or side of the outdoor unit will look similar to this:
My system HAS got R22 in it – Is this illegal?No. It’s not illegal to have a system with R22 in it, you can even use your system with R22 in it. You just can’t have it repaired.
A service engineer can clean and maintain the unit, but he may not add any gas to it.
This means that as soon as the system has a problem it becomes obselete and can not be repaired.
What are the benefits of replacing my R22 system now?Air conditioning systems installed before 2004 are approaching the end of their usable lifetime, typically around 15 years with regular maintenance.
Modern air conditioning systems come with huge advantages. They are smaller, quieter, more stylish and are 50% more efficient than those that operate using R22.
Replacement solutions come with competitive payback periods, often just 2-3 years, and result in immediate improvements in performance.
Replacement is also an opportunity to improve your organisation’s environmental credentials. Modern refrigerants, such as R32 and R410a, have a much lower impact on global warming than R22, while modern systems consume less energy and can considerably reduce your carbon footprint.
These benefits and cost savings will continue throughout your new system’s lifetime, especially with regular maintenance, which will extend your systems parts & labour guarantee.
In the UK, R22 replacement may also be eligible for tax relief under the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) Scheme. To find out which systems are eligible, visit the website.
What are my options?1. Using a different ‘drop in’ refrigerant that is similar in properties to R22 without its legal implications or impact on the environment.
Drop-ins will work, but as your system was not designed to run on them, they will have a negative impact on the reliability and performance of your system. Drop-ins can be a short-term solution, but are not cost-effective over time.
2. Replacing the indoor & outdoor units but keeping the existing pipework, wiring, drainage and power supply.
If your existing system has long, complex or difficult to access mechanical & electrical service routes, it may be possible to re-use these and save significantly on a new installation. Whether this is feasible or not can be determined during a site visit.
3. Complete new system.
Designed from the ground up to meet your exact needs, this involves replacing all parts of your air conditioning system, including outdoor and indoor units, pipework and electrical wiring. It ensures you have the peace of mind of a parts & labour guaranteed system designed to give many years of energy efficient service with the lowest running costs.
So what do I do now?For a free, no obligation inspection of your system, contact us here.